Working a job in college is a great way to keep your pockets from emptying during the school year, but deciding whether to work through the university or through a local business can be daunting.
Opportunities in East Lansing do not fall short: MSU hires more than 17,000 students per year for a variety of different on-campus jobs and the city of East Lansing is filled with bars, restaurants, and local businesses that often look for students to take on part-time roles.
Creative advertising senior Jack Raymond works as a service center representative for residence halls in east campus.
Raymond said working through the university has been a great experience and his management is very understanding of the commitments he has as a student.
“The whole schedule is based around your classes, so you’ll never work when you have class and they do that for everybody,” Raymond said. “Once they kind of make the schedule, it's permanent for the semester.
Raymond is in charge of working the front desk at dorms, where he processes packages and helps students out with questions they might have. He has been working the job since February and his favorite part is being able to talk with students, Raymond said.
“I really wanted that job super bad specifically, so I was like refreshing the job page almost every day just waiting until there was an opening,” he said. “It’s not a super strenuous job and it’s nice to be social.”
Agribusiness junior Carter Pickering also works a job where he can interact with students, but in a much different setting than the dorms.
A bartender at Landshark, Pickering said his job doesn’t feel like work, but rather a hobby.
Having worked there for close to a year, Pickering said, his coworkers are great to work with and that his management is also understanding of his schedule and class work.
“You need to make sure that you are being honest about your schedule and just making sure that you get your times right, but they are very flexible when it comes to school,” Pickering said.
Pickering works three to four days a week, working nights on the weekend and one weekday shift.
“It’s honestly easy to balance because you know, it’s just like a normal college student going out on a weekend to go drinking except I’m just going there to work," he said. "So it’s not necessarily a nuisance when it comes to working during the week."
Pickering, who knew he wanted to be a bartender when he came to MSU, said he loves the fast-paced environment of working at a college bar.
“I enjoy when it gets hectic," Pickering said. "Obviously that means I’m making more money and I would rather be moving and serving drinks and working fast than standing around playing with my thoughts."
Although working through the university would also be great, Pickering said, he thinks working outside the university allows for different networking opportunities and exposure to people who aren’t students.
“I would say Landshark is a great bar to work at and anybody wanting to work there, just apply,” he said.
On-campus jobs can also have students on their feet. Neuroscience junior Leah Zajac works as a group fitness instructor at IM West, where she teaches indoor cycling classes.
She started the job her freshman year after she went to a spin class at MSU and saw that the instructor was the same age as her. Having always wanted to be a spin instructor, Zajac talked to the instructor after class and was invited to start training to be an instructor herself.
Zajac said her boss treats school as a top priority for her and her coworkers and are empathetic when employees get overwhelmed with school work.
“My boss is used to working with students and I hope most bosses at MSU are, because they know firsthand what you’re going through and what we need assistance on or what’s going on on campus that will maybe affect us,” Zajac said.
When it comes to balancing school and a job, Zajac advises students to commit to time management.
“The time that you have in a day can’t really be wasted and I know that sounds stressful, but like, for example, if you are taking the bus home instead of going on Instragram, go to Quizlet and study for an upcoming exam,” Zajac said. “You have time to do everything you want to do in a day, you just don’t recognize that you have to make that time.”