Learning through labor: students join the workforce

The Career Center continues to assist students in their job search virtually. Emileé Edwards | Photographer

By Ava Dunwoody | Staff Writer

College students continue to enter the workforce despite the uncertainty of the fall semester. So far, Baylor University has given 2,744 job assignments to students around campus according to the Student Employment Center.

This does not include the number of students working off-campus. As of 2018, the National Center for Education Statistics said 81% of undergraduate students work part-time and 43% work full-time nationally.

Stephanie Horton, director of Baylor Human Capital Management & HR Service Center, handles the logistics of student hires and helps to complete necessary employment forms. She said a work-study program is a great opportunity for students to get their first job.

“It not only gives you your first work experience, but I think that you are able to do that in a supporting environment,” Horton said. “That’s at the root of our philosophy for work-study. Your studies come first and we want to help you get there and succeed with that.”

While many students choose to apply for on-campus jobs, others find employment around Waco. Hewitt sophomore Bennett Glanzer has worked at Chick-fil-A on Franklin Avenue for three years and has climbed his way up to team leader and hiring coordinator.

“I love being able to engage with my team members,” Glanzer said. “It’s definitely been a joy in my life.”

Glanzer said he has learned many life skills from working as a student, including “money management,” “conflict resolution” and “how to set up boundaries” to maintain a tenable schedule.

“I’ve grown vastly in my communication skills with people,” Glanzer said. “Something I’ve been able to learn that has been really helpful for me is my ability to converse with teachers, other students and my friends as well.”

As a business major, Glanzer said that he recognizes how his education and occupation overlap. He said any job will teach students skills they can use in their futures, especially in terms of their potential careers.

“I strongly recommend people to get jobs, because that is one place where you can take what you learn from school and immediately come to work and apply what you learned,” Glanzer said.

Lake Jackson junior Rachel Gambrel has also learned many skills from her job as a patient care technician at Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco. Gambrel is a health science studies major on the pre-PA track.

“Working in healthcare,” Gambrel said, “solidified me wanting to be a PA. You never really know until you start doing it — until you shadow and learn what it’s about. I really like it.”

Now that she knows what she wants to do, having this job allows Gambrel to complete the necessary patient contact hours for her eventual PA school application. She is able to discover her passion and get credit for it.

“If I hadn’t had this job, I really wouldn’t have had much experience in healthcare,” Gambrel said. “I’ve shadowed before, but it’s different when you’re actually training and working amongst other healthcare providers.”

The practical applications of learning to balance a work-study lifestyle are beneficial and “have more to offer than just a paycheck,” according to an article in Forbes. For many students, getting a job in college is worth it because they learn “professional skills that aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom.”

For students who are looking for a job, the Baylor Career Center is available with virtual resources to help build resumes, prepare for interviews, find jobs and utilize Handshake. The Student Employment and HR website also offers listings of open jobs within the Baylor community.

Glanzer said he recommends researching a variety of jobs before applying, making sure to take note of the company’s “values,” the “way they treat their guests” and the “most important part of the job: management.”

Another way to learn more about career options is to attend career workshops, stay up to date on online job postings and to ask lots of questions. Resources like the Career Center and the Student Employment office were made with job-seeking students in mind.

“Try and find people who have jobs and talk to them about their experiences,” Horton said.

Most importantly, Gambrel said it is critical to find work that you enjoy doing. Whether on or off-campus, students will spend a lot of time at their job and it can influence much of their lives.

“I think that’s definitely important for anyone that wants to work,” Gambrel said. “You definitely want to do something that you like and that you’re passionate about.”