Part-time jobs may be both a curse and a blessing for struggling college students who are strapped for cash and time.
However, balancing a part-time job with school doesn't have to be the drag that many students associate with working. In fact, some jobs may serve as an enjoyable supplement in terms of income and experience.
Brandon Freeland, a senior biomedical sciences major and pharmacology and toxicology minor, officiates hockey games when he has the free time for an extra source of income and enjoyment.
"The scheduling is very flexible. I can officiate games when I want to officiate games," Freeland said. "It's easy to work around your academic schedule. There's a lot of youth games on the weekends when you don't have classes."
The pay depends on the number and level of the games officiated and ranges from $20 to $40 per game. This amount increases to $90 and above when officials begin to work higher-level games. Becoming an official requires some training, however.
"There's an all-day seminar that usually starts at seven or eight in the morning and goes until four or five once a year. There's a classroom session and an ice session as well," Freeland said.
For Freeland, officiating hockey games is more than a source of revenue. As a former hockey player who doesn't get the opportunity to play as much as he would like, working hockey games is an outlet for him to express his appreciation for the game.
"There's that teaching aspect, not so much with the men's league, but with youths. You're out there promoting the game, allowing it to be played the way it's supposed to be played," Freeland said.
Additionally, college-aged students frequently work at restaurants or bars. That's how Ian Rifkin, a junior marketing major, makes ends meet. As a bouncer at Average Joe's, a bar in Amherst, Rifkin mans the door and denies entrance to anyone under the age of 21 or those without proper identification. He also keeps his eye on the bar to ensure no one oversteps their boundary or causes trouble.
"I have thrown a lot of people out. Usually it's because they are too drunk and bothering other patrons or the bartenders. Also, for using fake IDs, and fighting," Rifkin said. "People get too drunk all the time, and there are always annoying people, but unless they are directly threatening or disturbing the environment in the bar, annoying people will continue to stick around."
During one of his more physical experiences, Rifkin was forced to kick out a drunken man that was harassing a female bartender.
"He refused to leave the parking lot and started attacking other patrons outside, causing a scene, so I had to step in. He attacked me, I grabbed him, and threw him off the property before calling the police," Rifkin said.
Rifkin doesn't leave the bar until the early hours of the morning until the last drunken person finally stumbles his way out. But, even then, he sometimes stays a little longer to help clean up and prepare Average Joe's for when it opens up again in just a few hours.
"Sometimes it's difficult waking up for an 8 a.m. class when I got out of work at 4 or 5 [a.m.] the night before, but it usually isn't as bad as it seems. On average, I get out between 3 and 3:30 a.m. during the school week," Rifkin said.
Unfortunately, some jobs don't contribute to a professional resume, which may be frustrating for students looking to enter professional positions upon graduation. However, the Career Services department at the University of Buffalo may be able to assist with this problem.
"We actually are a central place where students can go online through the BullsEye system and take a look at part-time job opportunities that are posted," said Arlene Kaukus, the director of career services. "Those include not only on-campus jobs, but off-campus jobs as well that we have uncovered by virtue of our work with the employer community."
In addition to these jobs, Career Services will be organizing an internship program directed toward sophomores in the near future.
"We've got an inventory about what other academic departments are offering... we're really keen on encouraging our students to explore these opportunities," Kaukus said. "We can also assist students in being job-search ready by making their resumes outstanding, by helping develop the confidence to present themselves professionally in an interview, as well as a number of other skill-building workshops."
According to Kaukus, holding a job has a number of benefits, including building a network of contacts that may be outside of your academic field of study. Even if unrelated to future career plans, these people may serve as references for later jobs or internships.
"[Holding a job] creates an opportunity for you to really sharpen your skills in a number of areas," Kaukus said. "I think those students that choose to work gain great skill development in time management and customer service. They enhance their communication skills, all of which are critical for future employment in your field of choice."
Jeffrey Booth, a sophomore computer science major at UB, works with computers as a part-time job. However, these are not just your average computers.
Booth fixes network problems around his Air National Guard base where he works part-time while also serving as a member of the Air National Guard. Booth does that while attending school full-time.
"For my job, I get paid to set up all the networking equipment like routers, switches, computers and other computer equipment so that everyone on the base is able to use the computers and do their jobs," Booth said.
Booth's base is in his hometown of Hamburg, N.Y. When he is back for the weekends, Booth participates in National Guard training while also working on computer equipment that isn't working. He is one of three people his age in his group who also juggle working part-time and school simultaneously.
While it isn't an ordinary job, it has several advantages for Booth, who hopes to one day become an officer in either the Air Force or the U.S Marine Corps.
"It's a lot harder than most part-time jobs, and experience and schooling is needed," Booth said.
It is perhaps for this reason that the Guard will assist Booth in paying off his college tuition. In exchange for Booth's hard work and dedication, and in addition to the $31 he already makes an hour, the Air National Guard will also assist Booth in finding a job upon graduation due to the experience in his career field.
For assistance in finding a part-time summer job, Career Services will be holding a fair on Thursday, March 24 in the Student Union lobby from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Harb.