Student employees find balance and gain benefits by finding employment with Baylor

Community Leader Leah Bullinger, resident Amanda Ennis and Office Assistant Leah Matson of Brooks Residential Flats. Christina Cannady | Photographer

Mary Watson Vergnolle | Staff Writer

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has made life difficult for educational institutions around the country. Here at Baylor, many students choose to learn and gain work experience while continuing to attend classes throughout the week, ultimately adopting skills such as time management and collaboration outside the classroom.

From community leaders to Baylor tour guides and human resource assistants, Baylor offers a wide variety of occupations for students to expand their knowledge in an area of interest and possibly even discover their passion.

Granite Bay, Ca. sophomore Madeline Ahrens enjoys her position as a tour guide for Baylor, a job that she has held since August of 2020. Ahrens said the position has been rewarding and that she loves to be able to be a part of the college decision-making process by showing potential students her enthusiasm for Baylor.

“Tour guides make a big impact on the college decision process. I remember coming here and having great tour guides,” Ahrens said. “Also, I am pretty social and I love talking about things I am passionate about, so it’s super easy to talk about Baylor all day.”

Although, Ahrens admits that there can be obstacles to the job during a pandemic, she said she’s discovered that there are many benefits for families that come to visit.

“Because of COVID-19, tours are done with just one family per tour guide, so they are much more personal,” Ahrens said. “Families are able to have more one-on-one time and ask all of the questions that are specific to their student.”

Ahrens also said she feels as though there is less pressure on her when she is only explaining information to one group at a time since there are fewer people to manage and she doesn’t have to project her voice as loud.

Since Ahrens has only known what being a tour guide is like through the lens of Baylor’s new COVID-19 policies, she said she is looking forward to being able to give tours in the future with larger groups.

Waco freshman Gracie Platt, a student employee here at Baylor, describes her experience working as a student administrative assistant for Baylor’s Financial Aid office in Clifton Robinson Tower.

“Being a student employee is a great opportunity because it allows me to develop great time management and helps me to prepare to have mature conversations within the workplace,” Platt said.

Platt is an elementary education major and said she loves having more financial freedom and has enjoyed being able to gain work experience in an office environment.

“I have liked having the opportunity to be able to manage my own money,” Platt said. “I wanted to learn what a job would look like after college and be prepared for the work world.”

University employees, like Ahrens and Platt, both agree that collaborative efforts within their work environments have still been feasible despite many industry efforts to adopt distance learning substitutes.

“It is easy to collaborate with coworkers through Zoom and socially distanced conversation, but there are less people in the office overall,” Platt said. “I do look forward to being able to collaborate with a larger staff once the pandemic begins to subside.”

Overall, student employees at Baylor are gaining knowledge and experience in the classroom, as well as outside of it. Baylor’s desire to prepare students for the workforce is displayed through their many opportunities to gain employment on campus and around Waco. Despite the effects of COVID-19 on many organizations, student employees said they are still gaining life-changing knowledge that will no doubt be beneficial in the future.