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Students rush to grab campus jobs

Marcela Berrios | Wednesday, August 30, 2006

If that first encounter with the randomly appointed roommate was not sufficiently nerve-racking, freshmen also had to survive these past few days of frantic searching for a good job on campus.

Many returning students have also undergone the process of calling different offices, submitting resumes and waiting impatiently for good news from the people in charge.

Despite the rush for the prime jobs, more often than not, the student does get hired. Currently more than 40 percent of the entire Notre Dame student body is employed on campus, said Matt Biergans, senior student service representative at the Office of Student Financial Services.

Biergans said more than 3,000 students from all socio-economic backgrounds opt to take campus jobs that range from technology consultants at OIT’s computer clusters, to lifeguards under the Athletic Department’s jurisdiction, to cashiers for the different restaurants and cafés that Food Services oversees.

On average, these students will work between eight and 10 hours a week and earn from $6.75 to $7.65 per hour, according to the Office of Student Employment.

“The minimum wage is $6.75, which is fifteen cents higher than last year and in line with what other universities pay their student employees,” Biergans said.

Sophomore Andrew Parnell is one of those 3,000 students who balance work with school.

“Last semester I worked around thirteen hours every week, which wasn’t too hard because I enjoy my job, but it definitely took away valuable time that I could’ve used to study for some of my tougher classes,” he said.

But the responsibility and time commitment factors don’t seem to threaten the demand for jobs among students at Notre Dame.

“Our jobs are usually all full by the end of the first or second week of the semester,” said Kelly Koski, University Libraries business manager.

Students also tend to stick to their first placement, rather than jump around to different jobs, Koski said.

“Once students start working for us, they often return to that job or another within the library for the rest of their time at ND,” she said.

While many employment opportunities for students are posted in the Office of Financial Aid’s online job board, University Libraries simply resorts to printed applications available to anybody who visits the Hesburgh Library at the beginning of every semester.

Though opportunities abound, there are still students having trouble finding a job that fits their schedule.

“I didn’t really realize at first that all the good jobs would be gone quickly, and I went over to the Huddle really late,” freshman Jenn Perriconi said. “All the good Starbucks shifts were gone. All that is left now are Friday and Saturday night shifts. Next semester I am definitely getting out [of] there as soon as possible.”

There is still hope of finding that perfect campus job.

“If there really is a department that interests you, and you would like to work with them, just check back to see if there are any positions that may open up throughout the year,” Biergans said. “As departments and other organizations settle into the school year and the workload grows, there may be new opportunities for students to come in and work. Something new opens up everyday.”

Just ask freshman Sierra McNamara.

“I was doing kidney cancer research over the summer and wanted to continue doing that at the undergraduate level,” she said. “I e-mailed a biology professor over the summer to see if she would be willing to take me on board, even though I’m a just a freshman, and it turns out that she was really helpful about it and I will be working with her this semester.”

Though the work may be time-consuming, students like Parnell and McNamara come away with valuable insight about dealing with superiors and co-workers that cannot be taught in the classroom.

That shift during the lunch break is almost like another class, but the reward doesn’t come in credits or letter grades. It’s the cash that will pay for those weekend taxi rides.