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Work for It: skills learned as a student employee

Sydni Moore works four jobs -- she's a lifeguard and deck manager at the recreation center, a consultant for the English Language Learner Writing Center (ELLWC), an intern for Ohio DECA and, in her free time, she makes videos for Cinchshare, a social media marketing tool for independent sales consultants. She's always on the go and makes everyone around her feel like an underachiever.

Every week, Moore, a marketing and Spanish double-major, is scheduled to work 20 hours, the maximum hours the university allows full-time students to schedule for on-campus jobs. The university allows an additional two hours of clocked-in time, allowing for a small area of wiggle room for students who may have to work extra.

Moore says that 22 hours is plenty for a full-time college student, but the lack of flexibility can be an issue, preventing her from helping out other employees.

"I can't ever cover a shift for someone else, and then they can't cover for me in the future because I can't pick up a shift because it will put me over the 22 mark," said Moore. "But if I was off-campus I could do that."

Another busy student, Madi Novosel, is a student manager for Miami's catering company, Carillon Catering, which supplies food to events on campus. She works 14-20 hours a week, depending on her schedule and how many events catering has planned for the week. The catering company sometimes only delivers the food, but sometimes they serve it, clear it away and wash the dishes afterward. Catering typically has multiple events scheduled per night, so Novosel never knows how many she will be working.

A sophomore chemistry and public health double-major, Novosel is the Community Leadership Team (CLT) president for Etheridge and Maple halls and is involved with a number of major-related clubs and organizations. CLT alone can take up to seven hours per week.

Novosel says that working while in school has improved her ability to manage time.

"Next week I have two exams and a bunch of assignments going on, but I still have to work four days out of the week, which is manageable, it just really crunches me for time management," Novosel said.

Work ethic is consistently at the top of the National Association of Colleges and Employers' list of most necessary career readiness competencies. Listed as a key component of work ethic is time workload management. Employers look specifically for students who have the ability to multitask successfully and the ability to work while in college.

Sometimes just finding time to relax can be challenging while working so many hours per week, Novosel says. With catering a lot of events on the weekends, she rarely gets to spend her days off catching up on homework or just taking a moment for herself.

For many students, working while in school is not optional. Some parents require their kids to have a job in order to help out with expenses. Other students make a personal choice to reduce costs by working.

"I could decide not to work, but I would have to take out more student loans for my housing next year, so I'm trying to eliminate as much debt as I can," said Novosel.

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In addition to helping to pay for college, jobs on campus can provide experience within a student's area of study. Moore says that as a part of her job at the ELLWC, each student consultant must join a special interest group, a team of students who work together on one aspect of the writing center.

"ELL gives me the opportunities to work on my major at the same time," said Moore. "The Marketing Special Interest group helps me apply what I am learning."

This gives her practical experience creating marketing materials for the writing center, a skill that she can apply to her future career.

Above all, Moore values the relationships she has formed with her fellow lifeguards at the rec.

Every so often, the lifeguards have staff dinners at a coworker's house, where they all chow down on good, homemade food, relax and enjoy each other's company.

"I am friends with people I wouldn't normally be friends with and they're leading me to try things I wouldn't normally try, like the jump rope club," said Moore.