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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

Student employment and the beginnings of an established career


How employment on campus can impact the trajectory of a student’s future

Many students first job experiences come during college. While classes and extracurricular activities often occupy a lot of time, finding a job is an introduction to what adult life really has in store. With assets like the Internship and Career Center, students have a wide range of job opportunities to explore. Ranging from paid internships to entry-level positions in a desired field, no matter where students intend to go after college their first job experience can provide the necessary spark for a bright future.

Marcie Kirk Holland, the executive director for the Internship and Career Center, described the many resources available to students once they decide to start looking for a job.

“The Internship and Career Center is a centralized full service available to students of all majors, all classes and all career interests,” Holland said. “Our primary database is Aggie Job Link, and all students have an account. Students can use this to search for available positions through specific keywords.”

In addition to Aggie Job Link, the ICC also offers workshops where students can participate in mock interviews, learn tips for success in a more formal atmosphere as well as get help with drafting a resume. Holland stressed the idea of strategic job finding, allowing students to explore many different careers before deciding which one is the right fit. Holland provided examples for the types of hands-on experience students can find through on campus jobs.

“For research, a student could work cleaning dishware on a campus lab,” Holland said. “This will allow the student to meet other professional researchers and learn lab techniques while getting familiar with how research is conducted. In business, students can find employment through the bookstores or accounting offices on campus.”

The value of the experience provided by these types of employment options is something well worth the hours spent. Many job descriptions on campus are starting to include learning objectives, so students know exactly what they will get out of the experience.

“The Campus Recreation and Unions is one example of how jobs are providing leadership training,” Holland said. “A student can work as a Student Assistant 2 and later move up to become an SA 3, eventually working their way to getting supervisor experience even as an undergraduate.”

Holland believes that the role students play in employment is something that keeps the flow of UC Davis alive and well.

“Students often have the mindset of, ‘I just had a student job,’” Holland said. “Students are really the ones that keep things moving. Think of all the places that would not function without student employment: the Coffee House, the Dining Commons. There is a strong pride in working on campus.”

Breanna Almanza, a second-year managerial economics major, works in the Segundo Market and described what her schooling experience was like before working on campus.

“It was really chill,” Almanza said. “Before working, I had a lot of time on my hands. I love movies, so I had movie marathons all the time. I decided I [needed] something to motivate me to do work.”

After having a job for a few quarters, Almanza learned to adapt to her evolving schedule and make time for both school and work.

“It’s been different every quarter, it’s never the same,” Almanza said. “Time management is key. I’m working and going to school at the same time; most people can’t do that, or they don’t have the opportunity. You feel a lot more accomplished.”

For Manza, working somewhere like the Segundo Market has given her an escape from academics and allowed her to interact with students that make the job feel less like an obligatory experience. She has gained valuable experience that she hopes to transfer into other fields.

“I love working at the market,” Almanza said. “I would love to stay there, but in the future, I either want to move up in my position or go somewhere else to help my career. Maybe interning in accounting would be best.”

Andrew Causus, a fourth-year English major and employee at Spokes Grill, spoke about his experiences working and how being on campus has benefited him more than working off campus.

“Working on campus with other students is a cool dynamic,” Causus said. “In other jobs I’ve had, you work with people of all ages and they have different worldviews and life experience.”

This quarter has proven to be a bigger challenge for Causus than any other because of his goal to graduate soon. His increased workload of 20 units and the 20 hours of work a week do not allow for much free time, but Causus finds peace knowing he can plan accordingly.

“For me, it’s all about scheduling,” Causus said.

Causus’ main objective is to become a teacher, and his job as a tutor falls right in line with his professional goals. Causus described how tutoring and earlier work he did for his high school teachers helped him realize his teaching potential.

“Tutoring is a lot of fun,” Causus said. “It’s interesting because I have observed and helped out in my high school during the summer. I would work with my English teachers, and they would let me talk to the class every so often. It’s a very different dynamic between tutoring and teaching a whole class. I like that I’ve gotten experience in both of those spaces.”


Written by: Vincent Sanchez — features@theaggie.org



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