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From the Libe to Admissions: My Work Study Journey

Zoë discusses the popularity of student employment and shares her experience holding a campus job.

Zoë discusses the popularity of student employment and shares her experience holding a campus job.


Coming to Carleton, I was somewhat apprehensive about what my student employment position would look like. I had not held a job during the school year in high school, and knowing that Carleton’s academics were rigorous I realized that I would have to structure my days responsibly. Making time for my work study position, classes, homework, extracurricular activities, social life, and sleep seemed like a challenge, but not one that I couldn’t take on!

While student employment is awarded to need-based financial aid recipients, Carls not receiving a financial aid package may still find a campus job. About 80% of Carls hold campus jobs, which means that having one during the academic year is not socially ostracizing. Additionally, student employment can look a lot different from student to student. Whether you work in the library, dining halls, arboretum, Recreation Center, Math Skills Center, Writing Center, an academic department, or a campus office, there are tons of options available.

dining hall
A student worker in the Language and Dining Center employed by Dining Services.

So You’ve Just Received Your Job Assignment? No Worrying Necessary.

I hope this blog post helpfully illustrates the way student employment works at Carleton. Having a variety of campus jobs over your 4 years as a Carl is totally normal, as is holding the same job you love for an extended period of time. Check out these Job Postings to get an idea of what sorts of work positions are open for all students or read some Student Stories about what Carls have to say about their campus jobs.

If you’ve just received your work assignment as an incoming first-year, don’t fret. You’re in good hands and will be well trained on how to complete your job responsibilities. Having work shifts throughout the week is a prime opportunity to pick up some new, practical skills to add to your resume, build a well-structured school-work-life schedule, and make friends with your coworkers! By holding a campus job, you’ll be in the same boat as the vast majority of Carls, and will quickly fall into a steady rhythm. 

arb
Love the Arb? Join the Arb Crew or become a Student Naturalist. Here, students are collecting prairie seeds.

Free Time for First Years

It’s important to note that first year students are limited to working 8 hours a week. I really appreciated that cap. 8 hours was the perfect amount of time to set aside for work study, and having shifts built into my schedule helpfully sharpened my time management skills. My weeks have nicely consisted of a combination of 3 academic classes, several extracurriculars, work shifts, and free time to decompress and socialize! Finding a sustainable balance of these activities ensured that I set myself up for success.

If a paper still needs to be finished or an unforeseen commitment pops up, supervisors are generally understanding if you cannot work for your full 8 hours in a given week. The key here is communication. Emailing your supervisor about your inability to come to work should be done as far in advance as possible out of respect for those who rely on you. None of us are perfect, so don’t be afraid to ask for time off if you really need it.

My First Work Study Assignment

For me, my student employment position was assigned to me in conjunction with my financial aid package. In hindsight, I don’t think I scoped out the student job positions that were open the summer before arriving—I simply allowed the Student Financial Services Office to assign my position to me. 

libe
Processing brand new books for circulation was a daily task for me.

During New Student Week I met my wonderful work supervisor, Kate Niemisto. The Periodicals and Cataloging Specialist within the Technical Services department of the Carleton library (‘the Libe‘), she oversaw my day-to-day tasks. My official job title was a “Library Technical Services Assistant,” and I learned a lot about how libraries function over the course of my freshman and sophomore year. I was tasked with several jobs: “processing” new books for circulation, assessing the physical condition of old ones, curating a Young Adult section for the library, transcribing speeches and interviews for the Archives, and more. It was a rewarding position, and I felt partially responsible for the smooth running of the library’s behind-the-scenes operations.

Joining the Admissions Team

As a rising junior, I will be a student worker in the Admissions Office. Working in the Libe was a great experience these past 2 years, but a change of pace feels right. This summer, I have worked as an Admissions Fellow, a full time job that involves giving in-person and virtual tours of campus, blogging, conducting interviews with prospective students, and working on projects such as the Class of 2025 Profile. I’ve loved this job and collaborating with my coworkers. It’s safe to say we’re a pretty dynamic bunch.

fellows
An ode to Abbey Road.

Such a great introduction to Admissions makes me excited to keep working in the office this next school year. Working 10 hours a week, I will split my time between tour guiding and blogging. Giving walking tours of campus to prospective students and families is super fulfilling, and writing blog posts is a task I’ve become quite well versed in over this past year. I look forward to having both of these positions.


Zoë is a junior Sociology-Anthropology major who loves traveling and studying abroad, taking photos, and luxuriating in long walks in the glorious Arb. At Carleton, some of Zoë’s favorite pastimes include frequenting the various coffee shops in downtown Northfield, playing cello in the orchestra, participating in club soccer, and spending time with friends. Meet the other Bloggers!