Cashing in on campus: Student jobs

With a number of positions available on campus for students wishing to work alongside their degree, Alice Whelan speaks to students from the Alumni Office, the SU shop, and the Accommodation Office, and to a Trinity tour guide

For those students who wish to work alongside their studies, Trinity offers a select number of  jobs on campus throughout the academic year, most of which are tailored to the needs of students. To understand how these jobs work and what the application process entails, Trinity Life has spoken to some of the students currently working in these positions.

 

Alumni Office

 

“On any given shift there are at least twenty other students in the office also working, and there’s always craic to be had. The supervisors are approachable and always happy to help with any queries we come across.”

 

Working in the Alumni Office consists of three-hour shifts throughout which you must phone the alumni of Trinity and speak to them about the Alumni Appeal. One student in this position, SF student Mary Hartnett, outlined the steps involved in making these calls. The callers “have a chat with an alumnus as we update their details, talk to them about their time in Trinity, let them know about the benefits and services they can avail of, and lastly, inform them about the Alumni Appeal. [We then] ask them to consider giving a gift to the Appeal.” The Alumni Appeal “raises funds for TAP, Bridge 21, academic and scientific research, and many other areas in Trinity which are underfunded.”

 

Hartnett openly admitted to enjoying her work in the Alumni Office, and argued that it is particularly suited to those who are more outgoing, especially for someone who may identify as “a chatty person who enjoys speaking to people you’ve never talked to before.” Communication skills are important for this role, as Hartnett commented that “having a good ‘phone voice’ is a plus, and having the confidence to carry out a call to a complete stranger helps however, the confidence comes with practice.”

 

The social aspect of  this job is one of its highlights: “You get to talk to people of all ages and backgrounds”, while also hearing about the college experiences of alumni. The work place itself is also described as a pleasant environment: “On any given shift there are at least twenty other students in the office also working, and there’s always craic to be had. The supervisors are approachable and always happy to help with any queries we come across.”

 

A disadvantage, however, can be the difficulty that ensues when you catch alumni at a bad time, or when there is no answer to all your phone calls. “Listening to voicemail after voicemail makes for a long three hours”. However, when asked whether she would recommend this job, Hartnett said: “it’s an ideal job, the pay is good as are the hours.”It’s also quite flexible, and she argues it doesn’t impact her college work. Availability for shifts is determined by a Doodle poll every few weeks, and “if you need to change a shift that you are put down to work we have a Facebook page where we can ask the other callers to cover us.”

 

Information on the application process for working in the Alumni Office is sent out by email, and the positions are open to all students, including postgraduates. Hartnett explained that she filled out a form online, was then invited to a group interview, and following that got through to the final round which consisted of a mock telephone call: “I was given a script and instructions and had to ring a number and ultimately carry out what I do as part of my job now”. After this stage, Hartnett was emailed a few days later and was formally offered the job.

 

The Students’ Union Shop

“In comparison to other jobs I’ve worked in its far more flexible. Having always worked in big chains like Smyth’s Toys, Dunnes Stores and Boots, I know what it’s like to stick to a rigid roster with little to no leniency from strict and unfriendly managers.”

 

A job in the SU Shop offers students the chance to work in both House 6 and the Hamilton. For Trinity student Ciarán Wadd, an enjoyable aspect of the work is that it is at the core of College life, allowing you to become familiar with a great range of students. “Since beginning the job I’ve started recognising faces of those who work on campus. Whether it’s staff in the Buttery, Estates and Facilities or the Secretary’s Office I find myself saying ‘hello’ to far more than just students now. There’s also students who say ‘hello’ to you whilst on campus, but they don’t know where they know you from or how.”

 

Like all positions, the job does have some disadvantages, as Wadd believes that the work can be slow at certain times. “Sometimes I find that time can drag a little, especially when all the staff have left after 5.30pm.” Another aspect that can hinder a worker’s experience is that customers can be unfriendly. “I also don’t like customers who don’t even try to talk to you it’s not a big anonymous supermarket, and it’s not difficult to just say ‘hello’.”

 

However, the advantages far outweigh this, particularly as the job is so flexible in comparison to other part-time jobs students may have. “In comparison to other jobs I’ve worked in its far more flexible. Having always worked in big chains like Smyth’s Toys, Dunnes Stores and Boots, I know what it’s like to stick to a rigid roster with little to no leniency from strict and unfriendly managers.”

