Looking for campus jobs early will pay off

The variety of gigs around campus makes it worthwhile to explore employment possibilities.

By Chris Boots

Adding a job to a Chicago workload may seem daunting at first, but the variety of gigs around campus makes it worthwhile to explore employment possibilities.

If the school granted you work-study in your financial aid package, be sure to check out what opportunities are available. Work-study jobs all require 15 hours or fewer a week, and many of them, such as working a checkout shelf at the Regenstein Library, allow you to do school work during downtime. (Many University-paid jobs are available to non-work-study students as well.) Jobs available through the school include gaining experience as a research assistant in a biology lab, working as an assistant in the dean of students’ office, or manning the ticket booth at Court Theatre.

For those of you who are looking for a less serious venture in employment, nothing beats getting paid to swipe in visitors during a dead-quiet Saturday afternoon at Henry Crown Field House (read: getting paid to watch DVDs on a laptop and occasionally glancing upward to take a gym rat’s ID card). All work-study listings are posted at studentemployment.uchicago.edu.

If the lack of work-study is just one of the grievances you have with your financial aid package, don’t despair: Plenty of on-campus positions are open to anyone. Student-run coffee shops are called student-run for a reason, so see if Hallowed Grounds, Cobb Coffee Shop, or Ex Libris is hiring. The rush between morning classes might be intense, but you’ll spend most of your day chatting with customers, finishing up Sosc readings, or DJing. Above all, you get the feel-good benefit of supporting an independent, student-run institution. Other student jobs include working the Pub at Ida Noyes, lifeguarding the Myers-McLoraine pool at Ratner, or teaching swim lessons at the Lab School. The student employment website above lists all these non-work-study positions as well.

Looking for a quick buck without a real commitment? Resident Heads and other Hyde Park grad students are always in need of babysitters. Check out marketplace.uchicago.edu for babysitting requests. Sign up for the Study Pool list host (study-pool@listhost.uchicago.edu) to be notified of all the chances to be a paid guinea pig around campus. Earn a fistful of ones for swinging by the GSB to take a quick 15-minute survey, get $10 for a speech pattern study in the linguistics department, or, for the truly adventurous, the U of C Hospitals and the Medical School are always willing to dish out hundreds of dollars for sleep studies, drug tests, and the like.

Some positions around campus offer perks but no pay. Picking up a weekly shift taking tickets or running a projector at Doc Films in Ida Noyes will get you free movie passes, while volunteering to help work Summer Breeze with the Major Activities Board will get you a free T-shirt and maybe even some backstage face time with The Roots.