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OPINION: On-campus jobs: Are they worth it?

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Daniyal Arshad | The Daily Wildcat

A student orders at Chick-fil-A Express in the Student Union Memorial Center food court on Jan. 26, 2017.

It’s been two months since the University of Arizona has opened its campus once again for fully in-person courses, welcoming a huge influx of both new and returning students. Once again, the campus is filled with thousands of students, a sight that truly differs from what the campus looked like during the horrendous 2020 year. I, for one, can attest to this fact, as I worked at Arizona Market, located in the Student Union Memorial Center, during the height of the pandemic and the campus was practically a ghost town.  

But now, the campus is buzzing once more and with this rapid increase of students on campus, it’s about time that the University of Arizona starts gearing up for the semester. How? Well, by none other than unleashing its horde of job openings, which have especially been geared towards the students of the UA.

However, there is one probing question that may be gnawing in the back of a students’ mind. Is working on campus truly worth it? Well, today I’ll be explaining why working on campus is perhaps one of the best decisions one can make. And it won’t just be my take on it. I’ve asked a variety of students working at the University of Arizona to give me their input on what it’s like working on campus.

Flexibility In Working Schedule

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One of the major benefits highlighted about on-campus work is the fact that working on campus is extremely flexible when it comes to hours. Depending on the field of work, students can very well expect their employers to adhere to their school schedule.

Annalise Felker, a senior double majoring in criminal justice and neuroscience, works in the Albert B. Weaver Science-Engineering Library. She attested to the fact that the university works closely with her schedule. Not only is she balancing her school hours, but she is also balancing her internship hours. Despite how chaotic it may sound, Felker claimed that the library has been very flexible.

When you work on campus, there is already an established fact that a student should prioritize their education. According to the website univstats.com, over 36,000 students at the UA are full-time students, meaning that these students are already having to maintain over 12 credit units per semester. That is at least four classes.

The University of Arizona understands this fact and although the university is partly a business, it’s also an educational institution, so it makes sure to instill those values in all of their workplaces. I have personally witnessed the length of dedication that these jobs have in supporting their student workers. My supervisor at Arizona Market was once willing to cover a closing shift of mine in order for me to attend an important meeting for the Daily Wildcat. I was luckily able to find coverage but still, the support meant the world to me. 

Working Amongst Fellow Students

Along with the convenience of scheduling, another trait that was praised about on-campus work is the ability to work alongside fellow students. Since a majority of the jobs offered at the university are geared towards students, it’s very well expected that employees would be faced with a familiar and comfortable work environment.

Carlie Scholten, a senior majoring in veterinary sciences, commented that, “all of my co-workers are employees of obviously the [UA], but are also students, so we’re all kind of around the same age.” She went on to say, “we could talk about school, but we can also talk about work. So, we’ve got a lot in common.” She currently works in the Old Main building as part of the campus tour division, more specifically as a member of the visitor support team.

If a student were to find work off-campus, they would very much be exposed to a whole variety of age groups. Some of their co-workers may be significantly older, be college graduates or just regular employees. With this variety, it can lead to what Scholten mentioned as a “communication barrier.”

I know when I’m at work, I love being able to just rant to my coworkers about my classes or simply just talk about the latest trends. The reason why I love it so much is because I know that my co-workers will simply get it because they too are college students. We may be forced to spend hours together because of work, but there is that sense of community and friendship that students would be pressed to find if they search for employment elsewhere.

Exposure To New Fields And Skills

When a student chooses to work on campus, they have the opportunity to work in a department that exposes them to new fields and skills. A student can pick a job on campus that can correlate heavily to skills they may need for the future.

Taylor Seitz, a junior pre-med student majoring in English, currently works in McKale Center in the Castor Sports Medicine Center as a student athletic training technician. Her job entails her, as she explained, to, “help assist the athletic trainers with treatments for athletes, and then managing the training room, and just running whatever errands in need, and also keeping student-athletes medical records up to date.” She said she doesn’t view her on-campus job as work, but as something that she enjoys thoroughly as well as a means to further her education within medicine.

Even if a student's job may not exactly pertain to their designated career paths, many skills can still be obtained. From what I’ve experienced from working on campus, the university gives plenty of opportunities for their student workers to build leadership skills as well as take on many responsibilities. I recently got promoted from my current job at Arizona Market to student lead, which has raised my level of responsibility tremendously.

However, it’s due to this increase of responsibility that has allowed me to strengthen my soft skills, which, according to an article by employment website Indeed, “Employers recognize the importance of soft skills in the workplace.” Soft skills, as the website also noted, “demonstrates that you understand the different characteristics that will help you succeed within an organization and your specific position.” By working on campus, a student can add onto their skill set something that a classroom can’t necessarily teach. 

Tips On Managing Work And School Load

The one thing that may deter students from working, in general, is the worry of being unable to balance one's workload with their school load. That is a genuine worry and not everyone can indeed balance the two. However, like many other skills, being able to manage your schedule is a skill that needs to be built and working is a perfect way to strengthen it. I asked many of the students I interviewed how they balanced work with school and was provided with many tips and tricks.

Students like Seitz and Scholten have highlighted the importance of having things like physical planners and lists to manage and organize their times and events in order to keep up with both their studies and work. Seitz has even stated that she has three different planners that are filled to the brim with times and deadlines.

It’s also important to note that depending on the job position, students have the opportunity to work on schoolwork during their work hours. Felker stated that one of the perks of working in the library is that, “if there’s some downtime, they allow you to do some of your schoolwork while you’re at a desk.” In my case, if there isn’t a huge influx of customers coming into the store, I’m allowed to take 20-30 minutes to work on some school work as long as it’s alright with my co-workers.

It is still very important though to understand one's limits and if working will end up interfering with a students’ educational pursuits, then I would recommend students to not force themselves into such a predicament. But, if a student does decide to add working onto their plate, I highly would recommend finding work on campus. There are so many benefits that come from it and it is truly a worthy experience in the end. 


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Tereza Rascon (she/her) is a junior majoring in English. She loves to watch musical theater, read and write on her free time.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (10/22)
742 5 0.7%
Total (8/2)
42,506 639 1.5%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated October 22, 2021