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On the Job with Aranza: Learning through Student Employment

As part of our Student Employment Office blog series, I spend my time interviewing students about their term-time jobs on campus. Aranza Caballero is one of our interviewees, and she shared about her growth and development through her experience working as a Dorm Crew captain. Here’s the transcription from our interview!

student employee


Aranza is a sophomore in Currier House studying History and Science with a secondary in Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights. She was raised in Northern Mexico, but currently lives in the bordertown of Brownsville, TX. She is interested in working with minority and under resourced communities to help provide health services and fight health disparities. In her free time, she loves to go for runs, watch Spanish TV shows and make too many Latin music playlists.

Amy Zhao: Did you have previous work experience in high school?

Aranza Caballero: The summer before the freshmen would start school, we would hold a week-long camp and be mentors for them… I saw it as a really fun opportunity to develop my own skills, while being a part of a team and a leader - it was also great that I was getting paid for it.

AZ: Did you enter college already knowing that you wanted to work during the term time?

ACI knew I wanted to work on campus, so I did Fall Clean-Up with Dorm Crew, a freshman pre-orientation program that was a lot of fun and where I met some of my closest friends today. During the Fall Clean-Up, Dorm Crew was promoting the fact that you can work during the term, and since it worked with my schedule, it was great pay, and I had met really cool people through the program, I thought to myself, “Why not keep doing it?” so it became part of my transition into college.

AZ: It was great that you found a community to work with before school even started! After you started your job with Dorm Crew, was there anything that really stood out to you or surprised you as part of the work?

ACI think one of the things that I found really surprising - but in a good way - was the people I was working with. We were spending so much time together, and I didn’t expect it to be an opportunity to meet new friends, but it became that. Now that I’m a captain now, we train new workers for Spring Clean-up coming up, and freshmen will also be coming in as trial captains. It’s a great new way for me to become a mentor and also become friends with them, so I’m also excited for that.

AZ: It sounds like it’s been really similar to your experience coaching the high school freshmen before?

ACI just really enjoy being part of a bigger team and wow, now that I think about it, there’s a lot of similarities [laughs] I had not even thought about that before. During the term, it’s more individual, but during the Clean-ups, you’re part of a team, you’re representing the organization, and you’re in charge of a group of people but just because you’re supervising them, it doesn’t mean that you’re not working with them, since it’s a very mutual relationship. I personally think that I have grown a lot through it, as a leader, as a team member, as a person in general, and really develop work ethic.

student in storage closet

AZ: Oh that’s great! There’s a lot of things that you pick up on the job that might also be transferable to other things, so have you found that your experience in Dorm Crew has helped in other areas of school? Not necessarily academic, but also like other areas of your life?

ACI think one of the things that has translated is my ability to ask for help. So during high school, I was very much on my own and I knew what to do, but in college, I realized that the same method wasn’t going to work. I wasn’t really sure how to be okay with asking for help, but with Dorm Crew, specifically the Spring Clean-ups, you need to ask for help because there are things that come up unexpectedly and you don’t know what to do. When I was applying to be a captain, I wanted to make sure that I was performing well, so I really learned how to reach out to others to ask if there is anything that I can improve on. So I feel like I have been able to translate that into my academics and personal life, with my adviser and my friends.

AZ: So like generally getting and responding to feedback?

ACYeah, like getting feedback and turning that feedback into improvement and growth. I don’t think I realized until recently that I’ve become more comfortable with that idea, and I think that’s one thing I can pinpoint exactly how working with Dorm Crew has helped. And in general, I get to interact with different people and work in different situations that helped me grow and become a better version of myself.

AZ: Do you have any advice to give to incoming students about either Dorm Crew or student employment in general?

ACPersonally, there’s the financial benefit of working, but I think it’s also a great way to meet other people and to contribute to the community whether you’re cleaning dorms or you’re helping with financial aid and reaching out to other students. I picked Dorm Crew because it worked really well with my schedule - it’s very flexible, there’s very high pay which obviously really helps, and once I saw what a great community that it could be, I wanted to be a part of that.

There’s so many different opportunities and I definitely encourage incoming students to explore and decide what’s best for them. Just because you get paid for it, doesn’t mean it necessarily is a job, because you can get so much more out of it than just monetary benefits. I definitely feel like I’ve grown a lot more through my employment than if I hadn’t been employed by the university.


About the author

Hi everyone! My name is Amy, and I’m from Milpitas, CA, a city nestled in the Silicon Valley. As a senior in the class of 2018, I’ll be graduating (knock on wood!) with a concentration... View full profile

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