Students at Gonzaga are known for being insanely involved. They are constantly buzzing around campus while working.
The unsaid culture at GU advocates for involvement on campus and in the community, whether that is participating in clubs, sports or service programs.
On top of campus and community involvement, many students have jobs to gain experience, help with finances and make connections before graduation. But there are a few that go above and beyond. Senior Sarah Potter, sophomore Madeline Garcia and senior Rayanna Smith are some of the students on campus with multiple jobs who have found the perfect balance.
A psychology major and solidarity and social justice minor, Potter has been working around campus since her freshman year and holds four paid positions. Potter works as an employee at the Department of Children Youth and Families, a Walking School Bus Route Leader, a Spokane Public Schools representative for the Campus Kids Program and a Snack, Homework and Organized Play (SHOP) after-school leader on Fridays.
“I have found a bunch of odd jobs throughout my time at Gonzaga,” Potter said. “Each year, I have had a different work-study-kind of job.”
Potter has developed a routine for managing her schedule as a busy college student. Her positions at Walking School Bus, Spokane Public Schools’ Campus Kids Program and SHOP are consistent week-to-week, totaling to about 14.5 hours per week. Potter’s position at Department of Children and Youth and Families allows her to pick her hours, which become valuable when planning out her agenda for the month.
She said it’s key in maintaining a healthy balance between school and work. Normally, Potter adds about eight hours of work to her week with the Department of Children and Youth and Families after assessing her prior commitments. These four jobs total around 22 hours per week.
All of Potter’s jobs relate to her passion for working with children in the community and she has made connections to these positions through volunteering during her earlier years at GU.
“The most meaningful thing to me is doing what I love, investing in youth and making sure they feel emotionally, socially and academically supported,” Potter said. “To be able to turn that into a job before I even get my degree is really meaningful.”
Potter said the hardest part about having multiple jobs is making time to be a devoted friend and a dedicated student. She advises active students to spend at least a half an hour a week planning times to work, study and maintain relationships with friends.
“My time working with young students has made my college experience worth it," Potter said. "It is the reason why I am at Gonzaga; that’s why I consider Spokane my home."
Garcia immerses herself into the busy lifestyle of multiple on-campus jobs and being a committed bio-chem student.
Garcia works as a lifeguard at the Rudolph Fitness Center (RFC) and is a residents assistant (RA) on the third floor of Kennedy Apartments this year.
Garcia spends about 10 to 18 hours a week on duty as an RA. Depending on her RA schedule, she works six to 12 hours a week at the RFC. On weeks she isn’t completely booked with RA responsibilities, she adds hours at the RFC to compensate.
Becoming an RA is a long, demanding and involved process. The position allows students to get in touch with the on-campus culture, meet new faces, interact with students of all ages, practice responsibility and form a safe experience for students living on campus.
“I took the RA position because I wanted to be more involved on campus and felt a lack of involvement my freshman year," Garcia said. "I love this job and what it has to offer, even though at times it can be hard.”
While Garcia doesn’t have work study, the lifeguarding job came naturally after inquiring about it at the RFC because she worked as a lifeguard in high school during summers.
“It was a nice transition and the application process was super easy,” Garcia said.
Garcia said the best part of her jobs is meeting new people and making lasting connections with students and faculty around campus.
“I have met a lot of different people from different grades, a lot of people that I would have never met," Garcia said. "Being able to say hi to a bunch of different faces on campus is so meaningful and it’s fun.”
Her advice for maintaining a schedule to allow for time working multiple jobs is signing up for classes back to back, so you can make time for those jobs.
“Having these jobs has made me more organized and has motivated me to get work done," Garcia said. "I would totally recommend working on campus if you have a desire to.”
Smith has been working in Spokane since her first semester as a freshman at GU. She has worked with the Spokane Basketball Officials as a youth basketball referee since fall 2016 and also works at Dutch Bros. on Division Street.
Smith’s job as a barista at Dutch Bros. takes up the most time in her schedule, so the refereeing job depends on the week. Smith works about 20 hours a week between her two jobs in Spokane.
“One of the major reasons why I have these jobs is to stay engaged in the community, and that’s a really important thing to me,” Smith said. “Another reason is because I pay my own way at GU and these jobs really help me in that financial process.”
Smith found the perfect fit at Dutch Bros., even though the application process was demanding.
“There were around 100 applications, and it was a three-step process. The hiring process was long, extensive and a lot of training,” Smith said. “I had to pass two tests, but it wasn’t hard to get the job because it was the right fit for me.”
The most difficult part for Smith is giving 100% all of the time because, sometimes, she catches herself spreading too thin. She said it's important to slow down and take time to think and to plan.
“After a long, exciting day, it is important to take a step back, assess your priorities and allow room to take care of yourself,” Smith said.
While these students are busy, they love their jobs but also cherish their free time.
“Gonzaga likes to play the busy Olympics a lot," Potter said. "We all want to say we are the busiest, but we all need to make sure we are taking care of all of the parts of who we are and keep doing what we love."