‘This I Believe’ by Brett Bridges

By Brett Bridges, a junior communication major from Crete, Ill.

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, junior Brett Bridges’ essay about time management aired on WVPE-88.1 FM.

I believe everyone should have a job while in college. Of course, these are the years when we are supposed to be having our last bits of irresponsible fun, learning to live independently from our parents, and to finally grasp hold of the concept of time management. For some students, jobs are things that you get after college, not during. But, I never realized how much I would grow as a person until I took my first job in college.

During the spring semester of my sophomore year, I decided that it was time for me to get a job. I had depleted my checking account on a study abroad trip during the fall semester to Jamaica and all of the money that I made over Christmas break went to Christmas presents and textbooks.
I found a job at the local Boys and Girls Club. It was like a dream job. I was getting paid to help children with their homework and to play games with them. I didn’t have to sit in a cubicle. I wasn’t bothered with reports and meetings. The main purpose of my job was to make sure that the kids had fun and completed their homework.

The honeymoon stage of my work life soon ended. I neglected to think about how this would fit into my schedule as a college student. I had a 15-credit- hour course load and worked about 25 hours a week. There were many days that I woke up at 6:30 a.m and didn’t get back to school until 9 p.m because of my work and class schedule combined.

I resented my friends who slept in, played Frisbee after class, or got a chance to see friends. When they were doing all of this, I was always heading to work; looking in my rear view mirror at everyone getting the chance to be carefree. But as much resented them, I also realized how much they were missing out on.

When I go to work, I know that I am changing lives, one child at a time, even if I am just playing Monopoly with them or listening to stories about their day at school. For most of the children that I work with, I have more interaction with them than their own parents do. I can feel it some days when those kids look at me that they truly appreciate having me there.

Understanding my own life happens too. I realize the impact that I can have on a person. By simply going to work every day, I can affect someone in positive way. To those kids, I will be one of those people that they will think about when they get older. My presence in their lives might affect major decisions they make in their lives.

A full course load and working definitely isn’t a glamorous life, but it’s my life. And I grew immensely from it.