Hunter Reh '20, a student employee with the football team, stands on the sidelines at the Cotton Bowl.
Gone are the days of filing papers and sweeping office floors—your campus job could be something much more suited to your interests, like conducting research in a lab, managing social media accounts, or assisting at practices for the football team.
Student employment has changed in recent years as college students look to campus jobs to help them develop professional skills they can use after graduation. Around 35 percent of Notre Dame students work on campus, but their jobs offer a bigger payout than a check to help supplement financial aid. Thanks to the many employment opportunities on campus, students here are developing professional skills—and networks—that lead to success in work and life after graduation.
A perusal of the student JOBboard will show you that our students do a variety of unique work, like conducting research in labs, editing scholarly articles, running social media accounts, managing website content, supervising student teams, and providing IT support to the campus. And while jobs that include filing and sweeping still exist on campus, they’re often one valuable part of a larger work experience.
“Student employment provides Notre Dame students with an opportunity to acquire life skills that will be essential in preparing them for success in their field after graduation,” says Senior Assistant Director Financial Aid Yolanda Teamor, administrator of student employment programs.
Campus jobs teach students collaboration skills as they learn to work within a team structure and negotiate and manage conflict. Students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they process data, apply their knowledge to real-world situations, and propose and develop new ideas. Students also begin to build their professional networks as they connect with experienced professionals on campus, take advantage of mentorship opportunities, and meet new people with similar interests.
Junior Stephanie Araki, a biological sciences major from Waipahu, HI, is putting what she has learned in the classroom to use as undergraduate teaching assistant (TA) for the Introduction to Biological Sciences lab. She works closely with faculty, graduate students, and fellow undergraduate students to assist first-year students in pre-health majors. One of her favorite things about her job is getting to know fellow students and helping them to learn new concepts. This experience will serve her as she plans to pursue graduate school with a focus on computational bioscience or bioinformatics.
"I think being a TA will prepare me for my career because having to explain fundamental biological concepts allows me to really test my knowledge of the material," says Araki. "Sometimes students ask questions that make me second guess or re-read the lecture material, giving me the chance to better my understanding." In addition, she says she appreciates the opportunity to work with faculty instructors, "who are invaluable resources for trying to figure out post-graduate education and career choices."
Hunter Reh, a political science major and International Security Center Certificate Program student from San Diego, CA, works with the Fighting Irish Football Team. He says that in addition to professional skills, this work allows him to experience the daily operations of the season along with the team. Despite seeming worlds away from his political science major, the job has added to skills that he’ll use in his future professional life.
“I think the sense of communal teamwork that we have will prepare me well for my career,” says Reh. “Having to work in a team to accomplish a singular goal has taught me how to strive for success in a team environment.”