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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Not Every Student Worker Is in a Daze

Frople Lai

        Many students work part time to pay their tuition and school expenses or to earn extra money. However, I think that working part time is not only to earn money, but also to learn how to manage your time, gain experience, and learn something new. I looked for a part-time job because I wanted to do just these three things, so I was optimistic in my job search. Luckily, my friend recommended me to the director of the Center for Urban and Rural Development, and he was willing to give me a chance.

All photos by the author

        At the Center for Urban and Rural Development, we bid on government projects and work on projects with outside companies. I have an interesting job. One of my tasks is to investigate the land use in a defined area. Sometimes, the area is so large that I have to walk all day in the sun. At the end of the day, I am sunburned, tired, and thirsty. My second task is to sort the data which I have collected and to arrange documents for my colleagues. Then I draw pictures of how the land is used and of the buildings on the land. When I am working on these tasks, I sometimes run into problems that I have no idea how to solve, but my boss and my colleagues are always enthusiastic about helping me and teaching me how to figure out some solutions. These tasks are not so complex, but they require lots of patience and take lots of time. My job is challenging, but I feel happy when I have finished a task.

        I have had two unforgettable experiences since coming to work at the Center for Urban and Rural Development. First, when I went to an industrial area where many companies have watchdogs, two dogs jumped on me and attacked me. When they attacked me, I was so nervous I couldn’t move; my feet were frozen on the spot and I couldn’t call for help. Fortunately, a man came by and drove the dogs away. My second unforgettable experience was when we won a project that we had bid on. This gave me a great sense of accomplishment and encouraged me to work harder.

        I didn’t take this part-time job just for the money; I expected something else, too.  Being an intern has taught me to bravely ask for advice and not pretend that I know everything. I do my best every day to finish my tasks. I have also learned to be a leader; I try to find my coworkers’ strengths and to allocate the work to my partners fairly. Cooperation is important for getting tasks done quickly, and communicating well is essential to cooperation. Learning how to control my emotions is another important skill that I have developed while working part time. Now, I can keep calm and think of the best way to complete my task and not quarrel so much with others.

     Working part time has given me the opportunity to learn many things that I couldn’t learn in a classroom. I encourage you to look for a part-time job; you will learn things far beyond your imagination. However, if you want to get a part-time job at school, you should remember that many other students will be competing for that job, so you will need to apply in advance.

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