College means forking over a lot of money to earn a degree and provide students with the evidence they need to back up their academic skill set. But, for many GW students, it also means getting internships and jobs to pad their resumes. For some students, in addition to all these factors, there’s also the need for Federal Work Study jobs or part-time jobs to earn money for the cost of living in D.C. And students should have one place where they can find those paid positions.
Handshake, the University’s main search platform to find jobs and internships, launched this summer and is an overall improvement from the previous job search website, GWork, since it is more efficient and easy to use. But despite these improvements, Handshake is missing one key characteristic that made GWork convenient to use: the “quick-bucks” job listings. These are non-academic job listings, like retail work, babysitting, tutoring or even dog walking. This feature is necessary to help students find paid work around the District and should be added onto Handshake.
Although I found the old system hard to navigate, one major perk was its obvious advanced search option, which was transferred over to Handshake as well. Students could tailor their search to specific job types such as paid or unpaid, Federal Work Study jobs, internships and, more importantly, quick-bucks jobs — but this last option is now gone.
GW already has the reputation of a “rich kid” school, and with it’s pricey tuition, it can be challenging for students who don’t come from well-off families to live comfortably.
The main issue with the current system is that the previous quick-bucks job offers has been discarded and replaced with only academic-related jobs and internship options. This sends across the message that jobs unrelated to a student’s area of study or professional career are unimportant and unnecessary, whether or not that was the intention.
Although some students might look down on quick-bucks jobs as a waste of time, since they’re unrelated to their academic career, these jobs are necessary for students in need of pocket money for expenses, like groceries and books. In fact, nearly seven out of every 10 college students work part-time, according to research from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. The loss of this valuable resource leads to a loss of an important money resource for many students who might not have the necessary funds to live a standard life in D.C., or just want more money to live comfortably.
Admittedly, Handshake does retain some quick-bucks job listings, like babysitting, tutoring or dog walking. However, students have to search extensively through unrelated results in order to find these obscure jobs. For example, the search option for retail jobs also comes up with many results unrelated to retail, such as unpaid internships. The removal of the specific overall search feature makes the search less efficient and can even discourage students from diverging from academic-related jobs, which are much easier to find in comparison.
GW already has the reputation of a “rich kid” school, and with it’s pricey tuition, it can be challenging for students who don’t come from well-off families to live comfortably. By taking out a seemingly small thing like a search option for quick-bucks jobs, we’re making the University even more inaccessible for certain students by making it more difficult for them to find a job to make ends meet. This is a step backward for GW, which has made many recent efforts, like opening The Store – the campus food pantry – last September, to become more accessible for students.
The lack of a quick-bucks job search option is a great disservice to students who do not have the financial background to live a comfortable life in D.C.
Many of my friends used the quick-bucks job feature in GWork to get easy local jobs in babysitting, dog walking and even tutoring younger students in the last couple of years. Some of these friends have had their babysitting job since their freshman year, and the work has proven to be a necessary monetary source for them. It’s unfortunate that incoming students will not have the same easy and clear accessibility that has assisted so many older students financially. American University currently has the option of quick-bucks jobs in its job search platform to help their students find neighborhood jobs, so GW should as well. With a majority of on-campus jobs being Federal Work Study jobs, taking away this feature makes it even harder for students who were not offered Federal Work Study to find a job for extra cash.
The lack of a quick-bucks job search option is a great disservice to students who do not have the financial background to live a comfortable life in D.C., especially with the high cost of living here. Although GW may have the reputation of a wealthy private school, more than 65 percent of students receive financial aid.
This is an easy situation to fix. Handshake can simply add the quick-bucks search option that GWork had. With just this feature, the University can make a contribution to help many students with their financial situation and make their lives more comfortable.
Raisa Choudhury, a junior majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet opinions writer.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.