Students share their experiences with on- and off-campus jobs

Many students who want a job close to campus apply to be a community leader in one of the dorms at Baylor. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Audrey Patterson | Reporter

In 2020, over 70% of college students over the past 25 years had been working while enrolled in school, according to a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

According to Lexi English, a career success professional at the Baylor Career Center, students who work 20 hours a week or less perform better in their classes and organizations, so it’s essential to stay within the parameter.

Houston junior Megan Forshee is currently in her second year as a community leader at University Parks Apartments. She said in her job, she has definitely worked up to 20 hours.

“It’s a pretty demanding job,” Forshee said. “I’ve had a girl crying on a Saturday night before. I’ve had residents that I’ve sat with them in roommate agreements for up to three hours on a Thursday night. It’s very tough because you’re kind of on-call all the time to a certain extent, in the way that you have to learn how to set boundaries in this job because you live where you work.”

Forshee also said she feels called to serve and was motivated by her own freshman experience to be like an older sister toward those away from home.

“I feel like I’ve been very blessed to have good leadership here at University Parks and CL&L and a great staff that has become some of my closest friends,” Forshee said. “I know a lot of people who are motivated to be a CL that are looking for a community, and I think your staff can become your community. On the flip side, there have definitely been really tough weeks, like I’ll have a test the next day, and I’m up till 3 writing a report because something happened.”

Wylie junior Jasmine Ridge currently works at Nightlight Donuts & Coffee in Woodway, Texas. Ridge said her personal experience working at Nightlight has been pleasant.

“Nightlight holds everyone to a certain standard when it comes to getting along with each other,” Ridge said. “Their screening process when they do interviews is really good, so everyone that ends up working there has really good attitudes, and everyone gets along well and jokes around with each other, so shifts end up being a lot of fun.”

Ridge said she is from a single-parent household, with an expectation that she handles some of her expenses.

“Sometimes it makes life kind of hectic, especially right now because there’s Sing,” Ridge said. “My job makes me have to be really good about time management and planning out when I’m going to work on things and making sure I get all my assignments done and not starting the night before if it’s a long-term thing.”

Forshee said besides the perks of dining hall access, what makes being a CL worth it is the built-in community.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize, they go from their freshman year and you can have a really strong community in your dorm, and all of the sudden you move out and you’re alone,” Forshee said. “It’s a very big difference from seeing your friends every day in the hall and the lobby to now having to figure out how to intentionally put time into it.”

Ridge said she feels more plugged in with the Waco community due to her off-campus job.

“I feel like it gets you a little outside of just Baylor or just school,” Ridge said. “You meet some people who aren’t associated with Baylor, which I think is cool. Some people that work there just live in Waco.”

Ridge said a downside to working off campus is accounting for driving time.

“It’s not like I’ll just walk out my door, and [my job is] right there,” Ridge said.

Forshee said being a community leader is draining.

“It was really hard for CLs last year because you walk into the hall and see three students without masks — and because of Baylor protocol, you had to wear a mask — so they had to be the bad guy in that situation,” Forshee said. “They don’t want to do that. You know, they just got home, they’re tired. I think all of Baylor’s policies have value, but it is a lot to have in the back of your head all the time.”

Both Forshee and Ridge said they enjoy their jobs and have found that the friendships they’ve formed there are the most valuable part of them.

“I feel very connected to the Baylor community because of being a CL,” Forshee said. “I feel very connected to Baylor’s resources. As part of my CL training, you have to know how to help other people and point them to the right resources. So that’s really a big perk of being on campus: being connected to the Baylor spirit and the Baylor family of wanting to help.”