A Proper Thursday Thought: Reflections on Work-Study From a Student

Guest post by Jonathan Kelley

Work-study. Work-study? What does work-study mean? A job on campus, sure, but what else? If you are a pessimist, being a work-study student is an everyday reminder that yes, you are in debt, and that debt goes by the name “OSAP”. But, let’s try to remember that it is Thursday, and pessimism isn’t promoted during the later and more fun days of the week. That being said, on the flipside there’s the optimist; quick to point out that, yes, you do have student debt, but as the days pass and the years run by, if you play your cards right and grow up—as we are all forced to at one point or another—you will put on the big person pants and sort out all your debts and other financial matters. The optimist would also note that you are quite lucky to have a job on campus that fits perfectly around your schedule—and pays well. Those are some important details worth noting. But, let’s move past this humdrum on how the brain can quickly switch from pessimism to optimism; that’s Monday talk.

Instead, let’s talk about the important stuff, the meat and potatoes; the gooey inside of the doughnut that you shouldn’t eat, but you do. The work-study experience, for me, has been one filled with delight and opportunity. Through my many sub-par and minimum wage jobs over the years, I’ve learned that top-notch supervisors, bosses, and co-workers are difficult to come by. You often get the ones that are angry at their job, so in turn, you suffer. Or the ones that simply don’t care enough about their job to inspire you to do well. And then, there is the staff that I was fortunate enough to meet on my first day of work at Ryerson’s Academic Accommodation Support.

Jonathan on the phoneThey are, in a word, outstanding. I have never met a group of professionals who are as dedicated to their work, and are just, overall, quality individuals. Accommodation Support is such an important and crucial piece to the Ryerson support puzzle. The staff members here see a variety of students, in high volumes, from opening to close, each and every single day. And the most amazing part of it all is that they are able to keep smiles on their faces and an upbeat attitude. So, needless to say, coming to work as a work-study student isn’t so much work as it is a pleasant place to assist others to meet their goals and acquire the support they need. It has been, truly, a blessing to be able to work in such an environment. I’m sad that I will no longer be employed here come April, because my studies are finishing, and it’s hard to be a work-study student if you are no longer studying. That being said—I’m still all smiles. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a great opportunity to excel in the workplace, I’ve met some incredible people, and I’ve learned how to be a part of a well-oiled machine.

Let me share a conversation I had with a fellow staff member here at Accommodation Support, Sarah Kloke. She told me that having a great attitude and being who you are, no matter where you are, is key. If you’re meant to be on a sailboat cruising the seas with a margarita, but you’re not there yet, don’t let the four walls that surround you in your office get you down.

[blockquote source=”Sarah Kloke, Student Accommodation Facilitator”]Be you, always, no matter where and no matter what you are doing.[/blockquote]

This is a key component to making sure that you get just enough out of each and every single day that you work, study, play, travel, or have a fight with your sibling over who deserves to eat the last piece of chocolate cake. Life is a series of baby-steps. Never forget to work on yourself; do this every day. Follow your feet. Move forward. Do your best to remember that there is so much good out there to be had, and you are more than welcome to have some of it. Holding this work-study position has been my little chunk of good; and it’s been a slice.

So, if you need a job on campus, and you happen to be involved with OSAP, don’t be shy to check out the work-study job positions. You could end up being more than just satisfied with a paycheque. You may find that the compensation from a great job is about the wisdom it provides, too.

And that, dear reader, is a proper Thursday thought.