What's It Like to Have a Job in College?

Fact: college students are busy. I don’t think I’ve ever met one who isn’t stressed about juggling demanding classes, extracurriculars, and a social life. When I decided to take a part-time job at the beginning of the school year, some of my friends were amazed that I could find ten hours to carve out of my already-packed weekly schedule. I was also nervous about the possibility of feeling overwhelmed and having to quit soon after starting the job. Thankfully, I’ve had a really positive experience that has definitely improved my college experience.


I work at a restaurant as a cashier, but my job entails a lot more than just taking orders behind a register. I also make smoothies, call out orders that are ready, clean and restock the restaurant, and even prepare food for the kitchen. In a day of work, I might slice pickles, pit dates, organize the fridge, and if I’m lucky, taste-test that day’s special. The variety of tasks keeps work interesting.


The restaurant is right off-campus and accepts the school dining plan, so the customers are mainly students. I love that I get to see so many familiar faces at work, especially when my friends come to visit. I didn’t consider this as a factor when I picked where to apply, but it has definitely been a game-changer in terms of work environment. 


Speaking of work environment, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the relationships with my coworkers. Everyone who works in the front of house, the cashiers, are Tulane students, but everyone in the back of house, including chefs and dishwashers, are older. Despite the large range in ages, all of the employees get along very well and have no trouble cracking jokes or catching up after the weekend.


Of course, school comes before work. At first, I was scared to miss work because of schoolwork because I technically didn’t have any overlapping commitments. I soon realized that managers know what they are getting into when hiring full-time college students, and would much rather me miss a shift to study than come to work and try to study on the side the whole time. 


I’m proud of my ability to adapt to the new responsibility of a job, a commitment that is well-worth the missed Netflix episodes. I’ve learned important skills including time management, patience, and confidence. Even though it can be stressful at times, I think that the pros outweigh the cons and would recommend a college job to anyone interested.