Category: Professional Preparation

Full-time work, full-time student?

As of recent, I hold many feelings of uneasiness or dissonance whenever I think about my last year at Elmhurst College. Why? Well… it has hardly anything to do with it being my last year at Elmhurst. These feelings all stem from my unknown work schedule. Currently, I am employed at several different jobs, so I have a couple of different options for the fall. However, something inside me is not letting me settle for these jobs. They are all part-time jobs I have had before. I guess what’s keeping me from committing to them is that I want something that pays more and will be closer to my career field. A large part of me wants to not worry about jobs and income and instead focus solely on my studies at Elmhurst… but an even larger part of me wants to continue to develop professionally and not hold off just because I am in school. With that being said, do I keep my Fall schedule as planned with only night classes and seek a full-time Mon-Fri, 9-5 job? Or, do I choose classes I am most interested in and find any type of job that will fit that class schedule? There are pros and cons to each option.


I am most drawn to finding full-time work because I am at a place right now that my school schedule can finally allow for me to obtain more professional experience that has been previously limited. Not only will it be at least another year of experience under my belt, but I will have a sufficient income- salaried even- to afford the study abroad I want to go on, my mini vacation to Las Vegas, a conference to California, and a conference to Arizona, and an alternative spring break trip with Habitat for Humanity, while at the same time paying off my car/insurance/gas. Plus, working a full-time job will get me paid vacation time so I do not have to worry about making ends meet while travelling. Ideally, I would like to move out again as well, because my current living situation is not conducive for many of my important needs. On top of that, once my car is paid off, I plan to trade it in for a vehicle that does not get 18 mpg! Because let me tell you… commuting with that is $$$$$$. Also, I can potentially find myself at an amazing company that could potentially help pay for grad school… that’s kind of more important that any of the previously mentioned items.


With all of these incredible goals in mind it is hard to let myself be at ease with my current working situation. However, as I think about what my actual weekly schedule will look like and consider everything I will be missing out on… it is hard to commit to full-time work as well! I would not be able to participate in and experience all those daytime on-campus events. If I wanted to continue Active Minds, I would need to hold the meetings at night. I will not make as many connections and see all of my friends during the day as I had this year. I will be forced to do my homework on the weekend, leaving virtually no free time. I really need to think about- not what I want as far as reaching my goals- but realistically consider what I need to remain stress-free throughout the year. Some of those needs include: staying involved, seeing friends, having free time to go out and enjoy life, at least 5 hours every week to just stay up to date with my own life (emails, chores, errands, etc.). Would I be sacrificing these needs? Or would I be able to maintain some sort of balance? I would enjoy a set schedule… something I have rarely had in my life due to changing work hours… so I know a balance would be easier to find. Would I end up spending more money just because I am making more money?


Conclusion: I might as well apply for some of these jobs and see if I get them… and if I do, why not try it out? And after typing all of this out… I am definitely going to consult my job coaches on this dilemma….


I do not need to complete an internship in order to graduate. For my major, Urban Studies, I am instead going to complete a Study Abroad opportunity. Because I am not getting college credit for an internship, I wanted to find one that was paid. Before I could do that, I realized I would have to quit some of my jobs first. I had been working with a non-profit organization for most of the semester in order to set something up. As it was nearing May, I was getting pretty nervous about finding paid internships over the summer. I reached out to a connection I had made earlier in the year to see if there was anything available. To my surprise, she emailed me back almost instantly asking me to start an internship she had been planning on creating. I went in for an “interview” and she ended up accepting me on the spot. No need for an application or even a follow up. However, it almost two months to get the position approved by the appropriate people. In the meantime, I had casually mentioned that I landed this internship with another connection I had, and inquired about a posting I saw her make asking for an intern in her office. I was not as interested because I assumed it was for high school students. Again, to my surprise, she turned around and emailed me within hours offering me a paid internship for the summer. I had to take it. Before I knew it, I had three internships and a crazy busy schedule for the summer (on top of other jobs and involvement). After weighing my options, I decided to stick with the two internships I was handed pretty much on the spot.


I could not be happier with my decision. My advice to others? ALWAYS make connections and ALWAYS show your best self. These individuals recognized my true potential and saw that I would be a great asset to their team. One internship is through a chamber of commerce where I am overseeing a business retention and expansion survey which I conduct with CEO’s, CFO’s, and COO’s on businesses in the town. At my other internship I am cross-training in every department of the township and overseeing a records and retention archiving project where I get to see important documents dating back to the early 1900s. Of course I do also have to perform more tedious tasks such as copying, filing, phone calls, and stuffing envelopes, but I understand the importance of these tasks in order to carry out the mission of the organization. Thankfully I chose to be with organizations that appreciate all of my efforts and trust me to oversee such important projects. Not only are these internships provide tons of learning opportunities, but they also provide incredible future growth. I can not wait to see what the fall looks like!