All in a day’s work

Jobs help students grow and capture their individuality

By Reem Abutabikh

Many students on campus have unique jobs that both capture their artistic talents and help them grow as individuals. They are doing what they love and earning a few extra dollars in the process.

Students work at a variety of places and have a wide range of jobs. Each person has different qualifications, with varying reasons for working where they do.

“I am a professional mermaid,” sophomore Zoie Smith said.

Smith said her job requires her to entertain at kids’ birthday parties by dressing up in a mermaid costume and planning fun activities like face-painting and educational story time.

“I’ve always liked mermaids since I was little, and then I figured, you know what, there were always party princesses, but who’s ever seen a mermaid with a real tail that can swim?” Smith said. “… Nobody ever has that, so I figured that would be something unique to try. When I was little, I [thought], ‘when I grow up I’m going to be a mermaid.’ And everybody [said], ‘you can’t be a mermaid,’ so I was like, ‘hey you know what, I can be a mermaid.’ I want to be unique … everything in my life is different, so I wanted to be different.”

Smith said she dresses up as a mermaid at birthday parties and other events.

“I usually have my helper pull me on a little red wagon into whichever venue we’re at,” Smith said. “And I tell educational stories and have a little box of seashells that I pass around to the kids … I tell them what kind of creature lives in each seashell and stuff like that. Then I have the parents and the kids chant [happy birthday], and then I swim for them in the water, and … spend the rest of the time playing pool games and, of course, giving extra attention to whoever the birthday child is. So it’s a lot of fun for me and the kids.”

While not everyone can be a mermaid, some students with more “generic” jobs are gaining life experience, too.

Junior Ciara Barrows, for example, is a courtesy clerk at Zanotto’s market.

“It’s amazing. I love working there,” Barrows said. “It’s not mainly what I do, it’s kind of the atmosphere, [because] it’s a family owned business, so everyone is usually happy there and it feels like I’m part of the family, so it just makes me happy to go to work there … Customers just come in and are just – they’re regulars, so it’s nice to like know them, talk about their lives and stuff like that.”

Both Smith and Barrows said they have grown as individuals and their jobs have helped them become better people and stronger students.

Barrows said students shouldn’t be afraid of following their dreams and taking the initiative to get a job they like.

“Go for it. You never know how it’s going to end up if you just think, ‘oh, this might be fun’ and then you don’t try it. You know, you really gotta go out there and be proactive about it, and try everything out, because … you might not get this opportunity again,” Barrows said.