Today, I’m writing about my personal experience with working while in school. Currently, I have maxed out the 29-hour cap on part-time work on campus on top of a full course load. In a typical week, I work:
- 3 hours as an Economics tutor at the Briscoe Academic Support Center
- 15 hours as a Data Specialist for the Office of Admissions
- 10 hours as a Graduate Research Assistant
As a tutor, it is my responsibility to help students with courses that they are struggling with. Specifically, I tutor students in introductory economics (E201, E202) and SPEA courses. This job is great as it allows me to not only gain teaching experience, but I’ve also found that helping someone else to understand the material is the best way to make sure that you fully understand it yourself. Econ can be a really challenging class and it is required of many students, especially in Kelley or SPEA. It’s also really gratifying when a student comes in completely lost, and they leave with a sense of confidence that they can pass their test and succeed in the class.
When I tell people that I work for the Office of Admissions, they tend to assume that I am one of the smiling people up front helping to welcome students to campus and assisting students with their applications. While that role is important and the staff working for the front end of Admissions does a great job, I actually spend my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the small building across from Eigenmann working on the back-end inputting applicant data into a system used by admissions officers when making decisions. This job is neat as it allows me to see behind the scenes of the admissions process and all that goes in to the processing of potential student applications. Around October and November, our office is at its busiest as many students strive to submit their applications before the holidays. However, we’ve also seen a surge of applications lately following the February 1 application deadline. While processing high school transcripts and other data can get tedious, it is nice to know that me doing my job well helps some anxious applicant out there to receive their decision as quickly as possible.
Lastly, I have been fortunate enough to be selected as a Graduate Assistant for SPEA’s Manufacturing Policy Initiative. This job has been awesome as it is directly related to my field of study and provides me with hands-on experience working to conduct research on issues relating to manufacturing policy. Being a GA is also perfect for students who are looking for flexible hours and an opportunity to build lasting connections with IU faculty. I consider myself lucky to have this position and to have a boss who is kind, intelligent, and willing to let me have a substantive role in the development of a new project that we are working on dealing with workforce development in the state of Indiana. I highly recommend reaching out to professors or your degree program’s office to inquire about possible assistantships as you get further in your academic career.
While these jobs keep me pretty busy, they have also been a really positive experience. Working on-campus is great because most supervisors are willing to work with your schedule and understand that school is your top priority. It also helps that the campus minimum wage is $10.15/hour with many jobs paying more than that. So if you are looking for full- or part-time work to help support yourself through school, definitely check out https://jobs.iu.edu for on-campus job postings.
Accelerated MPA Student, class of 2019
My name is Lauren, and I am a senior working on my Accelerated Master's of Public Affairs through SPEA. I started out studying Trombone Performance at Jacobs, but after a year I realized that law and public service had my heart. I have participated in the Washington Leadership Program and am a Herbert Presidential Scholar. I have worked my way through a number of jobs from barista to White House Intern, and I'm just keeping on until I achieve that American Dream.
School and work keep me pretty busy, but I can always find time to relax at the end of the day with a cup of tea and some jazz on the record player, pretending that I have it more together than I do. But college is for figuring it all out, right?
I hope I can share with you some of the lessons I've picked up along the way, and eventually we will master this whole adulting thing together. Go Hoosiers!