Working on a college campus is nothing like a work-study job. Graduate Assistant Ashely Tisdale shares how working with college students can prepare you for managing any workforce.
The night before I taught my first college course, I had a panic attack. I worried if my students would like me, what I would teach, if I could teach, and if my students would take me seriously. Although I was nervous I realized all the career prep I was gaining from my job. Here’s how working with college students can help you thrive in any workforce.
In my classrooms, I teach about 22 students twice a week. That means that twice a week I deal with 22 different personalities. Teaching has afforded me the opportunity to interact with diverse groups of people in a way that would certainly impress any employer interested in my ability to work within groups or as the leader of one (or many).
Not all jobs are a team sport. Some of the best account and sales positions require you to work alone. At the writing center I had to check in on my clients and provide them with the assistance and resources they needed— with no input from my boss. By rising to the occasion, I was preparing to work independently, no matter the position.
As a teacher and writing consultant I had to share constructive feedback so that writers could improve their work. As one might imagine, not everyone takes feedback well. Although those moments were hard, I learned how to defend my decisions. Students and clients often want an answer as to why what they said was “wrong.” I learned how to identify the error and explain it so that they might improve.
I thought that it would be easy to get my students and clients like working if they liked me, but I was wrong. What makes students and clients do their best work is respect. If the people you are guiding respect you, it will be easier to get them to work. I earned respect by being on time, being prepared, learning more, and owning my mistakes.
Although I know that I am qualified for my jobs, sometimes I still have pangs of doubt. Most of these feelings come from the fact that I am not much older than my students. But working with young adults has given me the confidence to know that doing a good job is not a matter of age. Instead it is a matter of skill, effort, and ability.
If you’re thinking about going back to campus, know you’ll be more than prepared to enter any workforce.