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Home  > Article

A Career On Campus

By Jinnie Lee

Need a summer job? Your college could be hiring. My school's Admissions office offered me a great chance to build experience.

After a year of living on campus at college in Boston, the very idea of returning to the suburban ennui of my New Jersey hometown during summer break was unfathomable. Since I didn't have enough money to travel and I wanted to continue living independently, I decided to stay in Boston and find a summer job in the city. While other friends were busying applying to be ice cream scoopers and camp counselors, I looked into working on-campus at Emerson College. After all, just because school's out for the summer doesn't mean that campus shuts down!

I was already working as a student representative at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions during the regular school year, so naturally I reapplied for the summer term. I had initially inquired about the position through the College's on-campus job site when I had work study, but summer turns out to be far more flexible for students who don't have work study since the competition for a position is less fierce. Though there were a variety of different job openings, such as work in the library, photo darkroom, radio station, video equipment rental, and specific school departments, I was immediately drawn to the Admissions office because conducting tours seemed like something I?d enjoy.

I was already living off-campus in my own apartment at the time (Emerson's Housing and Registrar's office also reserves dorm rooms for summer students who may be there to work on-campus or take classes), so the idea that I could continue living in Boston wasn't daunting.

My duties as a student representative during the regular fall and Spring semesters included conducting campus tours for prospective students, answering phone calls and emails, filing applications, data entry, assisting in mass mailings, and helping with Admissions events like Open Houses and Spring Preview for early accepted high school seniors. The work description remained the same for summer, albeit far more low-key. Tours, however, were always booked and every student worker gave at least one tour a day (which always made the workday go by faster). The change of pace of stretching our legs and walking around the school after sitting in front of a computer for a few hours was my favorite aspect of the work.

Over the summer, I was able to request full-time work hours whereas I'd only been able to devote less than 15 hours during the regular year. After my workday was over, I was even allowed to take a night class so I could get General Education credits out of the way. Other co-workers worked part-time so they could fulfill internships on the side. Some only worked for part of the summer, went on vacation, and returned the following fall. I found that virtually all on-campus work accommodated students' inconsistent weekday schedules since supervisors were well aware of and sensitive to the student lifestyle. The flexibility of making our own work schedules was particularly helpful since many of us yearned for the carefree summer days when we didn't have to hold down jobs.

In retrospect, working at the Admissions office allowed me to learn a myriad of professional skills that I was later able to apply when I went on internship and job interviews. I not only had Administrative Assistant experience (which virtually every entry-level job requires), but I ended up being far more eloquent, presentable, and affable when meeting new people for the first time. I quickly overcame my fear of public speaking and was able to memorize over an hour's worth of information about my school. The other tour guides and I needed to juggle a variety of daily challenges like time-management, finding answers to awkward questions, and even giving VIP tours (I had the pleasure of showing Sally Field and her son around!).

Best of all, meeting interesting individuals and conducting tours never felt like "work." It was fun and engaging, and the mere idea that I could influence someone's decision in applying to school based on my tour performance was thrilling. Even through the worst of times, like when I would pick up phone calls from rude parents or hysterically crying students, I learned to develop a thicker skin for unexpected curve balls and to stay calm under pressure.

In essence, the Admissions Office offered more than I could have ever hoped to gain. Needless to say, it was an amazing first 9-to-5 job experience, and I've highly recommended the position to friends throughout the years. Living away from home, making money, hanging with friends in a sunny city...who could ask for a better summer?







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