Having a job while taking classes is overrated. That being said, it is necessary unless you come from a family of rich people who can afford to pay your way through undergrad. This was unfortunately not my life, so I had to find a job that would pay decent and would be somewhat flexible with my outside life. Of course, I chose a job that did not do either, and this is where the story began.
I was the only woman and the only minority worker when I started. No one really related to me and everyone thought it was funny to joke about my culture or the way I decided to wear my hair and the way I talked. I often dealt with a lot of passive aggressive attitudes and blatant racism. It was fun for my co-workers to talk about me and to make me feel uncomfortable. It also became a thing for my coworkers to state that they were “scared” of me, which is when I really started to get irritated.
My supervisor could sense that I was not taking any nonsense from her or anyone else, so she allowed me to work in my old on-campus neighborhood to give me a break. The last week I worked there, I got into a disagreement with her though because she wanted me to walk home from North (MAPS) to Brody. Anyone who is familiar with the campus knows that this is a 45-minute walk. I wouldn’t have had a problem with it if I had to walk during the day but she wanted me to take this walk at 1 am on Grand River when all of the homeless and drunk people were parading outside. I finally got it all figured out and I got someone to cover my shift, but that was not good enough for her. I got sick within this same week and decided to go to urgent care. Once I called her to tell her that I had the flu, she told me to stay home and rest.
To my surprise, I woke up the next morning to find out that I had been fired and she did not return any of my calls. Because of this, I refused to work another on-campus job. The problem is that these people do not take into consideration that we (as students) have lives too. We get sick, we are not comfortable working all hours of the night, and we are tired of being disrespected just because we’re not “old enough” or because we have not accomplished our degree.
If you are thinking about working on campus, don’t. The only time it may be good is if it is a job that will give you experience or if it is a job where you learn skills for what you are planning to do when you graduate and get into your career. It is important that if you are going to work on campus, you know your worth and that you know how to advocate for yourself! If anything, always remember that your feelings matter and if that means walking away from a job that causes more stress and gets in the way of your class work, then so be it. Learn from my mistakes and find a job or an internship that not only excites you but surrounds you with co-workers who value your work and your company.
Treandra Thomas is a 2018 grad who majored in professional writing. Treandra’s imagination has always been pretty huge, and she explores that through writing in her free time. She is shamelessly obsessed with reality television shows and also cooking. You can follow her on Instagram @treandras_world.