As a low-income student, I am lucky to have much of my education financed by scholarships and grants, but there are still costs that are my responsibility to cover.
I knew early on that I would have to find a way to make money to support myself through college. I just didn’t really know where to start.
I came into college with a thing called “work-study” as a part of my financial aid. Basically it’s the opportunity for me to work on campus and put the money I make towards my education costs.
Many students are given this opportunity, but it can be pretty daunting and confusing at first. Here’s a quick “how-to” for work-study:
How do I find a job on campus?
You can find a job by using WorkDay, Furman’s job portal. Usually different offices on campus will post jobs and you can submit an application through the website.
Other jobs aren’t posted online, but you may find out about them via a flyer posted around campus, the student news online, or from just asking “Are you hiring?”
When I was looking for my first on campus job, I asked my friends where they worked on campus and many of them were able to direct me to where I needed to go & who I needed to talk to.
What kind of jobs are there?
There are so many opportunities for jobs on campus! Lots of places around campus– from the library to the PAC (Physical Activities Center) to the Furman farm, to athletics– need student help and will pay you for your time!
My first job on campus was working in the Cherrydale House for Alumni. I helped with day-to-day organization tasks to make sure their programming was running smoothly.
Now, I work at the library as a circulation student assistant helping make sure books are retrieved, sorted, and that any request someone using the library may have is fulfilled.
I also have smaller on campus jobs like working as a social media intern for Admissions, writing blogs like this and posting on social media. Another job I have on campus is working as a concierge for Admissions, where I help to make sure tours and other admissions programming goes smoothly.
How much do I get paid?
On campus jobs pay minimum wage and you are permitted to work up to 10 hours per week (per job).
For example, I’m not “rollin’ in the dough” (as one might say, haha), but I do make enough money to cover the costs of textbooks and other course materials, buy weekly groceries and necessary items, and treat myself to off campus meals every now and then.
Having multiple jobs on campus has been really helpful because I’m able to work my primary 10 hours at the library (somewhere I really love spending my time anyway!) and I’m able to earn a little bit of extra money doing things I also enjoy doing on the side.
How do I balance work and school?
Time management skills is something that has taken me a while to learn, but working really forced me to catch on quick.
For me, I learned that planning my weeks in advance and blocking out time for when I was going to get things done really helped. I knew my work and class schedules in advance, so I was able to plan when I would have time for studying, eating meals, and taking time for myself.
I have also learned how to “multi-task”. Luckily, my job at the library allows us to do our homework when we have completed our tasks and are not helping anyone, so a lot of the time I’m able to get a good chunk of my work out of the way before I’m even on my own time.
And because meal times are often pretty common with other students, many of my meals are shared social time, so if I want to hang out with a friend, I’ll ask them to lunch or dinner and it’s a nice way to catch up and relax without having to pick and choose between study time and social time.
Finally, just learning how to say, “no” sometimes and practice discipline with myself to focus and get things done has been really helpful. There will always be cool opportunities, so saying no to one will not be the end of the world- and, getting your homework early (or at least getting a head start on it) will always make your future self feel better.