Local summer jobs provide extra income

By Stephanie Bradley

Kris Brewbaker and Kathy Kobilsek are bored. Four nights a week they sit in stifling hot Anderson Hall watching 50 swimmers go through their paces. Meanwhile, NIU seniors Lonnea Herman and Kim Shackel are busy feeding hungry people at a local fast food restaurant off-campus.

Brewbaker and Kobilsek, NIU seniors and lifeguards for the Office of Campus Recreation, have their names on two of the 1,152 time cards issued to student employees this summer by NIU’s Student Payroll Office.

An exact number of student employees is hard to determine since some students have more than one job with the university and, in turn, have more than one time card, payroll clerk Dotye Summers said.

Many of the types of jobs available during the year on campus are also available in the summer, Summers said. University student jobs include grounds crew workers, clerical/office workers and desk clerks, security guards and food service workers for the Holmes Student Center. The Public Opinion Laboratory and the Founders’ Memorial Library also employ students in the summer.

Yet, many summer students seek employment off-campus—with DeKalb businesses—for several reasons. NIU hires less students during the summer. Summers said the number of time cards this summer is about two-thirds less than during the regular school year.

The financial aid system also deters students from working on campus because earnings from university jobs are subtracted from financial aid checks. Herman passed up his university food service job to work off-campus at Wendy’s fast food restaurant, 1115 W. Lincoln Hwy. Herman said because he receives financial aid, he was forced to quit working his on-campus food service job.

The reason behind students seeking summer employment focuses on their financial situation. Brewbaker and Kobilsek work because they need the money. Others work because they want a little extra spending money, on one extreme, or they are paying for their own education, on the other.

When job-hunting, students often look for the familiar. Shackel has worked almost continually for Wendy’s for five years and is a shift manager. She first worked at the Wendy’s in her hometown and then transfered to the local store when she came to college, working her way up from crew member to crew leader to shift manager. While working at Wendy’s, she also was a clerk at Pick ‘N Save, 2500 Sycamore Road.

Herman is a crew member who has worked at Wendy’s sporadically for about two years. He likes working there because “Wendy’s pays more than some other jobs,” such as the doughnut shop he worked at during the summer of 1986.

Brewbaker and Kobilsek, both NIU seniors, had been lifeguards before—Kobilsek worked at a camp in West Virginia and at city pools near her home, and Brewbaker was a manager at the pool in her town.

But sometimes the old familiar job may not be the one a student wants to have. Kobilsek said this summer she attempted to find jobs at restaurants, theaters, babysitting and housekeeping, but lifeguarding was the only one she got a call for. Brewbaker said she checked out video stores before resorting to lifeguarding.

Summer jobs turn into year-round jobs for some students. While Brewbaker said she will not continue working during the school year, Kobilsek said she has thought about it.

Shackel said she will continue to work more than 40 hours per week during the fall. She said she must work full-time in order to pay her tuition and expenses because she does not receive financial aid. “I don’t want to have to pay off loans,” she said.

Time spent at work has made a mark on Shackel’s grade point average, she said. “I would get more out of school if I didn’t work this much,” she said.

Gary Scott, director of NIU’s Career Planning and Placement, said jobs that might seem to yeild only money often help students in the long run. Sometimes a skill is learned on a job which could possibly help students in their pursuit of a job after graduation, he said.

Shackel, a corporate fitness major, said her job has paid off for her. She believes her work experience helps her “in terms of knowledge of people and people’s attitudes, and how to deal with things.” She said she might even work for Wendy’s for a couple of years after graduation.

Even Kobilsek and Brewbaker see a bright spot in their jobs. “It’s easy money,” Kobilsek said. “We just have to sit here and watch.”