Students share insight into working on campus

Grace Gibney interviews students about what it’s like to work on campus.


Sophomore Karli Wessale prepares a coffee order behind the counter at Commons. Her favorite drink, both personally and to promote, is an iced caramel macchiato. | Kalli Thommen/THE CHIMES

Grace Gibney, Writer

Alongside the responsibilities that come with being a college student, three Biolans with on-campus jobs have learned to balance classes with work and have discovered the perks and quirks that come with their jobs.

Campus Safety cadet
Josh Bergquist, sophomore film major

Grace Gibney: What is one part of the job you like?
Josh Bergquist: Working with my co-workers, I guess. Getting to know them on a daily basis and working with them.

GG: What’s it like working night shifts?
JB: It’s interesting. It kind of throws around your sleep schedule if you don’t plan around it and plan right for it. I’ve figured out a way to plan it so that I work and feel fine the next day.

GG: What’s one thing about working at Campus Safety that a student wouldn’t ordinarily know?
JB: It’s pretty simple what we do. We lock up the buildings. We’re making sure there’s no one suspicious on campus. We’re also filling out the parking tickets. Pretty much people see us doing everything that we do.

GG: What’s it like working as a student for other students?
JB: I like that I get to help keep the campus safe for other students, but there’s also the responsibility that comes with it.


Sophomore Karli Wessale prepares a coffee order behind the counter at Commons. Her favorite drink, both personally and to promote, is an iced caramel macchiato. | Kalli Thommen/THE CHIMES

Common Grounds barista
Karli Wessale, sophomore journalism major

GG: What’s something you like about working [at Common Grounds]?
Karli Wessale: I love the atmosphere. I love the people who work there. They’re all really great. It’s fun having all students, so we all connect really well. That’s nice. The people who come in are great too.

GG: What’s something you don’t like so much about working there?
KW: There’s no air-conditioning right now, so it’s super hot.

GG: What is it like being a student working for other students?
KW: I think it’s awesome. When I’m at the register, I get to talk with a ton of people from my classes and my friends. It’s where I live, it’s where I study and it’s where I work. It’s kind of awesome. I love it.

GG: What’s your favorite drink?
KW: Iced caramel macchiato. Everyone at work knows that I come in to get a drink, they make me an iced caramel macchiato right away. If someone doesn’t know what they want and they want coffee and something sweet, I’m like, ‘Iced caramel macchiato.’

GG: What’s it like being a student who’s working on campus but also has to juggle classes and homework?
KW: It’s hard. I’m taking 17 units right now. I’m only working 12 hours, but it still feels like a lot. But … with college you have to learn to how to balance your time.

Lifeguard/swim instructor for Lansing Pool
PJ Maddela, freshman nursing major

GG: What do you like about working there?
PJ Maddela: It’s definitely interesting to see the different kinds of people. During the day we have more families, and then at night you have more competitive swimmers. It’s really interesting to see the different dynamics, especially when you have people belly-flopping, and then you have people basically working their butts off until they can’t move.

GG: What’s something you don’t really like about working there so far?
PM: It’s kind of stressful. In lifeguarding, if something happens, it’s all on you and your fellow lifeguard. You can’t be distracted, you can’t go on your cellphone, you can’t text. For the swim instructing, it’s kind of the same thing, but more on a personal level. There are certain things that the student has to learn, and if you don’t get through that, then the parents get angry and then they talk to your boss and your boss talks to you.

GG: How long have you been swimming before you became a lifeguard?
PM: 10 years. I guess you can say the chlorine is embedded into my skin forever.

GG: What is it like being a student working in a job that helps other students?
PM: It’s interesting to see because a lot of the people I do see I have some classes with. It’s also kind of strange because they’re half-naked, and then you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, you have clothes on. Good job.’ I guess that’s the weirdest part.

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