The Life of Being a “Working Girl” On Campus

When the topic of college life comes up during a conversation, people tend to share memories of the classes they took, the clubs they were in, or the people they met during their college life. The topic of on-campus jobs rarely surfaces during the conversation. However, my working experiences through various campus jobs I’ve taken are no less valuable than my academic studies.

When I watched the first Pitch Perfect movie as a senior in high school, I particularly loved the scene in which Beca works as an assistant in the school radio station. The radio station is where she deepened her passion for music and where she met her love interest, Jesse. Motivated by this movie, I decided to obtain a few campus jobs when I went to college to gain some practical skills outside the classroom and to meet more people.


During the past three years at Rochester, I’ve worked as a laboratory technical assistant, a campus tour guide, a Starbucks service assistant, a pre-college counselor, a teaching assistant, and, of course, an admissions blogger. Though my on-campus working experiences aren’t as romantic as Beca’s in Pitch Perfect, I did gain many valuable skills and explored my interests. Here are some of my thoughts in regards to my working experiences, and three things I’ve been able to do:

1. Find a potential career.
The right campus jobs helped me to discover my potential career path. As I listed above, I’ve worked multiple jobs, but I have to admit, it took me a while to find the right ones I truly enjoy. And once I found the right jobs that I felt passionate about, they unlocked a hidden door and led me to discover more about myself. I found myself really enjoy giving campus tours, talking to prospective students, and helping other students with their coursework alongside the professors. Thus, I decided that in the future, I want to work in a technical field that will improve quality of life and allow me to have daily interactions with people. Therefore, my on-campus working experiences shaped my aspiration of becoming a technical consultant in the future.

2. Learn practical skills.
On-campus jobs offered me a chance to learn practical skills that I can’t learn in classrooms. When I had my first job interview last semester, I was very surprised by how much I talked about my campus working experiences instead of my academic studies. Potential employers are more interested in learning about how I would communicate with others, how I would lead a team, how I would deal with a conflict, and how professional I could be. I learned all of those “people skills” through my experiences as a tour guide, a teaching assistant, and a counselor, rather than an electrical engineering student. All of my quantitative skills are shown on my resume, but thanks to my on-campus jobs, I had the chance to learn and practice some soft skills that would be essential in the working field.

3. Learn life skills.
On-campus jobs helped me to grow as a person. On-campus jobs not only taught me the skills that I could brag about during job interviews, but they also helped me to learn time-management skills and become more responsible and organized. Juggling jobs, academic studies, and extracurricular activities was a huge struggle for me at first, but as time went on, I learned to be more organized and schedule my day reasonably so I’m not as overwhelmed. Being punctual at work and maintaining good attendance aren’t easy, but they helped me to stay focused and be responsible. Looking back to freshman year and right now, I definitely have grown a lot and could perform better under pressure.


The life of being a working girl on campus is both rewarding and exciting. It might get stressful at times but everything pays off in the end. The University of Rochester especially has plenty of resources and opportunities for students to find on-campus jobs (the Career Center, JobLink, and the annual on-campus job fair are both great resources). I’d say that if I hadn’t worked on any jobs in college, I would’ve missed chances to learn, grow, and mature!

About the author

Sophie Zhang

I'm a member of Class of 2017 majoring in electrical and computer engineering and minoring in biomedical engineering. I'm originally from Chongqing, China, but I spent my junior and senior year of high school in Concord, New Hampshire. I am a campus tour guide, a brother of Alpha Phi Omega community service Fraternity and a contributing writer at Campus Times. I will also become a freshmen Resident Advisor and a senior interviewer next year. I am excited to meet all of you, Class of 2020 and 2021 in person!!!

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