What Work Study Means To Me

ameka menes

I recall receiving my work study questionnaire in the mail. When I got to the part about where I’d like to work I only checked ‘library.’ It was either there or nowhere for me. I reiterated that it wanted the library, the library, the library multiple times. It was going to happen. There was no way they wouldn’t listen to me, right?

Well, listen they did – but perhaps I had an upper hand to getting what I wanted. I’d already worked in two libraries by the time I came to Transy. I was a library aide at my high school [me + lots of young adult books? =) ] and I worked in the children’s sections (kids, juniors, young adult) in our local public library. I may not be the biggest fan of little kids, but I dealt with them all summer anyway and we got along pretty well so it was okay.

I’ll admit, I was nervous they wouldn’t listen. (Who is ‘they’ you ask? Financial aid, I do believe.) I was worried they would situate me in some other position I would be pained to do. But thankfully, nope, they listened. A good take-away from that is if you’re eligible for work study, and you have an idea of what you’d like to do, go ahead and get some experience!

Anyway, I look on the bright side of work study. Sometimes I’m glad I’m poor: I get to work in the library!

So what do I do and how does work study operate? What happens in the first week of the semester (not including August term – you won’t work during August term, so no sweat… just focus on your first class. Actually, I’ll be working in the library all summer – so we’ll be seeing each other.) is you get an email from your position. For me, I got one from the library. It basically said to go fill out work study forms on a particular afternoon in the Campus Center (bring social security card, ID, and a void check ← very important!) and then stop by the library to work out your schedule.

At the library, we tend to take two-hour shifts at a time. However, you can make yours shorter or longer if you choose. When you start out, you’ll have lots of time to study. From there, some of us will take more work-intensive positions around the library. Like me, I work at the circulation desk still, but I also process books. But if you don’t want, you certainly don’t have to. So there’s room to grow, but you can choose how involved you are with the inner workings of the library (unfortunately, I can’t speak for other work study locations. Sorry.)

What happens when you start? First, you get a tour and you meet all the library staff. Then you get instructed on what to do and how to do it. Working the phone is difficult, for one. So we spend plenty of time reviewing that, and it’s perfectly okay if it takes you a while (and lots of dropped and misdirected calls in my case) to get it. After those things, you’re set loose. If you need help, you can ask another student worker or anyone who works in the library. I mean, there are some things I still don’t really know how to do, simply because we almost never need to do them, you know? But we work it out and we try to keep the environment friendly.

If you have further questions, and perhaps would like to ask in person, feel free to see me during August term and I can address anything qualms that you might have in detail. In the meantime, consider what you might like to do, and perhaps think about applying for a summer job in that, or a similar, position if possible.