Reframing On-Campus Employment
by Tomas Rodrigo Mendez Mendez | published Oct. 20th, 2021
An on-campus job is a great way to build up your resume, make some money and gain real-world experience.
RIT offers a wide range of on-campus job opportunities for students, especially for those who need help to cover some of their living expenses. They can also provide good exposure to the work culture in America.
Job Opportunities on Campus
While most students get the job by applying online on RIT's Career Connect portal, you can also directly walk in and ask if places are hiring.
Belle Nguyen, a graduate student working on her master's in finance, works as a graduate assistant, note-taker and has a job with dining services.
In Nguyen's perspective as an international student, she decided to work on campus to get the real RIT experience and prepare for her future career.
"An on-campus employment was key in my desire to see how it would be like to work outside of my country," she said.
It is not difficult to apply for a job. RIT offers several platforms for prospective students looking for an on-campus job such as Career Connect or Handshake.
Alessandro Fiorella, a fourth year Game Design student at RIT, explained how he got the opportunity to work for dining services through Midnight Oil.
"Three years ago as a sophomore I talked directly to the manager of the store, and he referred me to Career Connect," he said.
There are many different places to work on campus, with a variety of environments and responsibilities. Students can work with dining services or graduate and teaching assistantships. You can work for the local library or with Residence Life at their desk centers. You could even join leadership positions like Student Government.
The best way to find on-campus jobs are to start looking everywhere you can think of. Do not be afraid to knock on some doors!
RIT can pay from $12 an hour to $15 an hour depending on the position and complexity of the job. For those who want to work as a teacher's or research assistant, typically you get a higher pay rate. For others, such as desk work or dining services, they're more on the minimum wage side.
However, there's a maximum amount of 20 hours students can spend working on campus. This doesn't include the fact that students share workspaces with others, and often have a limited amount of hours for a single job.
To circumvent this, many students have multiple jobs on campus. For some students, they opt for more leadership roles to be a part of the greater RIT community.
Most of these leadership positions require a certain amount of experience in said field that a freshman or sophomore would not have. This requirements tend to narrow down the process of recruitment to fill up this type of jobs. Often these positions are paid through a stipend and offer valuable leadership experience.
On the other hand, if your goal is to make a lot of money, on-campus employment may not be for you.
Nguyen explained that due to delays in her payment, she has to talk with payroll constantly.
“It's really hard to understand how payroll works,” she said.
Direct deposit, an alternate way of payment that allows students to receive their paychecks directly through their bank account, could possibly solve this. However, Nguyen emphasizes that pay is dependent on managing a timekeeping system to calculate the quantity of labor hours, which becomes an issue for some students when the timekeeping system goes wrong.
Another issue is the limited pool of jobs. Especially with the exponential growth of the student population, getting a job can be competitive.
“A recommendation to RIT is to hire more people, give incentives and raise wages,” Fiorella explained.
For dining service workers, especially, they find a different problem with the larger student populace: rush hour. Typically, there's a rush hour when students are heading out of class, and student workers could prepare for it. Nowadays, large amounts of costumers can arrive at any moment, regardless of the time of the day. Fiorella himself feels like he has no breaks.
No matter the job, expect a lot of time management on your part. Even when you work on campus, you already have the condition of being a full-time student.
“Sometimes to balance working and study can be really hard,” Nguyen said.
“Sometimes to balance working and study can be really hard.”
Sometimes, however, on-campus work is all an RIT student can find, especially for those without a mode of transportation.
At the same time, for international students, working on campus is the only job option that they can obtain in their first and second semesters as full students.
"Having a work position on campus despite not being related to my career continues to be very helpful for my communication skills and teamwork," Fiorella explained.
"Having a work position on campus ... continues to be very helpful for my communication skills and teamwork."
Nguyen, being a graduate assistant, feels that her position allows her to get involved into the campus community.
"My experiences working on campus gives me a clear idea of [RIT]," she said.
In a Nutshell
RIT continues to offer many opportunities in many fields for students to access to jobs, and many organizations rely on the help of their student workers to ensure the best level of service to the RIT community.
However, RIT on-campus employment still has its faults. Many students feel that they're being underpaid. When compared to an outside job, with wages raising to $15 an hour with additional work benefits, working for less on campus without as many can feel a little frustrating.
It's important to open discussion between RIT and its student populace so we can better understand the circumstances around this discrepancy. For many people, side jobs are how they afford college, the housing and many more necessities.
Regardless, campus jobs are available to the entire student community. For some people, it can give them a better understanding of what RIT does and build towards working in the current competitive work environment.