Summer jobs provide work experience and new perspectives

Though it may be hard to believe now, with persistent freezing temperatures and stubborn snow piled on the ground, summer is fast approaching and with it numerous employment opportunities. Lawrence offers several different types of summer jobs, ranging from painting the walls in the dorms to manning the info desk, and many students take advantage of the chance to stay on campus during the summer months and make money.

Senior Claire Bassett found her summer job at Lawrence immensely beneficial in a number of ways. “Although I did not realize it initially, I am in a major transitional phase, from college to the workforce, and my summer employment has provided me with a bridge into employment.” Bassett has stayed to work on campus every summer of her college career and has worked as the circulation desk assistant at the library and as office assistant and tour guide in the admissions office. “For each department, I had excellent and very different opportunities in terms of responsibilities and work environments. In turn I developed a wide range of communication skills and administrative practice that I can take with me into the professional workplace after I graduate.”

Other students value the opportunity to see Lawrence in a different light, removed from the hustle and bustle of the regular school year. “The classes and the busy environment create the stress and strain I feel during the term, not the campus itself. I have actually found that I am fonder of Lawrence now that I have spent less stressful time here than I have since my freshman year,” said senior Dakota Williams, who worked as a Summer Circulation and Archives Assistant in the library.

With little to do on campus besides work, many students relish the free time they don’t normally get during the year. Senior Liz Vidulich worked from only 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in her position as an info desk worker the summer after her sophomore year. “The first summer I was here, a bunch of my friends stayed as well. We spent a lot of time together and didn’t have a lot of obligations outside of work, so we had a lot of time to do whatever we wanted,” she said. “It’s kind of a microcosm of campus, you get people who you wouldn’t have necessarily known, but since it’s like a tenth of who’s normally on campus, you get to know them better.”

Other students enjoyed cultivating friendships with faculty and staff. “I highly enjoyed working with the Lawrence faculty and staff this past summer. They make Lawrence Lawrence, even when most of the students are not here,” said Williams. Bassett found that the relationships she made with faculty and staff changed her perception of Lawrence. “I have seen Lawrence from a different angle and have come to appreciate its excellence, in large part as the result of a staff who works year-round to support our student body.”

The jobs available to students are not limited to campus. Vidulich worked as an intern at the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of the Fox Cities last summer. “I spent most of the summer developing a curriculum on bystander intervention, but then I also just did basic intern things.” She was then able to bring the curriculum she developed back to campus for the use of the Sexual Harassment and Assault Resource Board.

The one thing that students find most inconvenient about staying on campus for the summer is food. “The café and the Commons aren’t an option in the summer,” said sophomore Alex Damisch, who worked as a Student Summer Multimedia Specialist. Williams added, “Due to the campus center being closed for most of the summer and quite expensive without a meal plan otherwise, one must cook for themselves during the summer.” Although there were available kitchens to use in Hiett, they would often be busy because of the number of student workers staying there.

Despite the difficulty finding food, Damisch said, “experiencing Lawrence in the nice weather was always a plus!”