The financial struggle is something most students can relate to. Between tuition, textbooks, rent, utilities, FOOD, and oh yeah, social outings, our expenses really add up. What’s just as real is the job-finding struggle. No one wants to hire you because you have no experience and you have no experience because no one wants to hire you. It’s a vicious cycle that gets you so desperate for any job that you start applying to places like local Portuguese bakeries being fully aware that you can neither 1. bake nor 2. speak Portuguese.
I have a part-time job as a sales associate and let me tell you, all the Buzzfeed articles titled “36 Struggles of Retail Workers” are 100% accurate. Don’t get me wrong, working in sales and services teaches you many important social skills! Like how to smile while watching someone, miraculously within 10 seconds, destroy a table of shirts you spent 2 hours folding.
A lot of young adults think that working at the mall is our first and easiest way in. I am here to enlighten you in hopes that you also consider other viable options for employment. One of the best things about being at U of T is having many different opportunities for all sorts of fields and interests.
A great resource is the Career Learning Network, which contains a forum for both casual and professional job offers. Whether you’re looking for internships, work studies, volunteering, or just a fun job, CLN is always posting new openings online.
The U of T Co-Curricular Record website also has tons of interesting listings!
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, drop by the Career Centre for workshops or just helpful advice on where to start. As well, never underestimate the power of getting to know your profs and fellow students who may know of jobs that you could go for. Another tip: feel free to apply to as many as you want! You may get a lot of no’s, but all you need is that one yes!
Last year, I applied for work-study positions through the CLN website. I was a research assistant at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. I worked a decent amount of hours while still having time for school and learned a lot from the staff. Plus the things I did and learned were relevant to my longterm career goals so it was nice to be able to have that experience and also be getting that #cashmoneyflow. I even got to present a research poster and had my abstract published in a peer-reviewed journal! #startedfromthebottom #nowwehere
Besides financial and academic perks, I got to explore the neighbourhood of Toronto where I worked. The Trinity Bellwoods area is one of my favourite parts of the city, with free art exhibits, delicious food destinations, and a lovely park where I once so happened to meet Childish Gambino… but that’s a story for another time.