Series: A Graduate Student’s Guide (On-Campus Jobs)

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Sciences and Technologies MS student

I thought of starting a series called ‘A Graduate Student’s Guide’ that will include individual blogs about finding on-campus jobs, looking for a co-op, and several more! The first one in the series is ‘A Graduate Student’s Guide to finding on-campus jobs’!

After I paid my $300 deposit last summer and decided that RIT was the perfect place for me, I began to explore the numerous resources and opportunities that the university had to offer. After some research, I stumbled upon ‘Handshake’: the online job portal for the university that lists details about the various on-campus jobs as well as internships and co-op listings. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a listing called the ‘Graduate Liaison’ at the Graduate Enrollment Office offering a great working environment and decent pay; I immediately applied for the job knowing that it was only a few months that I arrive at the university and had an interview scheduled for as soon as I came to the country. All this prior research helped me in landing one of the best on-campus jobs which have massively helped me take care of my personal expense whilst pursuing my masters.

A lot of people ask me about the best ways a student can find and land good on-campus jobs; this blog talks about the different ways one can look for jobs on campus and the several jobs available on campus that best suits their interests and helps take care of financial liabilities as an international student.

Research on Handshake 

Handshake is RIT’s online job portal. Almost 90% of the employers on campus post job listings on the portal where the students have to upload their resume as well as other requested documents. These students are then shortlisted by employers and contacted for further interviews. Employers actively post job listings on the portal hence if one has to look for the best jobs on campus, Handshake is your go-to portal.

It is a simple but powerful search tool and alert system that helps students find the best fit for jobs (on as well as off campus) and internships posted by 300,000 companies, non-profits, and government organizations.

Visit this link to access Handshake. (Please note that the portal is only accessible to students after they have paid their $300)

Dining Services 

RIT Catering manages tons of events both on and off-campus and they are always looking for people who are friendly, punctual, and ready to help bring food and drinks to some of the most exclusive RIT events! Lots of the events that RIT Catering handles take place on campus for art gallery openings, club and organization meetings, and even the annual president’s ball which gives you an awesome chance to meet new people ranging from faculty in some of RIT’s academic colleges all the way up to RIT’s current president! Catering also is responsible for lots of the food at the RIT hockey games so chances are that landing a job here means you will get to watch lots of games for free! Dining Services offers the most number of jobs on campus and they are relatively easier to land. Students can look for postings on Handshake or simply visit a dining facility and ask for open positions.

Note Taking

Because RIT shares a campus with NTID (the National Technical Institute for the Deaf), many classes will require a designated Note Taker for some of our deaf or hard of hearing students. People need to be very reliable for this position because you are not allowed to miss any classes. This person, normally a student, clocks in before their classes, takes notes on the lecture, submits the notes, and then clocks out. Because note takers work during their class time, you end up feeling like you are being paid to go to class and if you already take good notes then this might be the perfect job for you!

Teaching/Research/Graduate Assistants

After their first semesters at the university, a majority of graduate students end up finding graduate/teaching/research assistantships under their professors that provide them exposure working with experienced people in the industry or gives them an opportunity to research in their field of interest. These jobs offer a fixed stipend or tuition waiver opportunities and are one of the favorite on-campus jobs for students that look impressive on the resume as well.

Each department offers a certain number of graduate assistantships to the students at the start of the fall semester. Teaching and Research Assistantships are offered by particular professors and they are to be approached directly.

I ended up finding a Lab Assistant opening at the Information Sciences and Technologies department through a friend who was graduating that semester. Through his recommendation, I was able to bag an interview with the Head Systems Administrator for the department and ended up getting the job. Recommendations work wonders when finding any kind of job (whether on campus or off campus) and one should always be on the lookout for such opportunities through friends, colleagues or mentors.

Peer Advisor Leaders/Student Government/Global Union Ambassador

Several students organization at RIT like the International Student Services, Global Union and the Student Government offer several part-time opportunities to the students interested in being a part of such organizations. The ISS offers the positions of graduate assistants and Peer Advisor Leaders (PALS) that offer their services during the orientation period and help incoming students with a smooth transition into the university and the life in the US. Global union ambassadors perform similar duties year-long on campus. Student government offers certain positions as well (eg. the graduate senator) to students interested in holding a certain amount of power and responsibility among the student body. Listings for these jobs are sent out through emails and special postings on-campus groups or handshake.

My RIT Journey – A summary

by Anthony Gutierrez, Mechanical Engineering ME student

One and a half years ago I decided to follow a crazy dream, to come to the United States and pursue my master’s degree. If that’s not scary enough, I also decided to go to RIT, one of the top 100 universities in the nation. I’m not going to lie to you, I was a little scared when I arrived to RIT – those big brick buildings can be a little intimidating on the first sight. Luckily my fears started to disappear as soon as my classes started.

I can still remember my first day of class like if it was yesterday. The day before classes started, I was so nervous that I couldn’t sleep, and, because of that, I arrived late to my first class. I remember how my plan of keeping a low profile on the first days went down the toilet as soon as I opened the door of my classroom and everyone (including the professor) turned around to look at me. Luckily professor told me: “Don’t worry, it’s the first day” and everyone else just laughed.

Because I didn’t do my undergrad studies here in RIT (or in the US), I was afraid of not having the required level and being behind the rest of the class. Since day one, all my professors made me forget this fear. It’s amazing the level of care the professors have for their students here in RIT, and the accessibility that you as a student have towards them. There is no such thing as a “stupid question” for them, and you can go at any time during their office hours to ask all your doubts.

In terms of fitting into the RIT community, I can assure you that you’ll find your place in it. You can easily realize the amount of diversity in the campus by not just looking at the student population, but also hearing students speak multiple languages around the campus. Even though we are considered to be a university of “nerds” by many, you’ll find tons of fun activities to do in the campus each week and, joining any of the 100+ student clubs will help you make friends.

Throughout my three semesters in RIT I grew as a professional and I made friends from around the world. I gained core skills in my profession as a Mechanical Engineer, and I also gained real experience. During the summer I was able to do an internship with a company here in Rochester which helped me earn a lot of experience and some money too. And now that I’m reaching the end of my program, I found another internship in California with my dream company Apple.

If you are thinking about coming to RIT, I can assure that you won’t regret it! Don’t be afraid of crazy dreams, and don’t be afraid of failing. You are your own limitation, so if you want to reach the stars, simply don’t put any limitations in yourself 😀