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Having a Job in College

Ever since the summer, I turned sixteen I’ve had a job. First was a froyo shop for a year, then I was a pool attendant this past summer, and I currently have a work study in the biology office and I’m also a sales associate at TJ Maxx. Now let me break this down for you: I went to a high school where I got on the bus at 710 and got off the bus at 530 unless I have sports practice in which case I was home at 7 or 730. So having a job junior year was a lot to take on while dealing with SATs, college stuff, school, and sports. But I made it work by working mostly weekends. I’m sure you’re thinking “Well, Arianna you’re in college, you must have much more free time so having a job shouldn’t be too difficult.” You would be right on some accounts- I do have more free time. But having a job is still stressful and that I myself am mostly to blame for that.

I was that girl in high school that was always involved in something whether it was Model UN, sports, yearbook, or theater plus my job. I made it work because most of that occurred during school hours but the bottom line is I’m used to being busy. I like being busy; it makes me feel productive. When I got to college I decided I didn’t want to overwhelm myself like I had the tendency to do in high school so I figured I’ll do BarMUN and it’ll be over in February and I’ll be a writer for Her Campus since it isn’t a huge time commitment and its something I enjoy. But then yours truly decided to do BosMUN, join a sorority, become a tour guide, and apply to be the Dean’s Host along with having my work study. Of course, I just had to add another job to that to drive myself crazy.

While I am tired quite a bit and make it sound like I’m miserable, I quite enjoy my job. As I said, keeping busy makes me feel productive and TJ Maxx is super flexible about my hours which is great. So here are my tips for finding a job and/or dealing with your job:

1. Look on your school’s website. At BU we have a student link that has everything from our meal plan to class registration. It also has a tab for jobs. These jobs might be research studies, on-campus jobs, or off-campus jobs, along with work-study. It’s a great starting point to get an idea of what’s out there. 

2. Talk to friends. I found out that TJ Maxx was hiring from one of my friends who had recently been hired. I went in with her when she got her paycheck, filled out the application, and got interviewed the same day.

3. Have two or three references in mind. When filling out a job application they almost always ask for references. I like to have two or three people in mind that I know I can put down who have a positive opinion of me and my work ethic. Frantically attempting to think of people who can partially determine if you get a job or not is a little stressful so just have a couple people in the back of your mind.

4. Know your availability. At TJ Maxx they work with you to make sure your schedule there fits into the scheduled commitments you already have which is great. Make sure when your interviewing or in the initial stages of paperwork that your boss is aware of your availability or if it changes. Communication is key. Attempting to scramble to find someone to cover you or not knowing you have a shift when you also have class can create a lot of problems.

5. Get to know your coworkers. Not only are they the people who you’re going to be asking to cover your shift when you’re sick or have a midterm you need to study for, they’re also really fun people. I’ve only been at my job for two weeks and I absolutely love the people I work with. The managers, coordinators, and other associates feel your pain when you’re dealing with difficult customers or you’re dying to close but that one customer can’t decide if they should get the red pants or green pants.

6. Take your job seriously. You may be thinking oh its only TJ Maxx or I’m only a barista but it’s a job. And it’s a job you can lose if you slack or don’t show up for work. Your boss is relying on you because not taking it seriously messes everyone else up and that’s not fair. It may only be minimum wage but its something you need to take seriously.

7. Look into direct deposit. Ever since my first job I’ve put at least half of my paycheck, if not the whole thing, directly into my account. In the stack of paperwork you’re going to be filling out, there’s usually a direct deposit slip and if there isn’t you can ask for one. You put down your account number and your paycheck goes right into the bank. If you’re a spender like me this is good because it means I can’t just go blow my paycheck on makeup and jewelry. It’s also good because you’d be surprised how quickly that money adds up when you don’t touch it for a few weeks.

8. You’re going to have to work weekends and holidays. Not all holidays and not all weekends but realistically you’re going to have to. For me, working in retail means working Black Friday and I’m usually scheduled on Sundays. It’s annoying but it means more money.

9. Make sure you have the time to commit to it before applying. Like I said, I’m used to being busy so having a job doesn’t really bother me, but it’s important to make sure you have the time to commit to a job. I recently asked for fewer hours because I need more time for studying. It’s important to know how much you can handle because once you accept a position your boss is counting on you to be able to come in when you’re scheduled because as I said in number six, you slacking effects everyone. No one is going to blame you if you don’t want a job because you’re busy. Trust me, I’m a freshman I know it’s stressful.

10. Do something you like. I know it can be difficult to find a job you like since this is college and there are select categories of jobs that will hire students, but I promise you can do it. I love clothes and makeup so I enjoy my job in retail. If you hate what you’re doing you’re going to go to work miserable and that translates into your work ethic and customer service. Do your coworkers, customers, and yourself a favor and do something you actually enjoy so you’re happy to be doing it.

I know it can be a lot to deal with classes, a social life, extracurricular, getting a decent amount of sleep, and having a job. I know it’s not for everyone. But if you are considering getting a job or have one and are wondering how to deal with it I hope this helps. Having a job in college isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. I did it to make some extra spending money, some people do it because they want to keep busy. Whatever the reason is I’m sure you’ll be great in whatever you decide to do. And if anyone reading this works at Starbucks let me know, I’ll come buy a coffee 









Hi, I'm Arianna! I'm a senior at Boston University majoring in journalism. I love cats, food, hockey, and anything beauty related. I write about "How to College" and what has helped me in my transition process from tiny high school to huge university. I hope you enjoy!
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