How on-campus jobs have changed after COVID-19

By Lexi Meola

Elm Staff Writer

When Washington College students left for spring break almost one year ago, they were not expecting to not return to campus after break. The COVID-19 pandemic changed students academics and social lives, but it also impacted those who had on-campus jobs.

Some jobs were easily transferable to a virtual setting with some changes, however, for some students, the transition to virtual jobs was much more difficult. 

Senior Jenny Shabrach held three positions at WC prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was a Residenti Assistant who was promoted to a Resident Assistant Director, a chemistry lab prep assistant, and the training officer for admissions. 

“COVID-19 completely changed my job experience. For one, I am not on campus, so I had to resign from my RAD & chemistry prep job. Also, I had to completely reorganize the way we view admissions at WC by creating virtual tours,” Shabrach said.

According to Shabrach, being a full-time student and losing two main sources of income has caused her more stress. The College’s switch from in person to virtual also caused her to readjust the programs run in admissions. 

While it was stressful in the beginning of going virtual, Shabrach recognizes that there were some positives to being virtual for her job at admissions. 

“COVID-19 allowed admissions to create new ways to reach potential new students virtually. This was positive because we can implement these ways post COVID-19 as well for students who are unable to visit WC, ” Shabrach said.

Shabrach’s experience with admissions was slightly different than sophomore Julia Totis’s experience as a George’s General. Shabrach was the one doing all the training and coming up with new experiences where as Totis is experiencing the program that Shabrach worked to revamp in the wake of COVID-19.

According to Totis, once she got adjusted to being virtual it was easier to pick up. Even though she lives on campus she stated she is not comfortable working in person just yet. 

“With this job, COVID-19 has shown me that there is always going to be a solution to a problem. I never thought that we would be able to have a campus tour while not actually at campus, but they were able to make it happen, and it honestly does look really cool,” Totis said.

Senior Will Reid discussed how moving to a virtual setting changed his position of Honor Board Chair and adjustments he had to make.

“Scheduling has become more important than ever. I can’t just drop by people’s offices or ask to meet up quickly. Everything’s more succinct. With the addition of the COVID-19 code of conduct, there was also a bit of time where we were trying to figure out if I would have any involvement in that.” 

The COVID-19 code of conduct details violations and potential sanctions in regard to COVID-19. This code of conduct means that students have to follow strict rules about in-person gatherings, which means that the Honor Board was unable to conduct meetings and handle cases in person.

Reid had to change the way he approached his position since meetings and hearings are now held virtually. Concerns over communications were felt initially but were quickly eliminated when the job started back up.

Jobs on campus have adjusted properly to the virtual setting. Although it was not expected by anyone, on-campus jobs have proved that they are prepared for both virtual and in-person settings.

Featured Photo caption: The Career Center is the first stop for students on their journey through having an on campus job, to fill out all the dreaded starting paperwork. Photo by Ben Wang.

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