When you first arrive at Sterling College, the Work Program and all of its logistics may seem intimidating or confusing- that lasts for about a breath and a half until students and supervisors are there to walk you through every step along the way. Once you learn the time card system, (which we use to keep track of the hours we work each week, adding up to 80 by the end of each semester) you’re well on your way.
In the first week or so on campus, you will experience the job fair. This is a time to learn about all the jobs offered here at Sterling! Faculty/staff members on campus are also work program supervisors of some sort! You walk around to each booth, inquiring, getting excited… Once you know of a few that look enticing, you fill out the application form for the jobs you’re interested in, including why you’re interested, and what you can contribute to that position.
I was fortunate enough to be hired as an Admission Ambassador. We meet once a week after community meeting, all convening in the Admission Office. We have a brief check-in to see how everyone’s doing, and go over the agenda for the afternoon. A typical work shift tends to go from 1 to 4pm on Wednesday afternoons. Admission Ambassadors contact various constituencies (prospective students, alumni, etc.) in an effort to help recruit future environmental stewards to Sterling College. They conduct research on outreach opportunities, and represent the College at events both on and off campus, including Open House and campus tours. In my time as an Ambassador, I enhanced my time management skills, my verbal and written communication skills, as well as a poise for meeting a wide range of people. Not only did my interpersonal skills improve greatly, but being part of such a closely knit team was something I now know as a value I want to include in my work mission. Setting goals as a worker with your supervisor is a lifelong, valuable skill and one that is expected of you as a member of the Work Program. You sit down and come up with SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time bound) goals with the semester ahead. At the midterm, I met with Tim to evaluate my goals and work in the sunny interview room.
Favorite parts of work shifts:
Tim: I enjoyed all of the student workers, Emma, Akilah, and McKenzie. They had good energy and attitude; sometimes we were doing seemingly mundane tasks such as stuffing envelopes but it was all done in fun and good humor. I love having students in the Admission Office. This college really belongs to the students, and having student involvement in selecting the incoming class speaks to that. I value their good work, participation, and will miss them when they’re gone.
Akilah: hanging out and getting to connect with new people
Emma: being able to represent a place you value so much is an incredible honor. The fact that current students excitedly reach out to prospective students in such a personal way speaks to the strong community, and love of Sterling College held by its members.
Secrets from the Ghost of Admission Ambassador Present:
- You will hate the way the first three handwritten letters come out, for we as a society have lost touch with the written word. Don’t worry, your pen(wo)manship will improve drastically.
- Sometimes you start to notice the wood grain of the table seeming to move underneath the 11th note card you’re writing- it’s time for a cup of tea.
- Drawing flowers, mountains, and sunsets on each card will make you and the recipient happy. Art-on!
- Any slow, boring, stressful, or sad day can be healthily cured by a shift in the Admission Office.
- Tim will sing Taylor Swift.
- You will get so good at walking backward with the amount of tours you give that sometimes you do it for fun.
- Your love for this place will evolve to an unbearable amount. Try not to burst.
- Part of your job is to bring visiting folk down to the farm… yes, you get paid to pet adorable farm animals.
With tasks that could have been stressful and challenging, we always found each other engaged in positive, fun, and exciting conversation. Dancing, laughing, and not letting what could be challenging or frustratingly mundane tasks bring us down. Where else do you find work where your supervisor sings Taylor Swift, your co-workers share deep dark secrets from middle school, you have endless amounts of tea, all the while getting word out about this magical place, Sterling College, which we call home.
So, Akilah, McKenzie, Anya, Tim, Amanda, and Beana, thank you for some of the most rewarding, fun, silly, and important 160 hours of work I’ve done. We at Sterling are all ambassadors of the school, but to the future Admission Ambassadors of Sterling, you’re in for a very special time.