By: Grace Beckner
Bethany Maynard, a freshman majoring in Elementary Education, was busy working four jobs before campus closed because of Covid-19.
She divided her time between a work study in Mackey, a job as a childcare worker in Brentwood, a job as a dance teacher at a local preschool, as well as a job at a weekly ministry dedicated to serving a meal to those who are currently experiencing homelessness.
“I have jobs outside of Trevecca that count on me, so I had to contact them and apologize that I couldn’t work for them until next year,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the students of Trevecca Nazarene University in a variety of ways, one of them being financial and employment struggles.
Like many of her peers, Maynard’s initial concerns regarding classes being moved to an online format had a lot to do with her employment and financial status.
“I was also concerned about what that meant for my payments for the rest of the semester, and I wanted to make sure I would be compensated for not using my food plan and dorm room,” she said.
Abby Wright is a Music Education major and worked as a custodian cleaning the Bud Robinson building on campus. She was worried about letting her boss know that she could no longer work.
“I didn’t know if I needed to contact my boss to let him know that I would be unable to work, or if he would know about the situation already,” she said.
The university is gathering resources for students who need jobs and internships, said Michelle Gaertner, the associate dean of student success and the coordinator of student disability services.
Students facing loss of employment should check out the Handshake app, she said.
The Center for Student Development and Career Services is currently sending out links regarding the app in their weekly newsletters to try to ensure that Trevecca students and alumni are making the most out of this job resource, no matter where they are in the country.
Gaertner also oversees the university’s student work program.
“The goal of the iWork program is to provide students with an opportunity to use their work earnings from on or off campus jobs to help pay for school, and to develop professionally through work experiences and programming events,” she said.
While there may not be any students on campus right now, Gaertner says that it is still important for the university to make information and opportunities about jobs and internships readily available.
“Faculty advisors are working individually with the students facing internship challenges and helping them to find solutions,” said Gaertner. “Many organizations are providing virtual career fairs, from which we are forwarding information to the academic departments to determine if these would be a good option for our students.”
Gaertner would also encourage students to use this time to research jobs in their field of study, develop their resumes, and practice interview skills. She suggests that students try to network with faculty and other people in their desired occupation through resources such as the Handshake app, to stay optimistic, and to be patient in this uncertain time.
“Once campus opens back up, we will provide information on opportunities for on campus work,” she said. “I would like to remind our students that we are here and available to field questions or concerns.”