I still remember my first year at NEIU as an international student back in 2016, frantically looking for a student aide job.
Coming to a country where I’m not allowed to work affected me financially. There wasn’t much money leftover to buy food, with every cent counting towards paying my tuition. I was living mainly off of junk food instead of proper meals because chips were cheaper. So I searched for jobs through student aide. However, I was met with very limited job postings, maybe two or three openings, which made me feel like NEIU needs to offer more student aide jobs.
Student Aide jobs are available for students registered at least part-time and offer very flexible hours. They’re usually on reserve for students in need and help pay for their tuition while having some leftover money for other personal expenses.
I spent a lot of time searching for jobs on campus and researching about the different opportunities available for me. I started looking for them on College Central, a platform for students to find jobs on and off-campus (including volunteer positions and internships). I realized that searching for a job so late in the semester wasn’t a good idea as most positions fill up quickly. Becoming an office assistant in Enrollment Services was the only thing I found available.
However, the limited job openings did not make me feel hopeless. In order to keep a positive attitude, I reminded myself to continue applying and start my search earlier next semester. This lead me to look at jobs related to student organizations, hoping they had openings available for me.
In my search for employment I found limited part-time opportunities in College Central, which often does not list all current openings throughout the campus buildings.
Another disadvantage of student aid positions students is they require you to be enrolled in a degree program. This means that the people wishing to transfer to a different college or university will have a harder time applying for these positions before they become unavailable. I wanted to apply for on-campus jobs as soon as possible, however I was unsuccessful as I was not registered for classes yet.
As a way of gaining real life experience, I looked for volunteering opportunities within NEIU, which lead me to WTTW Chicago PBS. I answered calls while on air during the pledge drive break of the Visions of Europe program in August. Even though I was gaining experience, I still didn’t have any money, which is why NEIU’s student pantry was a relief.
I heard about the student pantry during my first semester when I was working as a secretary for the business club “Achievers who serve Business and Management.”The pantry provides products and food with a high shelf life to NEIU students and staff who are on a tight budget.
Students get to choose from large quantities of various eatables offered and this can help them save money. In my academic career I have studied at Ryerson University in Toronto and American University in Dubai and have not found a program like the one offered at NEIU.
While the Student Panty already provides quality food for those in need, students might also benefit from stationary or toilet items like paper towels, shower gels, shaving cream and soaps as well as school supplies.