Students bolster earnings with summer jobs

By Kalyn Cooper

While some of her friends will be shopping for suits and preparing for their real-world internships this summer, Jackie Hilderbrand, freshman in applied life studies, will be entertaining customers and serving food at a restaurant.

Many University students are headed back to their hometowns this summer to pursue a temporary job as a server, like Hilderbrand, or a variety of other blue-collar activities.

Hilderbrand said she is excited for her job at Jimmy’s Grill in Naperville, Ill., because she gets to meet a lot of people and make money for next fall.

“I definitely overspent this year,” Hilderbrand said. “I am out to make as much money as possible for next year; I had no idea how much money it cost to be at college.”

Hilderbrand said she was lucky to get the job at the well-known restaurant, and her family connections helped her find out who was hiring.

“My dad’s a cop, and he knew the owner of the restaurant because he used to go over there for noise complaints all the time,” she said. “They became friends and Jimmy was happy to help me out when I said I was looking for a serving position.”

While Hilderbrand is excited to be making money for the summer, Katie Hennessy, sophomore in ACES, said she wanted to work as a lifeguard regardless of the low pay. She said it will be her third summer lifeguarding.

“I get days off whenever I need them, and usually I’m working outside in beautiful weather,” she said. “Even if I work until close, there’s still time for me to go home and go out with my friends.”

Luke Lundgren, junior in ACES, said he also is looking forward to working with his friends for the summer in his job as a house painter.

“My friend called to tell me he was going to paint houses this summer and I thought it sounded like a good idea,” Lundgren said. “You can’t really complain about working outside, hanging with your friends and listening to music.”

Lundgren said he originally wanted to get an internship, but he sent out applications too late. He said he’s now excited that he gets to create his own schedule with his new job.

“It will probably be about 40-hour weeks, but I get to make my own hours and work on my own terms,” he said. “Having that control over my schedule allows me to hang out with my friends and take vacations if I want to.”

Hilderbrand said working at a restaurant might hurt her social schedule, but she is confident that her summer position will be worth the hard work.

“On a good night, you can make thirty dollars an hour, and some Fridays and Saturdays servers will take home three or four hundred dollars,” she said.

Hilderbrand said she won’t start looking into internships until she gets older, but she thinks some internships aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

“Sometimes, people can end up in unpaid internships while they stand around and make the coffee,” she said. “It’s good to put on a resum‚, but you don’t get the experience you’re looking for.”

Hennessy said she looked into several internships, but she saw returning to the guard chair as an opportunity to relax before reality starts.

“A lot of the internships I looked into only hire juniors or seniors,” Hennessy said. “I knew this was my last chance to have fun over the summer without facing a real job and the real world.”