Oberlin Blogs

The Student Employment Spectacular

May 29, 2022

Megan McLaughlin ’22

I don’t quite know how, but in my time as a student I have worked a lot of campus jobs. Thirteen, to be exact. Thirteen in five years, with my first one starting orientation week and my last one starting two months ago. I already covered some of these jobs in my blog post about tutoring, but there are plenty more that are worth mentioning; some jobs have lasted longer than others, but all of them were unique and taught me something. Let’s get into it, in reverse chronological order for sentimental effect.

 

8. Senior Staff Writer, The Oberlin Review

Just this semester, The Oberlin Review added a Conservatory section to the already existing News, Opinions, Sports, and other sections. After I finished my recital in March, I decided that I wanted something to fill some time in my final days. I didn’t realize this position would be paid, but life is full of nice surprises. Writing for the Review took me back to my days of high school newspaper, but it was really nice to feel like I was a part of something and to write about some things I really care about. Read my favorite article I wrote here. I liked writing for the Review a lot and I wish I’d started sooner than my last two months of college.

7. Senior Intern, Conservatory Office of Admissions

This job involves a lot of emailing and scheduling, but I’ve really enjoyed it being a part of this year, and helping me dip my toes into higher education a bit more before I go to graduate school. A senior Student Ambassador is chosen to do this position every year, so I’ve stopped doing as many tours and have picked up a lot more administrative responsibilities. One of my favorite things I’ve done with this position is redo how Student Ambassadors get trained, which is something I didn’t feel quite prepared for when I first started giving tours. I’m glad that I got to make this position my own and leave something meaningful behind after I leave.

6. Student Admissions Ambassador, Conservatory Office of Admissions

I started working in the Conservatory Admissions Office my third year. This job involves doing information sessions and giving tours to prospective students and their families, which was really fun. It was nice seeing students with all sorts of different interests and answering all sorts of questions about Oberlin and applying to college in general. I feel like my college search was really all over the place, so it felt nice to help people along their journeys. I also worked one year of in-person auditions before COVID hit, which was really special; quite frequently, auditions are the only time some students can see Oberlin’s campus, and the energy of a bunch of auditioning seniors in the same building is like nothing else.

5. Conducting Lab

This job kind of goes semester by semester, so I only did it the spring of my sophomore year. The Conservatory offers conducting classes, and this job involved playing pieces so the students in the class could practice conducting real musicians. It was fun to work with students and see their professor give them feedback; my experiences with conductors have just been playing in an ensemble that they conduct, so it was interesting to see the student conductors get feedback, and hear pedagogy on how to conduct well. 

4. Overnight Host, Office of Admissions

Another brief but memorable position— I only ever hosted two prospective students, but I remember those two days vividly. This job involved picking up a prospective student from the Admissions Office, getting them set up in my dorm, and then either letting them go out on their own and enjoy the All Roads Lead to Oberlin events or letting them tag along with what I was doing the rest of the day. I had a good time hanging out with the students I hosted, and one of them ended up at Oberlin, so I have a 50% success rate.

3. Paint Crew Member, Theater Department

I did this job for a very short amount of time because it just didn’t work out with my class schedule, but it was certainly fun while it lasted. I did paint crew in high school for shows my school put on, and I wanted to continue it in college because I liked it a lot. To my surprise, it was a paid job! I just showed up and painted things, which is as fun as it sounds.

2. Student Blogger, Office of Communications

So meta. This was the second job I started when I got here, sometime in October. This job is kind of wild because I write about sort of whatever I want whenever I want and I get paid for it. Sometimes it was hard to write blog posts when I had other things to do that were time-sensitive, whereas blog posts could happen at my own pace. It’s also strange putting an unedited piece of writing out into the world; when I turn assignments in for class, very few people see them, but when I publish blog posts, they are on the internet in perpetuity. It’s hard to write the perfect piece, and the trick I’ve learned is that nothing is perfect and I am unwilling to read anything I publish after it gets published. 

I don’t remember why I said I wanted to be a blogger when I applied for this job, but I can say with certainty that people read my posts and at least sometimes find them helpful. One of my happiest memories of my undergrad experience was right after my Junior Recital. The recital started really late (like 17 minutes) because the livestream wasn’t working, and I didn’t want to go on until it got fixed. After the recital, I went out to the hall where all of my friends were waiting to hug me and congratulate me, and met someone who I didn’t recognize partway through the line. They said something to the effect of “you don’t know me, but your blog on not making friends helped me a lot.” And then we hugged, and then I cried. If you’re reading this, I’m sorry I didn’t ask your name— you caught me by surprise, but what you said meant the world to me. Thanks for coming to my recital even though it started really late, and I’m glad something I wrote helped. I hope you’re doing well.

1. Student Circulation Assistant, Conservatory Library

This was my very first job in college and I’m really happy that I’ll be doing it in my last days at Oberlin. The summer before my first year, I applied to work in the Conservatory Library, and I started my training shortly after arriving on campus. I liked working with books and other materials, and I liked helping patrons find items and solve some tricky questions. This job became a part of my regular routine in a way no other job did, and I enjoyed the consistency of knowing that no matter what classes I was taking where on campus, I would always spend 6-8 hours every week at the circ desk.

I love this job for lots of reasons, but my favorite part  is the people. I have great coworkers, and I have absolutely amazing supervisors. I appreciate them and they appreciate me, and I think that’s really special. I feel a sense of community at this job that’s much closer than other communities I’ve been a part of on campus, which is why this job and this library are some of the things I’ll miss the most when I leave. Pictured below is me and some of the other graduating seniors from the library who received stoles acknowledging our time in the library to wear at graduation. No piece of fabric means more to me than this one.

Megan stands between two other people in the middle of Wilder Bowl on a sunny day. All three individuals are wearing gold sashes around their shoulders that read "Oberlin College Libraries" on one side and "Metcalf Honoree" on the other. They are smiling and having a great time!!
Corley Friesen-Johnson '22 left, Harper Ross '22 right. My parting words for this post is please get the Con Library a new printer.

 

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