by Emily Love–
Many college students have part-time jobs while also managing a full-time academic load. According to an article on ladders.com, 52 percent of college students work at least 27 weeks per year. The ideal number of working hours for a student is 10-15 per week, but many exceed that. More and more students are having to pay their own tuition, their rent, or their grocery bills so they are required to work in order to make the appropriate ends meet.
Madison Leonard, a senior working on campus at the Dietrick Convenience Store, says that her job is very laid back and that management is lenient if an employee has something come up that conflicts with a shift regarding school because someone else is always working. Leonard has been working at the convenience store for three years now and has worked her way up to Stadium Supervisor.
Leonard works an average of thirty hours a week. In regards to her job affecting her school work she states, “I try to balance it as best as I can, I don’t work more than I can and our schedules are really flexible so we don’t have to work more than we want to.” She also states, “They don’t really care much about what we do. We get a 30-minute break if we work six hours, but they don’t care if we eat on the job or do homework if we’re not busy.” This is one of the major benefits of working on campus.
Some other pros of working an on-campus job are the convenience and the pay.
“It’s really convenient cause the bus is always running, and you have food right there, and if you’re coming from class it’s not like you have to factor in the time you have to go home so you can come right from class,” Leonard states.
As far as the pay rate goes, student employees typically make more working on campus vs. off campus. Stadium supervisor alone makes $11.28, assistant makes $9.85, and clerks make $8.60. Students get paid relatively well for what they do.
The minimum wage in Virginia is $7.25 and there is no evidence that it will be raising anytime soon. Although students working off campus get paid less than those working on campus, they typically make more than minimum wage.
Ana Maria Perez, a senior working at a local Blacksburg store called ExperT’s, makes $8.50 an hour. Though this is one of the downfalls to working off campus, along with not having that sense of camaraderie among fellow employees because of the frequent hiring of new people each semester, there are many benefits as well.
“I think that some benefits would be that you don’t have to run into everybody you know on campus and be like seen by everyone,” states Perez. She also states, “It’s definitely a benefit that I can drive there because I don’t have a parking pass — and having it be a set schedule.”
Ana Maria comes straight from class so she has a fifteen minute leniency period to arrive to work in.
She claims that off-campus jobs aren’t as flexible as an on-campus job would be. “They don’t allow you to do school work at all at the front desk, even if no one’s there and they don’t want you even studying if nothing’s going on,” Perez states.
She typically works twelve hours a week with no lunch breaks. The schedule is set far in advance and you must find someone to cover your shift and get it approved by management even in the event of an emergency.
Working an off-campus job can be tough but earning some extra spending money makes it worthwhile in the end. Although Perez says that she doesn’t get much done on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, when she has her scheduled shifts, she is glad she found a job that works well with her schedule.