Meshing school, work schedules proves troublesome

It’s come to my attention that on pretty much every form I’ve ever had to fill out, whether it’s to become a licensed Zamboni driver, plasma donor or whatever else, there’s always a very distinct choice when it comes to selecting either “student” or “employed.”

The key word here is “or.” You would think that one would naturally follow the other – being a student doesn’t exactly keep the lights on. If anything, it’ll make sure the lights don’t come on at all until your loans are paid off in about 27 years.

But a lot of people do it – have a job and go to school, I mean. It’s not always easy, though. And it can often be even harder to find one to begin with, because, honestly, what employer wants to rely on college kids to comprise his or her workforce?

Take me for example. I would hate to be my off-campus job boss. It’s been nearly a year since I started working at The BrewErie. Now that I’ve disclosed my place of employment, come say hi sometime – I’ll be the one balancing a tray on my head and a stack of bar glasses on my elbow.

So I’ve been there for almost a year. And, because I’m a student, I’ve got things that I need to request days at a time off for – just look at the time between our spring and Easter breaks this year. I just took a week off, and now I’ve had to sheepishly request another five days.

I’ve also got a pretty tight schedule as it is. I’m in class every weekday, and I’m busy with extracurriculars three nights of the week. Doesn’t exactly give my manager a lot of wiggle room, and I feel bad about it, but what can I do?

For something that started out as “just a summer job,” I’ve hung on a lot longer than I thought I would – overall it’s a pretty fun place to be, even when you’re the one sweating profusely, running back and forth from the kitchen to the tables, with mayonnaise and Cajun seasoning splattered all over your ensemble.

I digress.

The point is that I don’t blame employers for being leery of hiring college students, even in a college town. But what is the alternative, for us, at least? I have a work study job through Gannon, too, and those aren’t exactly the most lucrative positions.

But they work with our schedules, and a lot of them offer the opportunity to get practical experience in your chosen field. I would honestly volunteer at the Writing Center if they didn’t pay their tutors, anyway.

It’s the battle between the enjoyable, slightly more convenient jobs and the ones that actually put a dent in our utility bills and student loans. And which one would look better on a resume in a world where “having experience” is everything?

My good friend has recently been taking part in the post-graduation phenomenon known as “job hunting” – something I’ve chosen to subvert for another two years by attending graduate school. What she has come across has been a less than humorous Catch-22: she can’t apply for the jobs that she wants to use as experience for the job she eventually wants that requires experience because those jobs also require experience.

Did you follow that? Me neither. The only thing I’ve been able to conclude from all this is that I really need to kick my online shopping addiction.

 

CHRISTINE PEFFER

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