Students balance academics with off-campus work

Rigorous academic schedules and social lives are sometimes difficult enough to simultaneously maintain by themselves. Many students, however, have to add one more element to their juggling act: off-campus employment.

Third-year Emily Ryan has worked the concession stand at the downtown Regal Hollywood Theater since August. Although the work environment on campus can be stressful, some people outside of the “bubble” don’t always grasp the multitude of work students have put on them. It is because of this that off-campus jobs can sometimes be less flexible than on-campus ones.

“Because I go to New College, people don’t expect me to have as much work as I do,” Ryan said. “One time [the managers] scheduled me three days and I told them they couldn’t do that, it was too much.”

Ryan, who works between 15 and 20 hours a week, said she sometimes has a hard time getting up in the morning after working the closing shift, and homework is “definitely harder to get done after six- to eight-hour shifts.” However, she’s learned to “just work around it.”

Ryan is paying for her car insurance and helping her family pay for part of her schooling as well. Although she feels that working off-campus is “definitely harder than having an on-campus job,” she mentioned some of the benefits of working outside of New College.

“A good thing about having an off-campus job is that you get to interact with people other than students,” Ryan said. “There are people who are of different age groups and backgrounds.”

As for some of the more specific perks of working at the theater? “I get free movie tickets, and when I’m working I can eat popcorn and drink soda,” she said.

Ryan is also a French teaching assistant on campus. Her job is to host the TA sessions, quiz the students and later grade the quizzes. She had some advice for students who are looking to get jobs, either on- or off-campus. “I’d say wait a semester before getting a job so you can adjust to classes,” Ryan said. “You don’t really know how much time it’s going to take for homework. Then take fewer hours rather than more. It’s better to not feel completely overwhelmed.”

Second-year Leila Escandar is also working off-campus this semester at the Casablanca Hookah Lounge downtown. As a server, it’s her job to greet the customers, take their orders and prepare their hookahs. Escandar has worked many jobs in the past, but the hookah lounge is one of her favorites. “It’s more feasible for my [school] work schedule,” she said. “It doesn’t interfere with classes since I go in at 6:30 p.m.”

Escandar added that it’s a very “chill environment” and she likes having more control of her wages.  “I work on a server wage plus tips,” Escandar said. “So it’s nice to come home with cash at the end of the night.”

Escandar works very late hours, from 6:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. However, she utilizes her time wisely. Since the very first couple hours of her shift are slow, she uses that opportunity to do homework.

Escandar said she doesn’t have a hard time working early into the morning. “I would probably be up at those times anyway,” she said. Though she added, “It is different to actually be working at that time. It does add an additional stress to your body.”

Escandar is paying for school books, her cell phone bill and car insurance. “My extra money goes to shopping at Target,” she commented with a laugh.

Much like Ryan, Escandar likes that an off-campus job provides opportunities to meet people outside of the campus community. She has met a lot of interesting customers, including New College alums. This is a sentiment also shared by first-year Gabriel Monterrosa, who has worked at Big Olaf’s Creamery in St. Armad’s circle since November.

According to Monterrosa, he enjoys being able to “see the world again” outside of school. Working 20 hours a week doesn’t interfere much with Monterrosa’s schoolwork. During slow parts of his shift, he is able to do homework right there at work as long as “the shop comes first and everything’s good.” He even wrote his ISP during work hours. “21 pages,” he remarked.

Monterossa, whose favorite part of the job is being able to take home ice cream with a discount, said he is saving up for a motorcycle. One of the only reasons he would prefer having an on-campus job is to save gas, but with a motorcycle that won’t matter as much anyway.

Escandar commented on this very topic, advising students who are looking for jobs to “keep it close. That’s one of the biggest things.

“If you get a job out in Siesta, even if you’re making a lot of money, it’s not worth the drive,” she concluded.

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