As a college senior, I have been thinking a lot about jobs. Real jobs. Work. Employment. A career. However you put it, it’s anxiety-inducing and terrifying and something I get asked about way more often than I’d like. Post-graduation job plans are a topic I want to avoid talking about 99% of the time. Including now. So instead of talking about so-called real, nine-to-five, I’m-building-a-career-out-of-this jobs, I’ll talk about jobs on campus.
Student employment at Pomona consists mostly of paid, part-time, on-campus jobs. Pretty much every Pomona student I know has held some type of job during their years here. I have a friend who has worked at ITS since freshman year. A friend who grades problem sets for an abstract algebra class. A friend who assists a professor with politics research. A friend who mentors a computer science class. A friend who works at the Coop Store. Friends who work for CCAVES. Friends who work at the Writing Center and as senior interviewers. The list goes on. Besides the most obvious benefit of holding a job ($$$!!!), an on-campus job can be a great way to learn new skills, meet new people, take a break from school work, and boost your resume.
I can’t speak to the multitude of job experiences I just mentioned above, but I can briefly describe the jobs I’ve personally held on campus.
As a first-year at Pomona, working at the student mailroom seemed like a really covetable job to me. You sit at a desk and hand people their packages. There are never any problems because everyone loves getting packages! And for the most part, this is a pretty accurate description of working at the student mailroom. You do have to sort a lot of mail and packages, the weeks around fall move-in are extremely stressful, and people ask way too many questions about stamps, but the job had its perks. I kind of enjoyed the monotonous, repetitive tasks and I became great at alphabetizing (as well as answering questions about stamps). People were almost always happy to receive packages. And if there was nothing else that needed to be done, I could do homework during my shift. Overall, a solid, straightforward first on-campus job.
Internship at Uncommon Good
During the fall of my sophomore year, I applied to the Career Development Office‘s Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP). Once you are accepted to PCIP, you can apply to any of the many internships they have listed in their database, or you can find your own internship. I found my own internship at a local non-profit organization called Uncommon Good, working with their Connect to College program. My work was free of charge to Uncommon Good, but I was paid by Pomona College. In the spring semester, I rode my Green Bike to the Uncommon Good office just north of campus every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and, as my resume so eloquently sums it up, I “assisted with college planning and preparation for first-generation college students” and “developed curriculum for regular meetings of the High School Scholars program.” I was also treated to staff lunches quite regularly, and the staff lunches were always tacos. This was one of my first experiences doing meaningful work, and a window into working at a non-profit organization.
Women’s Union Fellowship
In the spring of my junior year, I applied to be a Fellow at the Pomona College Women’s Union (the WU). This position “is a learning opportunity for students who have an interest in the WU’s mission and its related fields to pursue independent study in this area.” I proposed a research project about the feminization of ethnic tourism around the world, something inspired by my experience studying abroad in China the previous semester. In the end, I created this webpage, Tourism’s Gendered Gaze, and gave a presentation about my research. This project has actually developed into my International Relations thesis and inspired me to do pre-thesis research in China this past summer (you can read about that here). But beyond my own project, I really enjoyed being a part of the WU community. I helped put on several events, including a WU Hike, and I attended many more.
Office of Study Abroad
This year, I am one of seven peer mentors at Pomona’s Office of Study Abroad. I work shifts at the office, as well as plan outreach and events to liaise between the Office of Study Abroad and the student community. Most recently, I held an event called Women of Color x Study Abroad in collaboration with the WU. It was a well-attended event that focused on centering the perspectives of women of color in discussions about studying abroad. Other peer mentors are holding events about studying abroad on a budget, Asian American experiences abroad, and more. This job is a nice balance of office work (satisfying my passion for stapling things and stuffing envelopes!) and intellectually stimulating work. It’s a nice job to have senior year–relaxing but interesting.
Blogging for Voices
And last but not least, the job I’m working right now. I’ve been blogging for Pomona’s Voices student blog through the Office of Communications since the beginning of my sophomore year, including when I studied abroad and did summer research abroad (you can find all those old posts here). Blogging is a pretty low-key, low-stress job, and I can make my own hours. I blog as often as I want, about pretty much anything I want. It’s a cool way for me to put my experiences with Pomona into words, as well as provide a glimpse into the life of a Pomona student for prospective students.