I have always wanted to work towards my independence and had been desperately trying to negotiate a deal to let my parents convince me to earn some money for myself. Before I started my freshman year, my parents encouraged me to grab the opportunity with both hands, BUT, I was under clear instructions from my parents to abide by two key guidelines in my university journey- not to join a sorority, and not to work in my first year.
However, it was by total accident that I got my first job, as a facility supervisor at ASU’s on-campus gym, the SDFC. During the days before I was due to move into my dorm at Manzanita Hall, I gave my mom a little tour around my new campus and we ended up at the SDFC, a facility which I had been particularly impressed by during orientation. It’s definitely true my mom shared in my awe, as she exclaimed about the club cricket team and I rolled my eyes at her enthusiasm. Shortly afterwards I became aware of an SDFC staff member introducing himself to my mom- Dustin, my future boss-in-chief, who started telling my mom about the massive plethora of organizations on campus, and I laugh to think that I actually was getting a little bored, and even impatient, wanting to move on and experience the rest of campus. As we were leaving, Dustin came up to me and casually offered: “Hey Tali, any chance you were looking for a job?” I gave my mother a cheeky smile and was interviewing two days later. Dustin is now someone who I look up to massively and I am incredibly grateful for the chance he took me.
Fast forward two months, and I am on shift with some of the most incredible, fun-loving coworkers also dressed in black leggings or pants, and maroon polo shirts. I met international students from India and Puerto Rico and Canada and Mexico, who were all also working to build their lives away from home. The three or six-hour shifts gossiping about our love lives and giggling at the gym stereotypes are memories that highlight my freshman year, and my closest friends are my fellow student employees at the gym. At the SDFC I found my community, people with whom I had something in common, and a healthy way to pursue my aspirations without working myself into the ground.
Although it is true that not many workplaces have an environment as nurturing as ASU’s Sun Devil Wellness Complex, I would highly recommend investigating your favourite places on campus and simply asking them if they are hiring. On campus organizations understand when you are having a stress sandwich for every meal and drinking 6 cups of coffee before 2pm just to get through that midterm, and ultimately, every student organization exists to serve students, both those they employ, and their patrons.
I am certain my parents will now agree that getting a job on campus was one of the best ways that I could assimilate into my new university lifestyle. It helped me have a place to go when the library was frustrating me and the dorm was suffocating me. And most importantly, it helped me feel good about pursuing my new identity as a young adult, and I feel incredible appreciation to all those involved in getting me my first job in the USA.
By Tali Sulcas