Your complete guide to working at Barnumbia (but not too hard).

As we rapidly get closer to the beginning of the academic year, don’t get lost in the desperate scramble to find a way to fulfill your federal work-study job. Stay tuned to hear what bwoggers think about their respective campus jobs ahead of time so you can know which jobs to avoid (hint: the call center) and which to fight tooth and nail for.

Barnard College Theatre Department – Production Assistant

I absolutely love working in the theatre department! Student workers are primarily involved in set construction and painting and hanging and focusing lights as well as other miscellaneous theatre maintenance. Scheduling is flexible with options to have consistent weekly shifts and/or pick up more night shifts leading up to performances. Student-workers can also see department shows for free by ushering and volunteering to work during the shows themselves! Overall, the department is a really positive environment where I’ve felt supported to develop my current skills while also learning new ones.

Barnard College Writing Center – Writing Fellow

So it’s not readily available for first years, but if you even halfway like writing, you should absolutely consider applying! You can start as soon as your sophomore spring, the pay is pretty good, and the work is insanely rewarding. I didn’t even think of myself as much of a “writer” but I surprised myself with how much I learned and grew as a Fellow and as a writer in my own right. Pam Cobrin and DaMonique Ballou run the Writing Center and they’re the best leaders and mentors you could ask for. The schedule is quite flexible, though you have to take a seminar before you start (it counts towards your degree but you won’t be paid for it) and sometimes it can get intense when your fellow class has an essay due. I’ve managed to stay on top of it though, and again, you have so much support. 

IMATS (Instructional Media and Technology Services) – Instructional Media Technologist

Working at IMATS was such a dream!! All the student workers when I was there were very chill, and it was a mix of new people and more experienced student workers. The responsibilities are to test and know how to operate a plethora of media equipment while managing rentals going out and coming in. Columbia and Barnard affiliates (mostly undergraduate students but occasionally professors) would walk up to our window in the Milstein Center to pick up their digitally requested equipment. From cameras to camcorders, and audio recorders to projectors, IMATS is stocked with various audiovisual equipment. A typical shift involved checking in and out a few reservations (and checking to ensure all parts of a kit were present and functioning) and listening to music or hanging out in a mellow environment. If it was a super slow day, it was a relaxed enough environment to work on some outside tasks or homework. Also, all the student workers helped each other cover shifts when need be—everyone was really supportive in that way. Also, to note, IMATS is a very wonderfully queer space. Our supervisor, Josalynn Smith, is the most mellow yet supportive boss/supervisor, and they would let us play music when not directly servicing people at the window. If Josalynn is still in the role of supervising student media technologists, you’re all in such luck. 

Columbia Libraries – Library Assistant

I feel so lucky to have a job at one of the Columbia libraries! It’s pretty chill most of the time, with hourly duties that are very structured (such as proctoring the front door, sorting/shelving/pulling books, etc.), so you don’t have to worry about delegating tasks for yourself. I have really enjoyed having time slots built into my schedule, during which I literally cannot do schoolwork, but instead, have to do more repetitive things that give my brain a rest from classes. I also definitely think that the skills that I’ve learned could be easily transferred to any other library when I need to find a job somewhere else in the future! Overall, I’m endlessly grateful to work at a CU library, and it has given me so much insight and perspective into how the library system functions, which has made me even more appreciative of our resources when I use them as a patron!

Also, how I got it (in 2019): At the beginning of the fall semester, they hold a library job fair where directors from all of the CU libraries come with their open positions, and if you go early (before the positions are filled), it’s super easy to get hired right on spot! Each library is a little different, so you can choose the one that works best for you!

Barnard Residential Life and Housing – Resident Assistant

I love being an RA! I work for upperclassmen and have been in Plimpton this past year. Responsibilities include monthly programs that align to certain pillars like social justice or health and wellness, conducting 1:1 meetings with residents to check in, and working duty shifts that work for your schedule. I know duty is usually what drives people away from the job, but you pick your own days – it usually ends up being 7 weekdays (8 pm to 8 am) and 3 weekend days (24-hour shifts) total for the semester. Conduct a personal cost-benefit analysis to determine if this is a role that works well for you! Personally, I love getting to meet new people through the role and exercising my more creative side through bulletin boards and door decs. You can let your personality shine through each event and theme you choose; as a Leo this means a lot to me.

Barnard Biology Department – Intro Bio Lab TA

I LOVE being an Intro Bio Lab Teaching Assistant. I work with the Intro Bio Lab team to help make sure the weekly experiments go smoothly and to answer any questions students may have about the lab procedure or content during class or via email. I’d also staff sessions hosted by STEM Writing Fellows and the Barnard Intro Bio TA’s before lab reports are due to give students feedback and advice before turning in their work to the professor. I really enjoyed taking the lab component myself as an Intro Bio Lab student, so it’s genuinely really fun to be able to teach my peers the material for the first time and assuage any stresses they may have by clearing up any content confusion. I took one of the two lab classes in-person, but have only been a TA in an online format, so I’m really excited to help teach the material in-person. The Intro Bio Lab class uses so many techniques and concepts present in research labs, so the class does a great job teaching students what they would need to know to pursue future undergraduate research. This campus job is also just really fulfilling because the class is mostly underclassmen, so you get to help out students who are really finding their way in the college STEM space. I’ve also learned a lot about teaching from working for the professor for my section, so I’ve also definitely benefited professionally. All in all, this is a GREAT campus job for anyone involved in Barnard Bio (even if you’re a non-Bio major who has taken and done well in the Intro Bio sequence). Also, it’s just another excuse to be in Altschul and take in ~the views~!!!

One of the many places you could work on campus via the Bwarchives