I’ve had work-study jobs since my very first quarter of college: I started as a receptionist for the Undergraduate Writing Center and later became a work-study for UCLA Writing Programs. Now, as I prepare to graduate and begin to reflect on my college experience, I’ve realized that getting these jobs was the best thing that I could have done for myself. Here’s why:
- I Developed Professional Skills In A Low-Stakes Environment
I learned so many things while fulfilling my duties at my work-study jobs, many of which will help me succeed in my future career. I gained practical knowledge like graphic design and Microsoft Excel, and also more abstract skills like customer service and problem solving. But, all of this learning was done in a low-stakes environment, so I felt comfortable asking questions and taking some risks in order to grow.
- I Made So Many New Connections
Working in these jobs allowed me to make connections to amazing people that I otherwise would never have known. I had my wonderful coworkers, of course, but I was also introduced to many UCLA staff and faculty members. It was so cool to interact with professors and administrators outside of the classroom on a regular basis, and I was able to get to know them on a more personal level (which definitely came in handy when I needed to ask for letters of recommendation!).
- My Work Hours Were Designed Around My Quarterly Class Schedule
There are a lot of different ways that college students can earn money. But one of the perks of getting a work-study job is that your work hours never interfere with your class schedule. Because my boss is a member of the UCLA community, she completely understands the way that enrollment works, and she’s very flexible when it comes time to create my quarterly work schedule.
- I Was Able To Build My Resume
The best thing about my work-study jobs was that they padded my (otherwise very sparse) resume. Being able to say that I maintained a job throughout college was extremely helpful when I was applying for internships and professional schools. It showed recruiters and admissions officers that I have some valuable experience and that I’m able to succeed in a professional environment.
My work-study jobs have been such a positive force in my life; they’ve truly helped shape me into who I am today. If you have the opportunity to participate in a work-study program, I highly recommend that you take it. I promise that you won’t regret it.