I bet many of you are asking yourselves, “Is this going to be a sentimental post again?” The answer is yes, yes it is, but that isn’t the only reason for this post. I want to share why it’s good to have a job in college and what it provides you.
Okay, first things first, what obvious thing does a job provide you? Let’s say it together, MONEY! Yes, that’s right, a job provides money which you can spend on other things, what a concept. This was the main reason I was looking for a job when I began wrapping up my first semester of college. Like any other college freshman I wanted to get acclimated to college before I began looking for a job, but I quickly discovered things were expensive here!
You know how it goes, you make new friends and they want to explore the city so you go out to eat a few days a week here or there. You realize you forgot something you only kind of needed back home so you pick it up at a local store anyway because why not. Then you just start to impulse buy and sooner or later, BOOM! You’re broke. It may not be the same case for everyone but this was my case and with zero income to balance out my expenses I realized I needed a job.
That’s when a friend recommended I look into the Wisconsin Historical Society Library. I figured why not check it out…I fell in love. This place was beautiful, they worked with your class schedule, and the staff (This is where I get choked up writing this) the staff was wonderful. Laura, my boss, has basically been another mother to me and I hope to keep in contact with her after I graduate. I’ve worked here for just about three years now, with one year taken off to be an RA, and I’m so happy I did because it did so many things for me, other than money, like help with time management.
Working at the Historical Society wasn’t like working at other libraries on campus. At other libraries students can do their homework while at the desk, at the Historical Society that was a no-go. We work on projects here in-between patrons, which some could be more tedious than others, but overall they were good. How did this help time management?
Since I wasn’t able to do my homework while at work I had to plan accordingly for the times I could do my homework. This involved kicking my butt in high gear and allocating more time to study between classes and less time hanging out with friends. With that being said I always made sure to include time to spend with friends because you all know that’s important to me.
Some people may not like the idea that you have to do these projects and sacrifice study time, but to me that was a good thing because it also allowed me time to decompress.
Think of it with my mind: how stressful is it to go from class to class getting bombarded with information and then go home and continue to bombard yourself with information? To me that’s just too much and you need time to decompress, find your bearings again and then resume studying.
Many people aren’t the best at doing this for themselves so they just live in the circle of stress. You need this time to relax because you gain better focus then. What was nice about my position, as well as many others where you can’t do homework, is you get that time to stop thinking about school for a little bit and then unwind and decompress from the day. Then later you can get home with a more refreshed mind and get your work done.
(I want to share another memory/story because that’s who I am. I started working at the Historical Society in January 2013 and it seemed every day I worked it would snow. Not blizzard snow but nice, appealing to the eye snow and I had this one spot I loved to go to and just watch the snow fall for a minute in our north pamphlets. There was nothing special about the view because the part of campus it faces is always under construction, but it was a secluded area where I could watch the snow fall momentarily at night with the lights shining down on campus. It was just peaceful. This scene always calmed me down if I was having a rough day and I’m going to miss it.)
Okay, sorry, that’s over, my next point I want to make is a job during campus allows you to see yourself grow, even if you don’t think you are.
My first semester at the Historical Society was filled with uncertainty: am I doing this right, where does this go, who is that guy and why are the doors ringing? I thought I was making an utter fool of myself but I guess I wasn’t because they let me come back. The next year I was given more trust by working night shifts alone and I could see my confidence rise. After my year off I returned because I missed Laura and the work and that’s when I knew I had truly grown.
As a freshman I probably still would have been reluctant to cover someone’s shift or take on more responsibility, but as a senior I wasn’t afraid of these things anymore. Through my work there, and as an RA, I could see my confidence grow in customer service and with handling a new task. It has been a humbling experience to realize I am getting older and maturing professionally.
My time here is coming to a close and it deeply saddens me as I type this but I know I’ll never stray far and always be able to come back and feel that magic again in the winter time. Thank you, Laura, for everything, I look forward to our sports talks and get-togethers in the future.