‘A learning experience.’ UK student workers find a balance between school and work


Carter Skaggs

Freshman nursing major Katie Ray shares a laugh with her coworkers while working at Panda Express in the Gatton Student Center on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Carter Skaggs | Staff

Liberty Gilbert, Reporter

Students at the University of Kentucky are finding that, with friendly work environments and flexible schedules, there are plenty of benefits and opportunities that accompany being an employee on campus.

According to some students, those benefits and opportunities have escaped them in past jobs.

Katie Ray, a UK freshman majoring in nursing, works at Panda Express in the Gatton Student Center. She said that, because her job is through the university, she can enjoy working with a full staff, working with a mix of students and non-students, and having a better pay than other jobs that she’s had before.

“I’ve honestly really enjoyed working here, my coworkers are all great and my manager seems pretty nice and … it makes for a good experience,” Ray said.

For some students, working at the university that you attend doesn’t always mean that it feels like a “student job.”

Jeongho Kim, a UK junior majoring in psychology, works as an usher at the Singletary Center for the Arts, helping patrons enjoy the shows and providing them with assistance and information.

“Even though it’s campus work, I feel like it becomes a society where you’re meeting various persons and engaging with them and learning about those experiences and as a student it’s also a learning experience,” Kim said.

However, some students say there are some drawbacks that come with working an on-campus job.

Logan Lee, a UK senior majoring in business management, works full-time at Chick-fil-A at The 90.

“Overall my experience has been pretty good,” Lee said. “I come into work when I want and if I have a test or homework, they let me take off. But other full-time workers get holiday pay, overtime, paid time off, vacation time and all that, and since we’re student workers we don’t get any of that.”

There are a multitude of different job opportunities on campus including full-time, part-time, temporary work and federal work-study positions. Areas of on-campus employment include fast food, healthcare, academic, office jobs, research oriented positions and even jobs for aspiring journalists or photographers.

Whatever a student’s interest or requirements, there is sure to be a job on campus to fit the bill.

For students who don’t have any work experience, getting a new job can be stressful and scary, but they should know that they aren’t alone.

Joud Almbaidin, an international student from Jordan is a freshman on the pre-law track, majoring in political science with a minor in international studies, works at Chick-fil-A at The 90.

“This is the first job that I ever got in my life and it’s going good so far,” Almbaidin said. “My friends here help me all the time and it’s just nice to get to know and meet new people here and I’m so proud that I’m working and studying at the same time because that’s not an easy thing to do.”