New students navigate on-campus job hunt

Mo Dow, Campus Life Reporter

The academic year has started picking up steam already, and many first-year students are struggling to strike a balance between their class work and their on-campus jobs. However, other students are still trying to make their way through the job application process, adding another layer of stress to their already busy schedules. 

Not everyone has had too difficult a time finding on campus jobs this semester: Kellen Flynn is a first-year working in the Harper Joy Theatre scene shop. He says all it took was a Handshake application and a few days of waiting before he was able to start work. However, Flynn says that not all of his friends have had the same experience.

“Most of my friends who applied either haven’t heard back, or the deadlines were confusing, things like that. It’s probably a weird story in that it was pretty straight forward for me. I’ve heard it was pretty confusing for some people,” Flynn said.

Like Flynn said, not everyone has had such an easy time getting an on-campus job. Terence Mahtlani is another first-year at Whitman and has found the process of job application a little stressful. He is currently working at Cleveland, but the pressure of searching for a job left his semester off to a slightly rocky start.

“It’s been a little intimidating… I didn’t have anything on my resume, and the waiting time was too long for me. I really needed a job, and it made me anxious, I would like to know,” Mahtlami said.

Mahtlani also echoed Flynn’s sentiment and said he’s spoken with fellow students who were made anxious by long waits for replies after submitting job applications. As the semester begins in full force, the added pressure of waiting for a response to a job application can be an undue burden on some students who need the money.

Although first-years have had a spotlight on their experience, sophomores have had their own struggles with the new semester. Despite having some time at Whitman, this is the first in-person semester for many in the class of 2024.  Nomin Batsukh is one such sophomore, and while the new semester has brought its own challenges, the return to in-person instruction and the chance to work on campus has been a very positive shift.

“I, strategically I mean, took a few less classes this semester, since it is my first semester in-person… For me, being on campus is such a relief. Last year I took full online courses, and it was really distant and not engaging. Studying for classes and exams wasn’t really studying,” Batsukh said.

Although it was a welcome shift, Batsukh still doesn’t feel completely integrated as a sophomore and doesn’t feel like she has had all the opportunities needed to adjust to campus life.

“I think there are resources that give information for resumes and cover letters, but there is room to be improved. I feel like I’m a first-year student,” Batsukh said.

Although student experience varies significantly, there are some clear through lines. As Whitman campus kicks back into high gear, with the largest first-year class in the college’s history and many sophomores living on campus for the first time, the strain on institutional resources is likewise placing new burdens on the student body itself. How Whitman College will move forward through these new and emerging problems remains to be seen. Despite the hurdles, many students and staff are hopeful that things will come into balance as the college begins to settle into a new normal.