As a full-time student, it’s tough to accept the fact that if you want to treat yourself every once in a while without having that feeling of regret, you’re going to have to get a job.
Part of my financial aid package comes with the option of a Federal Work Study job, which is an on-campus (and occasionally off-campus) job that takes part in a program that helps students pay for college finances through part-time employment. It’s a great opportunity to gain some form of professional experience and also to get some money to put in your pocket.
My freshman year, I worked in the technical services department of the Georgetown Library and got to experience a real work environment for the first time. This year, I am in a different position. Instead of one job, I am working two jobs: one as a fellow with the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, and one as an employee of the Corp–– both a club and place of employment at Georgetown.
For my fellowship, I work about once a week for 2 - 3 hours and either work on upcoming events in the department or the HoyasForShe photo campaign meant to spread gender equity on campus. For the Corp–– one of the largest student-run 501(c)3 non-profits in the world, I work three times a week at More Uncommon Grounds, a small coffee cart in one of the main academic buildings.
Combined, I work around 10 hours a week (plus or minus a few depending on whether I or other students need shifts covered). Although at times I struggle to manage my two jobs with school work, learning how to prioritize my academics while also being a dedicated employee has been a very valuable skill. I’ve learned how to better stick to a schedule and how to be a better advocate for myself professionally and academically.
Apart from the experience, I also get to have some money for myself that I can spend on things like food, clothes, concerts, etc. I try to keep track of when and how much I get paid (which is around every two weeks). Plus, I am always trying to figure out a way to treat myself but also keep some money left over so that I’m never running too low in my bank account.
It’s daunting to step into the world of work when you still feel like just a kid in school, but from experience I can definitely say that working as a student has more benefits than costs.
Lily Westover is in the Class of 2022 at Georgetown University.