One of the deals I made with my parents around my sophomore year was that I was going to be the one responsible for buying all of my textbooks, groceries, clothes and other sorts of daily needs while living at school. This gave me a serious crash-course in budgeting and I soon realized that I was going to need to apply for a job if I was going to make it. Finding an on-campus job was my ideal situation; although I had a car during my junior year, just looking at the gasoline prices was enough to keep me off the roads.
When I started asking around, my suitemate at the time encouraged me to try applying for a front desk assistant (FDA) position. She herself was also an FDA and loved getting the chance to interact with students on a daily basis. I myself was looking for a job where getting homework done was a possibility, but after I applied and was accepted for the position, I found out that being an FDA could be so much more than a free period to read Nietzsche and write research papers. (Of course, I do take my job very seriously—I can’t think of the number of times I’ve harped on sneaky students for trying to pass me without showing their IDs).
Whenever I’m sitting at the desk, I always try to remember to wear a smile across my face when students walk into the residence halls. I was talking to a resident once, and she was telling me how much she appreciated seeing a friendly face when she walked into her home, rather than a surly stare. Developing cordial relationships with residents can always be rewarding, and I don’t mean just getting to try samples of their fudge, cookies and cupcakes when they bake. I’ve had residents come up and talk to me about their classes, stresses and non-existing love lives. I’ve gave them advice and have received plenty of advice back from them as well.
While I can’t exactly write on my resume that being an FDA has given me mentoring experience, building rapport and getting to know students is probably one of my favorite parts of the job, sweet treats aside. If you’re ever looking for a job on-campus, try filling out an application for an FDA position. While it certainly helps put some extra cash in your pocket, I always think a job is what you make of it. I’ve had the chance to interact with some great students sitting at the desk, procrastinating on my assignments but always learning more about their own lives too.