Digital Diaries Season 3 Episode 3: Do You Love Your Campus Job?



For National Student Employment Week, The Daily spoke to student workers about their jobs and why they love them.

MIKA ELLISON: Two weeks ago was National Student Employment Week, at least according to the Norris University Center. To show my appreciation for student workers, I decided to bother them while they worked.


MIKA ELLISON: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Mika Ellison. This is Digital Diaries, a weekly podcast following the college experience and asking students questions about life at Northwestern. This week, I asked people one important question:

MIKA ELLISON: Do you love your job?

MIKA ELLISON: Do you love your job?

MIKA ELLISON: Do you love your campus job?

MIKA ELLISON: Do you love your campus job?

MIKA ELLISON: To hear their answers, listen on.

[scribble noise]

MIKA ELLISON: Hundreds of students pass through University Library every day. But what about the student workers that help the library function? I spoke with Weinberg junior Lalla-Aicha Adouim, who describes her job as a welcome desk attendant.

[sound of people swiping in]

LALLA-AICHA ADOUIM: Basically, I either sit here or at the Deering welcome desk, and it’s usually just like if people lose their wildcard I’m supposed to let them in and stuff like that.

MIKA ELLISON: And do you love your job?

LALLA-AICHA ADOUIM: Yeah, you know what, it pays well. Well, it’s minimum wage, but it’s an easy job. And I get to do my homework during it so good, like, built-in study hours.

MIKA ELLISON: Adouim usually works the night shift from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., which she describes as peaceful. McCormick sophomore Herbert Botwe agrees that University Library’s best quality is tranquility. As a library security aide, he patrols the floors of the library periodically.

HERBERT BOTWE: It’s so peaceful. I get to study while I work. And that’s what makes it awesome. The perfect day is a Saturday morning. I don’t have people coming and going.

[sound of the library]

MIKA ELLISON: Botwe’s job also includes looking for lost items in the stacks. Adouim says patrons often lose the one essential item they need to get into the library.

LALLA-AICHA ADOUIM: You would be surprised by how many Northwestern kids cannot remember their Wildcard. At this point, I also know people who lose it most frequently so I can recognize their names. I’m just like, “ How do you lose it this often?” It’s funny. No shade to anyone. It’s just really funny.

MIKA ELLISON: Medill sophomore Ysa Quiballo works at the Information Commons desk at University Library.

MIKA ELLISON: Do you love your job?

YSA QUIBALLO: I do love my job so much. I feel like this is one of the most coveted jobs because all I do is sit and do what I would usually do, but at this desk. The most common questions are, “How do I print?” and “Where’s the bathroom?” and I know the answer to those two questions. So it’s quite an enjoyable time.

MIKA ELLISON: Quiballo actually started working at the desk before starting at NU. She’s following in the footsteps of her father, who also works at University Library. She says part of the reason why working at the IC desk is fun is because of the unique atmosphere students create.

YSA QUIBALLO: I feel like a lot of my fun moments are when I can offer some sense of peace to other students who are really struggling to figure things out. One time, last week, the three hole puncher wasn’t working. And all of this person’s papers got stuck in it. So they were like, “Oh, I just needed the credit to print this. Can I take the entire three hole punch to my class just to get this credit?” I was like, “Yeah, you can take it. I have the power to tell you that you can take it.”

MIKA ELLISON: For Quiballo, a perfect day at the desk includes interacting with other student workers.

YSA QUIBALLO: This actually isn’t part of the job at all. But friends will pass by and be like, “Oh, I’m picking something up from the cafe. Do you want something?” And I’m like, “Yes, I do.” Free drinks. I would love it. Because they just know I’m stuck here at the desk, which is really nice.

MIKA ELLISON: I spoke to Brew Coffee Lab barista and Medill sophomore Darya Tadlaoui about being a part of Northwestern’s student-staffed cafe.

[sound of Brew Coffee Lab]

DARYA TADLAOUI: The atmosphere is also just a lot more chill. We play our own music and we control the aux and everything. And everyone’s very supportive. Everyone knows we’re also students. So we’re also supporting each other, talking about schoolwork or stuff that we’re doing while we’re pulling espresso shots. So it’s a great environment.

MIKA ELLISON: Tadlaoui says her favorite drink to make is fruit tea. She and her coworkers experiment all the time, even putting espresso shots in matcha. Lately, they’ve been branching out and making smoothies.

DARYA TADLAOUI: We have a bunch of frozen fruit, in the freezer in the back that we never use. It’s supposed to be for boba, but no one ever really orders it. So it’s just sitting there. And now that the weather’s been getting warmer, we were like, we should just start making smoothies because we have the blenders for them.

MIKA ELLISON: Workers at the Cage, NU’s place to check out video and recording equipment, also talked about the joy of hanging out with coworkers. Here’s Communication senior Caroline Bates, who describes herself as an Equipment Cage Guru on her LinkedIn.

CAROLINE BATES: I love working at the Cage. It’s kind of become a hangout spot for a lot of us. Even when we’re not on shift, we still just stop by and hang out. I think Nick’s been off for like two hours now.

NICK KAPP: Yeah, my shift ended at 12. It’s now 2:30.

MIKA ELLISON: I had actually caught Bates in the middle of making a coworker family tree.

CAROLINE BATES: It’s kind of a tradition. We have our two bosses at the top. We’re making a Cage family tree that’s just all of our coworkers based on vibes.

MIKA ELLISON: Bates says the atmosphere makes working at the Cage a great campus job.

CAROLINE BATES: I think it’s really the people that make the Cage so great. I think because we all are friends outside of work and we all do film sets together.There’s never a lack of things to talk about.

MIKA ELLISON: Communication junior Sienna Cammarota agrees.

SIENNA CAMMAROTA: It feels much more like getting paid to hang out with your friends than, you know, ”Oh man, I gotta go to my job.”

MIKA ELLISON: Many coworkers at the Cage are friends, so birthdays and other special occasions mean lots of festivities.

CAROLINE BATES: There’s always celebrations. Yeah, he brought in a cake for his birthday and celebrated here at work. It’s Employee Appreciation Week. And so today our boss gave us these like little cactus candles and cinnamon rolls.

MIKA ELLISON: Whether it’s cactus candles, three-hole punches or homemade smoothies, according to these students, campus jobs can be more than just a paycheck: they’re a community.


MIKA ELLISON: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Mika Ellison. Thanks for listening to the third episode of Digital Diaries Season 3. This episode was reported by me and produced by Bettina Sanchez Cordova. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is myself, the digital managing editors are Ava Mandoli and Erica Schmitt, and the editor in chief is Alex Perry. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MikaEllison23

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