by Caroline Carney
A part-time job can be a rewarding opportunity to exercise nutrition skills, take a break from schoolwork, and earn a few bucks along the way. From speaking with fellow graduate students and from my own experience, it is important to find a job that is flexible and essential to have good time management skills.
Dan Hatfield, a 1st year Nutrition Communication (Nut Comm) student, is one busy guy. Not only is he taking five classes, but he also has two part-time jobs. Dan’s jobs this school year include: Tufts work study conducting research for Dr. Jeanne Goldberg and Dr. Christina Economos in the fall, and recording an online statistics course with Dr. Robert Houser, Dr. Paul Giguere, and Patrick Connell this semester; and outside of school work developing a marketing strategy for clinical educational tools with a local entrepreneur.
Find It: Dan’s advice is to let fellow students and professors know you are interested in part-time work. When something comes up, your name will bubble to the surface. He recommends networking- wherever you are. Don’t just save up your networking energy for alumni events. Whip out those skills at cocktail parties, weddings, and your grocery store.
Manage It: Flexibility has been the key to Dan’s success at managing school and his jobs. He makes his own hours, but has found that he can be more efficient by setting aside specified time periods for his part-time jobs. Designate a couple hours each day or a big chunk of time two days a week to a part-time job. This way the work won’t be a menacing task.
The Reward: Dan has found part-time work “lends a degree of relevance to academic work.” These jobs have allowed Dan to get a taste of how he can apply what he is learning in class to the real world.
Rachel Pacini, another 1st year Nut Comm student, knows a thing or two about fondue: it’s incredibly bad for you, but people love it. She works as a waitress at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant in Bedford, MA. Rachel routinely relinquishes her Friday and Saturday nights to work at the restaurant, racking up to 30 hours each week.
Find It: Originally Rachel wanted a part-time job at a lab. She was a biology major and hoped to put that degree to good use while in graduate school. Much to her dismay, most lab positions lacked flexibility- a key component to a part-time job during school. So, she started to look online for restaurant jobs to work nights and weekends, which would not interfere with class time.
Manage It: Rachel does not recommend the waitress route for everyone. She said it requires excellent time management skills. Again, a job with flexible hours is preferred.
The Reward: Anyone who has ever been a waiter or waitress knows how stressful the job can be. On occasion I still wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare of an angry patron demanding, “Where’s the parmesan!” Rachel did admit it is stressful work, but it is also time away from anything school related. She has to focus so intently while at the restaurant that there is no time for her mind to wander to homework and to-do lists. She enjoys the escape. The monetary reward is certainly an attractive feature of waitressing. If you want to get the most bang for your part-time work, working at a restaurant can bring in more money in a shorter amount of time than many other options.
The Girl Upstairs
Adee Viskin, a 1st year Food Policy and Applied Nutrition (FPAN) and Masters of Public Health (MPH) student, has been working at her part-time job at the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention since the beginning of the school year. Adee works as a research assistant for StrongWomen – Healthy Hearts, a program with a focus on nutrition and physical activity that promotes heart health to middle aged. Working15-20 hours a week, Adee has to be a master at time management.
Find It: Adee learned about this position through an email sent to Friedman students at the beginning of the school year. She was looking for an opportunity to “connect [her] to the school outside of class.” StrongWomen sounded like an experience that would develop her career skills and complement her studies.
Manage It: Adee admits that it’s a constant challenge to balance school and her part-time job. The first semester proved to be a period of adjustment. If you want to get a part-time job, you have to be disciplined and be able to prioritize your work. Adee honestly noted that “it’s not always possible to do everything! You really need to pick and choose.”
The Reward: Working with the StongWomen project has been incredibly enjoyable for Adee. It’s allowed her to see first-hand all of the inspiring work at Friedman.