As our second term begins, the pressure of finding summer employment is upon us all. Those who are lucky enough to have already secured a job can rest easy, but many students are worrying about finding a way to earn money and gain experience following April exams.
As we all know, university is expensive. From tuition fees, to general living costs, each year of our education can cost up to $20,000. Working over the summer holidays can be a great way to finance these costs, but it is difficult for young adults to find a well-paying employment opportunity.
This is a problem that has been worrying me for months. As my peers receive job offers through their parents’ employers or others connections, I find myself jealous of their advantage. It is so difficult to compete with peers who have a strong network of contacts, which makes applying for positions feel like a hopeless task. Is it worth it for an employer to interview me when they already have a recommendation from within the company? Will anyone be willing to take a chance on a first year student?
Network disadvantages aren’t the only obstacle that stands in the way of summer employment. First year studies in university tend to be very general, as course specialization occurs in upper years. This is another factor that makes job application difficult, as a general “science” or “social science” program does not prove one’s interest or knowledge in a specific field. This is a disadvantage for first year students such as myself applying for jobs, and some employers even specify that candidates must be finishing senior years of their undergrad.
Lower-paying jobs within industries such as retail and food services are more available for students than jobs within our fields of study, but they do not support our education as well financially. At this age, we have to take what we can get—any job is better than unemployment on our four-month break. Though the task of applying to internships and well-paying positions seems to be a hopeless task, it is a task I continue to do, expecting the worst but hoping for the best.