Work Study at Furman University

By: Caitlin Kirby

Money becomes somewhat of a precious matter during your time as a college student, evident by the stereotypical cup of ramen dinners and the Cookout runs you’ll have during your time here. I knew coming to college that I would spend some of my time working in order to give myself extra money.  Furman has been a great place for me to balance both my work study hours as well as the time I need for class, homework, and socialization.

I began my work study experience by working at the Paddock, an on-campus restaurant. There, I became a part-time food-runner, taking food plates to customers and cleaning the tables after them. This job was important to me because I was able to begin networking through the faculty of Furman’s food industry. Alongside meeting other students who came to the restaurant, I also became close friends with my colleagues back in the kitchen, sometimes having deeper conversations with them than I would with my friends back home. The staff there were some of the friendliest and hard-working people I have met and despite the fact that I do not hold this position anymore, I still stumble across them as I get food for myself on campus. I always can tell they still care deeply about my success as a student and as a person.

With the onset of the pandemic, the Paddock unfortunately closed and I came back junior year searching for a work position. However, after I reached out to my past co-workers, I was quickly set up with a work-study job at the Moe’s grill on campus, right next door to where I had previously worked. While some of the co-workers had changed and the details of the job were slightly different, I found that I had the same experience here as I did at the Paddock. Throughout training, I became close with the individuals around me and was able to expand my networking into the other branches of the Paladen. While the job was difficult, the relationships I built here were strong and often when I came in after hours to grab dinner for myself, they would give it to me for free because of my connections with the workers in the back.

Participating in work study is very doable during your time at Furman. Instead of giving you a set time to come to work, you are able to mold your work schedule around what fits best for you, meaning that work never interferes with class, homework, or your social life. While I definitely could have had more hours, I made sure to never give myself more than ten so that I was never overwhelmed. For me, I made sure to prioritize class and homework over anything else while building my work schedule, the role of a student being more important than the role of an employee during my time here.

Work study has been a large part of my time at Furman and while I have spent a decent amount of my time here working, I have also had plenty of time to be successful in my classes and engage in extracurricular activities outside of the classroom. Networking through my jobs has allowed me to make connections across this campus in ways I could have never imagined and has given me resources I would not have had access to as a normal student here. If I could leave you with one piece of advice, it would be to plan and stay organized. Having a job during college may seem daunting but it can easily be done through time management. The extra money as a result can also be put into adventures beyond Furman’s campus that create lasting memories with the friends you make.

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