When encouraged to ponder the student experience, many would appraise the typical undesirable aspects first. Popular themes that come to mind are; student debt, time management, stress, and wellbeing. Despite the innumerable adverse experiences of a young university student, I have decided to base my BCM212 research project on one of the most fulfilling and rewarding opportunities I have been involved in, as a result of my time spent studying at the University of Wollongong.
My intended goal for this research project is to understand, why it is, that there is so little interest in on-campus jobs, that are specifically tailored for university students that, often times, allow them to finish their degree with extra accreditations. Thus, the question guiding my research is ‘Are university students more likely to seek employment off campus, as opposed to involving themselves in on-campus work opportunities, and, if so, what are the leading factors enforcing this decision?’
I am employed on a casual basis, as an In2Uni Mentor for the Outreach and Pathways faculty of the University of Wollongong. While this is not my only form of employment, this job is extremely rewarding and has allowed me to gain an immense amount of confidence, as well as the acquisition of a Working with Children Certificate, which, has further assisted me in other job prospects outside of In2Uni.
During my time as a mentor, I have been questioned, as to what it is I do, how I went about securing my job, if other on-campus jobs exist, and, if so, how to gain access to these kinds of employment. These questions have promoted me to research the lack of awareness, and therefore, lack of interest in on-campus jobs, and the reasons for this. I believe it is due to the lack of advertising, promotion and exposure that these jobs receive and the sporadic nature of shift work associated with such jobs, together with a general lack of knowledge surrounding the availability of on-campus, university based jobs.
In developing my topic, I have conducted some background research and have located a number of secondary sources that I think will be of assistance to the conclusions that I wish to attain through my research.
A study conducted by the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand, aimed to explore the impact of paid employment on students study time and other aspects of their lives. The findings showed that 81 percent of the students held at least one job during university, for an average of 14 hours per week. Working left less time than desired for social activities, study and recreation. It is my goal to depict how employment in on-campus jobs, can decrease the lack of time students have to participate in desired activities, if their job and university coincide with one another.
Another study conducted in 2009, aimed to examine the relationships among first-year students’ employment, engagement, and academic achievement, using data from the 2004 National Survey of Student Engagement. A statistically significant negative relationship was found between working more than 20 hours per week and grades. An examination of the indirect relationships between work and grades revealed that working 20 hours or less on campus was significantly and positively related to grades.
I hope that these studies will assist me in my own research and will back up my ideas that although university students are vastly unaware of the benefits of on-campus employment positions, on-campus jobs can be superior in terms of ongoing opportunities as compared to that of off campus employment.
I believe this topic to be both timely and appropriate, as work/life/uni balance is something that the majority of university students strive toward maintaining. Therefore, this subject is timely and requires attention.
The issue surrounding on-campus jobs, as opposed to balancing university with regular off-campus work, is one that can be considered relevant to all university students who find it difficult to balance university work and assessment schedules with casual or part time work. The topic is relevant to me personally as I am employed in both an on-campus job and two other off-campus jobs, so I am able to compare the two with personal insight and experience.
I believe this project will be achievable, as I have the means to secure all relevant information in the time frame allowed. As I work for an on-campus organisation, this provides me with access to other people who work for the same organisation or similar, providing an easy opportunity to conduct research in the form of interviews and surveys with my fellow colleagues, who are also students at the University of Wollongong. I plan to survey fellow students that study BCM212, making the project achievable, as my fellow students are easily accessible for such research methods, both in class, on campus, and via social media such as Twitter and WordPress.
- Robert, J. 2005, ‘The effect of paid employment on university students’ lives, Education + Training’ Vol.47 No. 3, pp. 202-215
- Pike, G. 2009, ‘First-Year Students’ Employment, Engagement, and Academic Achievement: Untangling the Relationship between Work and Grades’NASPA Journal,45 No. 4, pp. 560-582