College campuses are notoriously known for employing students and not paying them how they should be paid. I am going to highlight my time working on a college campus in Iowa and how that has changed my perspective.
When I was a freshman in college, I got the opportunity to do “work study” which seemed like a pretty good gig at the time. I choose my top three places on campus that seemed interesting (the Olmsted mail room, Cowles Library, and the campus gyms which includes the Underground and the Bell Center.)
I got placed to work the campus gym and everything was great. I picked up shifts to work as a gym monitor which cleaned equipment, looked out for patrons, and little stuff like that. For this I was getting paid $8.50
Now, I come from the suburbs of Chicago and have been working since I was 15 years old. I was getting paid $8.50 when I was 15 working at Lombard Park District. The summer before freshman year of college I was serving at a local restaurant, Babcock’s Grove House, and making $200 a night. So you see, coming to Iowa and working on campus for this amount of money was a adjustment.
My sophomore year a girl in my sorority reached out to me, saying that I would be perfect for the marketing assistant job in Drake Recreation. My thought process was “oh my gosh, this is perfect. I already work there kind of and I have a minor in marketing.”
So I applied and got the job. This included a pay raise but I also lost my status as being a “work study” student. I thought this doesn’t really matter, I am getting a raise and this will help me develop more professionally. I was right.
During this first year of working as a marking assistant, student employees tried to get together and sign a petition for better pay. Obviously, this didn’t work because college students are unorganized to say the least.
I am still at the same on campus job, still making $9.50. For the amount of work that I do, I feel like this is fair but I also know that if I was doing the same job in Illinois, where I am from, I would be making a lot more. My whole thing, is that this job had a great work environment, fun co-workers, flexible schedules, and professional benefits. All of this balances out the pay, and I am ok with that.
Check out “About Me” to learn more about my professional experiences!