Dear Freshman Me: Congrats on Your Campus Job!
Written by Callahan Stoub
Dear Freshman Me,
Now that you have a few months under your belt at your first on-campus job, how is it going? I know the first few weeks were a whirlwind of information as you learned about departments you never knew existed and protocol for handling challenging phone calls at the Contact Center. Some of the upperclassmen who work as student supervisors probably intimidate you as they walk comfortably from cubicle to cubicle, but trust me, by the end of next spring, you’ll feel comfortable asking them where to direct callers who want to donate plants to the arboretum, and just as comfortable asking them for advice on dorms, professors, and classes. You’ll love working at the Contact Center because you’ll do meaningful work in a flexible schedule. Furthermore, in between calls you’ll create friendships forged on inside jokes, weekly donuts, and countless troubleshooting experiences from power outages to website crashes.
I know you had the next four years as a student worker all mapped out as you walked through the Source during Freshman orientation: one-semester answering phones, a couple of years guiding visitors around campus as a student ambassador for Admissions, and then maybe taking on a student leadership role in the department your senior year. It was a great plan with room to grow professionally and one that allows you to share the College you love with people from around the world.
But when the end of your first semester at the Contact Center came to an end, so did that plan. Just as you were about to tell your boss you planned to leave, you got an email from the scheduling coordinator—one of the most caring people you’ll meet at the College—reminding you to submit your availability to work next Spring. You hesitated for a moment, remembering the plan, but then you read the last line of the email: “I appreciate all of you and your hard work that you put in down here at the Contact Center. You are all very valuable to us.” Something about that line made you realize you’re part of a team now. A team that counts on you. Now you’re rationalizing that it’ll probably take a few weeks before Admissions can hire you, and it will be nice to transition from one job to the next smoothly, so maybe you’ll just stick around for one or two weeks. Or three. Or four.
Fast forward three years, and you’ll be one of those students walking around comfortably answering questions and encouraging agents who are just starting their time on the phones, waiting anxiously for the next phone call to come through. It turns out your plan for professional growth has happened all in one place, and you still got to share your love of Hillsdale with people around the world. Our director constantly looks for ways to improve our service level to represent the College well. At the same time, she is committed to building student leaders by planning professional development sessions throughout the school year and giving student supervisors input on how to improve operations. Not only will you learn how to answer a phone at this student job, but you’ll learn how the hiring process works, conduct interviews, and help revise the training schedule. This is a place that develops student leaders, not just student workers.
One day you’ll look back and be grateful for getting an early start to working off student debt, connecting with the campus community, and taking part in the responsibility for running the College. So even if you’re feeling unsure right now, give it some time. After three years at the Contact Center, I can say with confidence it is the best place to work on campus (though I may be a bit biased).
Callie Stoub, ’21, hails from the Southwestern corner of Michigan, best known for its beaches along Lake Michigan, and studies history. When she’s not reminiscing on her time at Hillsdale, you may find her diagramming sentences for fun or experimenting with creative omelet recipes.
Published in March 2021