Work Study

Due to my financial situation, like a lot of students, I was told I could get a work study to help pay for my college. I applied to three and got interviews for two. The first was seeking someone who could work five hours a week until next year, when it would be ten hours a week. The second would offer ten hours a week right out of the gate.

I chose the ten hours a week one, in the business office. And damn, do I love my job.

Me and the other work study share our little work study corner, which consists of three desk-table-things, a couple cabinets, and two rolley office chairs. We work on different days for the most part (I work three days a week and only see her on Thursdays,) but even when we work together it’s still comfortable. My boss’s office is right next to our corner.

I know for the most part people grumble about how much they hate their boss. I guess I just got really, really lucky. Cause my boss is great.

My boss is the kind of boss that will come back from a meeting and announce to the entire office “I brought food.” My boss is the kind of boss that will make a pot of coffee and say specifically to me “Hey Senna, I’m putting some coffee on” since I’m weird and if I’m not told someone’s making a pot of coffee (which implicates they will include at least one cup for me in the pot) I wait until I’m sure everyone has had their coffee, and sometimes after just in case someone wants a second cup. My boss is the kind of boss who will ask me “do you know where the kitchenette is?” and when I admit that I don’t, she’ll say “let’s go on a field trip” and then help me wash mugs and things. My boss is the kind of boss who will give me work to do but then also say “whenever you’re not busy” after she’s told me what she needs me to do. Because she’s totally awesome and really sweet.

That’s the other thing, though. When I took my job, I assumed I would be, you know, working. All the time. If I was going to be in that office, I would be working. But it turns out, that’s not the way that works. Because the second part of that title is study. It is a work study. So rather than working, I’m supposed to use that time to study.

Which seems… odd, to me. I’m getting paid for each hour that I’m there, and often I am expected to be studying rather than working. I can study anywhere and not get paid for it. I can’t help them and work when I’m not there. So I feel weird when they say “I don’t have anything for you to do right now.” And I really don’t have that much to do other than some required readings for my lit class and sometimes papers. Two of my classes this semester are a Freshman Seminar (which we don’t have almost any homework for and we don’t have tests) and an Into to Acting, which the only grades we get that aren’t participation are scenes and monologues, which yeah, I do study. But really, despite the fact that I run around like a chicken with my head cut off Mondays and Wednesdays, I don’t have a lot of studying to do. So I kind of sit around and do personal things when I don’t have things to do at work. I write blog posts or short stories or character outlines. I draw. Things like that. But I feel really bad doing things like this because I feel like I’m supposed to be, y’know, working. But my boss always, when she has things for me to do, says “whenever you’re not busy.” Or she’ll ask me if I’d like something to do or if I’m busy and then seems surprised when I ask if she has anything for me to do. She’s great.

And I like the work I get. I liking filing. I like printing up labels. I like typing out reports on the type writer. I like shredding. I like stapling packets together. It’s all very relaxing to me. So I don’t mind one bit when I’m asked to do things. I don’t even mind when I’m asked to be errand girl and walk around campus delivering things.

Like today.

Today, my boss comes to me in about the middle of my shift and says “if you’re not busy, Kathy in the bookstore needs help with some things, but her student worker had to call off today. Would you be able to help her?”

Yes. Absolutely. I headed over to the bookstore.

If my boss isn’t one of the nicest ladies on campus, then Kathy is. Kathy runs the bookstore, she remembered me from Orientation and knew my name the first time she saw me in the bookstore, and she is lovely. Sometimes she calls me Senna Benna which I think is the cutest thing in the world. She has a rhythmic, kinda soft voice, and she reminds me of the really quiet but great librarian you often find in books but rarely find in real life. And going to see her is always a treat.

She had some letters for me to deliver today. It was a little difficult; there are a lot of professors in a lot of buildings, and several professors we didn’t know what buildings they were located in. But eventually I got them all delivered. And it gave me a nice amount of fresh air and exercise. I go back to the bookstore and we talk together for a little while before she sets me to work sorting and hanging hoodies, which was a nice change of pace and still relaxing.

Really, it’s easier for me to get up in the morning and go to work than it is for me to get up and go to class because I like working so much more than I like “structured” learning. Because at work, I am learning how to do things that I’ll probably do in the future, and it’s not being rammed down my throat the way a lot off my classes are.

I really like my work study. I really like working. I really like my boss and my co workers. And I wish schools were structured more like actual jobs, because I feel like for most people, that’s a more sensible setup.


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