Ramblings: On Being A Student Worker

Being a student worker isn’t all that bad. Especially at Columbia. Specifically in the radio department. 

I’ve only been working here for a few months, and it’s been primarily in the office, (I was hired for another part of the department, but hours don’t line up so it’s all good,) but I still love it. All through high school, I worked as the “Office Assistant” for a local, small-town computer store owned by my mom. The only reason I stuck with it for so long was because I didn’t have to pay taxes, I could choose my hours, and I could work as little or as much as I wanted to. It usually was as little as I possibly could, which, looking back, I wish I worked a little more in high school. The other nice thing was a specific amount was set aside for college, I guess I didn’t appreciate it much at the time, but now, it’s been a blessing having my first year paid for completely out-of-pocket. Hooray growing up.

Anyway, working in the office/studio time for the radio department is great, because I’ve gotten to know pretty much all the faculty members and a lot of the students just because I’m in the department so much. I even have the opportunity to do homework while I’m working, but I usually end up surfing the web/tumblr/twitter/blogging. Over the break, we actually would just sit in studio time and blatantly watch movies. Those were the ‘good-ol-days’. Except not really.

The only thing I don’t like about doing that is it makes me feel unfulfilled at the end of the day. For example, during break a few days, I would work studio time from 10am-7pm (or something like that,) and I would spend the entire day watching movies/doing things on the internet. When I’d get back to my dorm, I’d think ‘well, what now?’ Because I had spent the whole day doing things I would normally do after working the whole day. At least now that school has started back up, more people are in the department. Students are making appointments for studio time and to meet with faculty. Things need to be done around the office. And true, there’s still an abundant amount of time to do homework/blog/surf the internet/install protools/whatever you need to do, but there’s always going to be at least one thing that you accomplish in your x-number-of-hours shift.

Of course, I work so many other jobs that I have fulfillment else where, but the radio department is where I would consider my ‘main job’ to be, since I have more consistent hours there, and it really  is a part of my schedule. 

Wait, ‘so many other jobs? Explain. 
You’re going to be sorry you asked.

Probably my coolest job is my position with the Great Northern Radio Show, who I am the Associate Producer for. This is one of the most part-time jobs I have, since the shows only happen seasonally (four times a year,) but it’s definitely one of my favorites and one I’ve learned the most from. Back “at home,” I’m officially the go-to for the Grand Rapids State Bank when they host live shows – I’m their stage manager! All that is, pretty much, is I direct the traffic going on and off stage, and attempt to put the acts in an order that makes sense – from a vibe/physical/sound standpoint. That’s pretty part-part time too. Another very part-time job is my freelance color guard work. I’ve worked with my high school band and I have a clinic coming up with Robert Morris University. I guess that’s more part-time than GNRS, but this is hardly work, since color guard is one of my biggest hobbies (besides radio.) The second most official-type job I have is my cashier position at Chicago Kernel – actually, it was the first job I had in Chicago. (There’s some other jobs I have in the works, but I’m not going to say anything since nothing’s set in stone yet. They do have to do with radio though, and they make me very excited.)

Being a full-time student working full-time hours isn’t the easiest thing ever. But it’s so incredibly rewarding. Getting two paychecks every two weeks, and the random other paychecks after a weekend of hard work is great, and it helps fuel my ever-growing love for vinyl records and food. 

Yeah… going to school in Chicago really isn’t that bad. 🙂


Author: erikabunk

Raised in Northern Minnesota. BA in Radio/Business & Entrepreneurship. Painfully average marathoner. Spends too much time on Spotify, in search of the best record store in the world, and dreams of returning to Reykjavík.

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