The good and bad of work study

Mason Brown sits in a small back closet of the science labs in the Jeffords academic building. She’s surrounded by skeleton models, jars of preserved mystery animals, taxidermy owls and stacks of boxes labeled “preserved cats.”

This is where she sits and cleans glassware for four hours a week earning up to $750 a semester.

Sometimes they let her out of the closet to clean the greenhouse.

A mailroom worker sorts out students mail.
Molly DeMellier/Castleton Spartan

But hey, it’s a job – a work-study job.

There are work-study jobs in virtually every department on campus, over 50 total including the academic computing center, athletics, the business offices, the Fine Arts Center, the library, the mailroom and the natural science department.

Eligible students aren’t placed in jobs by the school. They can choose their own, if they don’t get beat by other students.

But are all work-study jobs created equal?

Kate Auer works in the Fitness Center. Apart from the occasional cleaning duties, Auer sits at the desk, answers the phone, and signs in community members. When she’s not doing that she can do homework.  

Now that sounds a lot better than washing dishes in the company of skeletons and dead cats, doesn’t it?

Colleen Jenkins works in the Fine Arts Center office. Her time consists of selling tickets and answering questions. Sometimes she updates the marque with new events. When there are no tickets to sell or questions to answer, she also does homework.  

But don’t expect to just sign up for a desk job; these coveted positions don’t come easy. You have to know somebody. Auer got the job in the Fitness Center through a connection with her lacrosse coach.

“I’d say I was pretty lucky. A lot of students try to work there,” Auer said.

On the other side of the tracks, you have the event staff at all the sporting events.

You’ve seen them. They’re standing on the sidelines or in the bleachers with those neon yellow shirts, and for the majority of the year they’re freezing their butts off, but at least they get to watch a sports game.  

Senior Daley Crowley used to work sporting events, and according to her, if you were out there freezing your butt off, you had gotten lucky.

“The biggest problem with that job was that so many students are hired for it. We’d get a text saying the sports schedule was posted on a door Glenbrook, and if you didn’t get there in five minutes to sign up, it would be full, and you wouldn’t get any work,” Crowley said.

Then there are the saints who deal with all the campus mail. For about two or three weeks each semester, when all the textbooks are flowing in, the mailroom is straight chaos, said Jeff Prestash.

“Otherwise it’s a very laid back and relaxed job,” Prestash said. Just remember to be nice to them when the package slip for your textbook isn’t in your box yet, he said.

When it comes down to it, a job is a job, and they are all paid the same. But Brown’s job in the science labs is a little more hard-core than a desk job. But don’t fret. Someday soon we’ll all have our dream jobs…right? Until then, students will have to bite the bullet.

Brown said it best.

“I mean, I’m in a back room full of skeletons and bins of dead cats. How much worse can it get?” Brown said.


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