Returning to 7th Grade, and Other Adventures in Making Money

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As I sit here writing this, I look up from my laptop every so often to see a group of New Haven middle schoolers reading silently to themselves, writing stories on their Chromebooks, and occasionally whispering, trying not to be loud enough for me to hear them. I’m in the 7th and 8th grade Social Studies class at the Wexler-Grant Community School, an elementary school that’s a 5 minute walk from my residential college. (Maps says 11 minutes, but I’ve always been a fast walker, to the chagrin of my short-legged friends.) Every Tuesday and Friday I come here to help out in the classroom, doing whatever the teacher needs me to do. Sometimes, he needs me to do nothing else than be an extra adult presence in the class while the students do independent work, which is allowing me to write this right now. But other times, I work with students one-on-one, helping with assignments and making sure they understand the material. It’s super rewarding, sometimes challenging, and I really enjoy it.

The Wexler-Grant School, where I work two mornings per week.

I’m lucky to have this job through the Yale Office of New Haven and State Affairs, which, among other things, has a parternship with New Haven Public Schools to connect them with Yale students seeking experience in education. As someone who wants to go into some sort of teaching at some point in my career, this job is perfect for me. But it’s only one of student job I’ve ever had. If we’re counting, this is actually my seventh. I can now say that I’ve worked: as a research assistant at the Yale Child Study Center; in a college buttery; as an intern at the Alzheimer´s Disease Research Unit; in my residential college’s Head of College office; and in two capacities for the admissions office: visiting high schools near my hometown on breaks; and now, writing these lovely blogs for you!  

The Pauli Murray College buttery. This isn’t the one I worked in (Murray wasn’t built yet during my first year,) but I couldn’t find any pictures of the Saybrook buttery. I like this one better now anyway.

If you just look at all of my jobs, you wouldn’t be able to pinpoint what I study or plan to do with my life. And I think  that’s what’s great about Yale student jobs: you usually don’t have to have any specific qualifications to take on a job; most departments looking for student assistants are happy to have the extra help and willing to train the right candidate. And as an added bonus, because most students receiving financial aid from Yale qualify for federal work-study, departments have extra incentive to hire, since the government will chip in some of the costs. This gives students on financial aid a leg up in getting hired for many campus jobs, and helps them earn more money.

Every Winter Break, I get to go back to my old high school (pictured above) and present to the current students about Yale as a paid Admissions Ambassador.

While you may worry that working on campus may eat up too much of your time, I’ve found that all of my  jobs have been very flexible. The departments that hire students know that we are students first and employees second, and all of my supervisors have been really understanding about when and can and can’t work, based on my class schedule. In fact, one semester I made the school and work worlds collide when the principal investigator of my lab agreed to be the supervisor of my work in an independent research course. And since the maximum number that students can work on-campus jobs during the semester is 19 per week, I actually have three at the same time right now, working about 5 per week at each. It’s great to get a taste of different kinds of workplaces from day to day; there’s so much room for exploration!

The students are about to finish their work, so I’m going to end this now. Only three more days until payday, and therefore, more online shopping and eating out - prepare yourselves for a forthcoming post reviewing my favorite New Haven restaurants!