Monday, April 14, 2014

Work-a-Frolic - My Work and its Secrets

By: Madhur Prashant, Humber Student & International Centre Student Ambassador

Books are your best friend because these don't complain!

Making money anywhere in the world is no cakewalk. However, making money when you are a student can be a cakewalk, a gooey but smooth cakewalk. 

Really? How?

Part-time on-campus work and full-time studies make an excellent combination of earning, learning and application. To put our skills, intelligence and experience to use is itself an incentive. The primary purpose of working on campus is to bring home precious notes to pay off undesirable, pending, painful bills. All other motivations to work follow later, once our monetary affairs are in control. We also love to be challenged and take control of matters that are not always ours.

As students we have the advantage of choosing from a variety of jobs. We have the option to apply for jobs we have never known and jobs that may not be part of our career path. With on-campus jobs, we have flexible work hours, reduced commute times, and friends who double as colleagues or vice-versa. Also, owing to the nature these jobs, there is limited responsibility on us. Trust me: when in college, we may want money desperately but definitely not a nagging boss tracking us down every minute.

During my undergraduate era, I performed a whole gamut of roles on various campuses. Each one came with its own set of responsibilities, rules, sensitivities, secrets and people. The money part was always consistent - minimum wage. You see, such are the trials of being an impoverished and a highly ambitious student abroad.
For you my readers, I have decided to revisit all those years I ran between study- and work desks. Interesting now, but it was exhausting then. 

In between books – The Library

Aisles and rows of books and more
I once lived in the land of Pharaohs, Egyptians and the Nile. During my undergraduate program at the American University in Cairo, I was surrounded by peoples, systems and cultures that seemed like a mixed fruit punch: American, Egyptian, and everything else mixed together, with some dominant tastes and after-tastes. 
 
My various work profiles in the library were interesting, considering I was in the aisles, between towers of and tunnels walled with books, and more books, and much silence. Since at that early, tender age (indeed) I hadn’t yet developed a love for books, I busied myself with only pertinent tasks at hand. My contribution to this learning hub was a significant one – returning books to their spots, arranging them neatly, ensuring that barcode stickers were pasted on the correct side of these books and dusting off pollutants from spines and covers. Interesting. Maybe. 

The same experience can be joyful if books are your best friend. If you are fascinated by these leaf-full beings, this is an ideal workplace to cultivate your love. In between sorting and shelving, you can easily read blurbs, periodicals and testimonials and create your own wish list. You can keep track of the latest and archived collections and enjoy the company of a hundred worlds in that little space. What else? This noble deed will keep addictive office gossip and rugged politics at bay.  

Working in a library can make you feel isolated from people and conversations. ‘Maintain Silence’ is the mantra, the incontestable truth and effect of being inside literary premises. Conversations, if any, seem louder amid this engulfing silence, and may not always be appetizing to a sensitive heart. Trust me. Cozy corners hidden behind rows of brainpower, warm seats holding on to glass walls with a sound-free world moving about outside are an ideal locale for raw conversations and unpalatable details. You are privy to so much detail and are sometimes compelled into eavesdropping, or being a peeping Tom. Couples often forget to ensure privacy in this hideout and make those hidden in-between the aisles victims of their gory details. In between shelving, sorting, dusting and browsing books, you either are drawn into paying attention quietly or to putting a stop to it through occasional and random throat-clearing.


That’s the library.

If you get a chance to work at a library, do take it up, even if books are not your cup of tea. It’ll eventually turn you into a reader. In between a million words, ten thousand worlds, a hundred thousand stories, a hundred dozen characters and uncountable interpretations, you’ll never be lonely. You may get lost in there, or you may end up finding yourself!

 The library is not the only place I have worked at on campus. Wait for my next post, as I write about the job that gave me no silence or solace, just tummy aches, slurps, illusions, frustrations and many rules. Can you guess what it was?!