 

The fact that the job is a part of College life and the SU makes it a welcome change from working in impersonal bigger stores: “It’s nice to be part of a personalised service serving our own college. The staff numbers are low enough so everyone knows each other and that in itself makes it a far nicer job than working in chains.”

 

Accommodation Office

 

“you are given free accommodation in Trinity for the whole summer, and you live with the other students that you work with.”

 

If you want to work in Trinity during the summer months, there are full-time positions available in the Accommodation Office which involve helping to run College’s tourist accommodation during the summer. There are two types of jobs available to students, namely receptionist and attendant positions.

 

A significant perk of this job, identified by Rachel Ní Bhrádaigh, is that “you are given free accommodation in Trinity for the whole summer, and you live with the other students that you work with.” This would be particularly advantageous to students from outside Dublin who wish to remain here outside of term. It also allows for a great social experience with the other employees: “We had such a brilliant team last summer and we all became really good friends.”

 

The job does have difficult aspects, and is not quite as straightforward as many part-time jobs. “There a lot of skills needed to work in the accommodation office and it can be a very challenging job.” It requires someone well-equipped to multitask and deal with dissatisfied guests. “It is extremely fast-paced and you have to deal with issues such as overbooking, dealing with complaints and communicating with guests who have limited English.” It is also full-time, which can be demanding. It lacks flexibility in that “you have to be available to work full-time hours for the duration of the summer, and you have to work shift work so you will either be starting very early in the morning or finishing very late at night”.

 

Difficulties can also arise because you are working so closely with the friends you have made living and working there. “Sometimes it can be difficult to remember the need to maintain a level of professionalism when you are working with people that you know so well.” Though this is probably a good complaint to have, an upshot of jobs within Trinity is that you have common ground with your co-workers, who can fast become good friends

 

Ní Bhrádaigh had no hesitations recommending this job to other students. “I would 100% recommend anyone who is outgoing and likes working with people to apply for this job, I really enjoyed the experience and made some great friends through the job”. The application process involves filling out a form which asks for your relevant experience, and then being invited for interview if you are successful in the first round. The application is open to all students.

 

Trinity Tours

 

“I’m never further than a few minutes away from most of my friends on breaks and lunch.”

 

Giving the official Trinity Tours is another job open to students wishing to earn some money from the comfort of their own campus, learning about Trinity’s history at the same time. The work involves giving tours to some of the many tourists gracing College grounds, which usually last 35 minutes. As Phil President Matthew Nuding explains, you are also expected to sell tickets for tours when you’re not giving one. A familiar sight to most students, the desk from which these student tour guides work is located by Front Arch.

 

Nuding comments that the work is both engaging and convenient as it offers the chance to delve deeper into the campus’s history: “[It] has such an interesting history, which I think Trinity students often forget when we’re walking across Front Square in a rush to get to a lecture.”

 

Compared to the jobs Nuding has had outside Trinity, he states that working in College is much more accessible and easier to manage alongside society and course commitments: “Because we are all students, our boss is understanding when we have an essay deadline coming up or a big society event that we need time off for. I’ve always felt that jobs outside Trinity are far less understanding of student commitments in this way.”

 

The job appears ideal, particularly if you live on campus, and another added bonus of the position’s proximity is that you are less likely to miss out on social events with your friends being so nearby, as Nuding commented: “I’m never further than a few minutes away from most of my friends on breaks and lunch.” Nuding also enjoys working alongside other students and believes that “there’s a good vibe that you wouldn’t get if working with people much older”.
With regard to the application process, you are required to submit a CV, as well as detailing an element of Trinitys history that interests you. Following this, you may be invited for an interview in front of a panel.

Editors





Niamh Lynch
news@trinitynews.ie
Kelly McGlynn
features@trinitynews.ie
Michael Foley
comment@trinitynews.ie
Katarzyna Siewierska
scitech@trinitynews.ie
Clare McCarthy
sport@trinitynews.ie

Illustration

Aisling Crabbe
Natalia Duda
Sarah Morel
Mike Dolan
John Tierney
Naoise Dolan
Sarah Larragy
Mubbashir Ali Sultan
Nadia Bertaud
Daniel Tatlow

Photography

Kevin O'Rourke
Ines Niarchos
Huda Awan