Opinion

Beloit College Keeps the Working Class Working

IMAGE BY NICK STEPHENS

By Elizabeth Crea
STAFF WRITER

After three years of being a student at Beloit, I am still employed in the disregarded world of Food Service. As a freshman, I was reassured by my older peers that my stressful 10 hour-a-week dishwashing stint at Commons would pay off. Next year, I’d work in an office filing paperwork or running errands for professors, but certainly not scrubbing corn nibblets off a skillet. I quickly began to realize that these promises were false. Even after intense on-campus job searches, the opportunities for non-food service jobs were limited.

Ever since my first job at McDonald’s I have worked on my feet. My parents are working class, and although they want me to succeed in a promising career after graduation, I fear that even with a liberal arts diploma I will always remain in this working class system.

It’s difficult to have respect for a college that doesn’t pay attention to its students’ right to seek work that is relevant to their skills and majors. Essentially, where you’re put freshman year is where you’ll stay—unless you make your way up the hierarchy.

The overall attitude of the Financial Aid Office is: “Need a job? You’re on your own.” It’s not an outrageous notion; students are mature enough to find jobs themselves. But there are many constraints, such as favoritism and departments’ unwillingness to train new employees. While networking is important, jobs at Beloit are not distributed by work ethic or performance, rather by who you happen to know. Thus, the job sphere beyond food service is often impenetrable.

Why am I getting paid minimum wage and only allowed nine hours of work per week when Resident Assistants get paid much more for a non-labor position? While they’re getting paid for rule enforcement, complex, and camaraderie, I’m punching a time clock and growing more bitter by the day. Just because my job is to serve sandwiches it is in no way less respectable. I am tired of being treated with disrespect by my peers just because I happen to work at DK’s as a junior.

I have very little hope for my future work situation because of Beloit College’s lack of support and advancement opportunities. How am I supposed to add to my resume when all I’ve been doing is food prep and washing dishes for the past three years? I know I am hard working, but will future employers see it that way?

I have some consolation. I know what it’s like to feel downtrodden after serving the unappreciative general public, and this idea definitely fuels my pursuit for a better job. But I certainly can’t find that “better job” on this campus.

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