The Importance of Student Jobs

Back in May of 2013, before I graduated high school, I remember driving up to campus, going into Signers' Hall, and asking the lady at the information desk about how to go about finding a student job. She walked me down the hallway to the Eielson Building, where I was introduced to Jackie, a career counselor at the UAF Office of Career Services. She took the time to drop what she was doing, sit down with me and my resume, and show me the UAF student jobs website. After meeting with her for a few minutes and discussing a few potential departments to apply to, I decided to apply for the student position at Career Services. 

Over the year and a half that I worked there, I learned so much about networking, professional communication, job searching, and resume/cover letter writing. I helped hundreds of students and alumni find student jobs, part time employment off campus to pay for school, and careers beyond graduation. When I started at Career Services, they had 4 full-time staff members and 3 student workers. Shortly after being hired though, they restructured the department and we were eventually reduced to 1 staff, 2 students. This brought the number of job fairs we could host each year down from 9 to 3 or 4. Although downsized, they still provide substantial services to students and alumni. 


In the early years of the university, our first president Charles Bunnell was constantly looking for ways to save the university money. To do this, aside from the president, professors, chief engineer and cooks, every employee was a student worker. The student employees worked at the post office, barber shop, newspaper, library, groundskeeping, and dining. This ensured that students gained hands-on, practical experience, it gave employment options to students in order to help pay for their education, and in the long run saved the university money because much of the wages paid out often came back in tuition and fees. In my personal opinion, this might be the smartest way to help cut back in times of budget crisis. 

The historical tidbit is obtained from Dr. Cole's book The Cornerstone on College Hill. Check out My Favorite UAF History Stories Part 1 and Jason and my vlog where we find the book in the campus library.

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