For most students, attending college is one of the first marks of true independence. People outside of the city or state might be leaving their homes to start an academic career. In the path of adulthood, that means having some financial stability.
Financial aid can help with affording some necessities like school supplies and meal plans. However, going to see a movie or a live music performance downtown are some activities cost money not provided by the school. Fortunately, both the campus as well as Flagstaff offer jobs to students to help with the financial aspect of college.
NAU has positions spanning from a range of food service to tutoring and desk positions. At the same time, off-campus jobs have the advantage of variety. Davin Chambers, a junior double major in business management and cultural comparison studies, said he serves as a teaching assistant at the W.A. Franke College of Business.
“My job is to assist people who need help with writing their papers,” said Chambers. “I offer some constructive criticism and guidance on how to improve their writing.”
A notable benefit of working on campus for students is that it’s typically in close proximity to where students live and study. Even a job on the opposite side of campus is reachable via NAU’s bus service.
“I work in the same building that most of my classes take place,” Chambers said. “I love it because I don’t have to leave to get to anywhere else [as] I would at a different job, especially since I don’t drive up here.”
Some students are concerned about the flexibility of work hours so they do not conflict with class periods. The benefits of working on campus seem to stem from being able to work around class schedules, which matter most to some students.
“The middle of my days are pretty packed with classes, so I’m really only able to tutor either in the mornings or at night,” Chambers said. “That means I don’t get home sometimes until around 8 or 9 p.m.”
Meanwhile, some students prefer off-campus jobs for the open availability and traditional work environment. Junior biology major Vivian Fretwell said she worked at the Jimmy John’s on Milton Road.
“I prefer working off campus. I just know that I can get the most hours because it’s a regular business and not part of the school,” said Fretwell. “My classes all finish early so that I can just work the rest of the day.”
According to NAU’s student employment handbook, students can only work up to 20 hours per week when classes are in session. Fretwell said there are advantages for working at NAU, but that it matters more how the student is looking to spend their time when not in school.
“I can see why students might like to work on campus when it fits their schedule or if they really only need to work for a few hours for a few extra bucks,” Fretwell said. “The work schedule I have still allows me to get school work done while also having enough money to pay for rent and other things.”
One option to combat the potential scheduling problems a student might face while working off campus is to plan ahead with available work hours. Many businesses in Flagstaff are aware that students have a significant part of their weekdays taken up by classes and are willing to work around it with the right type of communication.
Sophomore biomedical sciences major Evan Veloz said he works as a mobile technician representative at Sam’s Club. Veloz said he helps set up customers with new smartphone upgrades and plans.
“My job works with my school schedule better than I would’ve thought. It’s about being proactive while making your schedule,” said Veloz. “Not only do you have to leave time slots open, but you may have to sacrifice with a week of 8 a.m. classes.”
Jobs off campus are required to follow the state regulations when it comes to financial compensation and minimum wages. Veloz said sometimes it can be tough to stay on campus all the time where stresses could come from both work and school.
“Working off campus is more rewarding both monetarily and mentally,” Veloz said. “Removing yourself from a place that you spend long mental periods at such as school allows you to take a load off.”
Students appreciate being able to have extra money to spend on necessities as well as entertainment. Having a job is beneficial for that, but it does come with some sacrifice.