By Shayna Herszage, Managing Editor
I have been a student employee since January 2020, when I started working as a tutor in the Beren Campus Writing Center. A year later, I also took on the role of working in the Gottesman Library on the Wilf Campus. These two experiences have been enlightening, rewarding, and, in many cases, a lot of fun. For those who are able to make the time, I recommend being a student employee because of the different perspective student employees have as members of the Yeshiva University community.
Helping others grants a person a special form of self-fulfillment and interpersonal connection. In fact, according to research such as that of Raposa, Laws, and Ansell (2015), there is empirical proof that helping other people decreases a person’s stress, strengthens their interpersonal connections, and, in short, makes the helper feel good — the positive impacts of helping others go both ways. When I help someone find a book or take the next step in writing an essay, I feel like I have come to understand one of my peers on a deeper level than before. Not only do I now know their name, their hometown, and some of the more commonplace information, but I also know many of the inner workings of their mind — what they care enough to write about, and why they care. After a Writing Center session or after helping someone in the library, my fellow student and I have accomplished something together, and that builds an incredible, uncommon bond.
Additionally, as a student employee, I have learned more than I originally expected when I took on the roles. Until I began working at the library, finding a book among the many floors of shelves was an overwhelming task. The rows of numbers and letters on the spines of the books looked like gibberish to me, and I was never even sure which floor each book would be on unless I asked a librarian. A few weeks ago, after a semester of working in the library, I embarked on a mission in my spare time to find about a dozen books in the Wilf library to use as sources for my term papers. I had experienced this journey before, and it was typically stressful. However, my hours of shelving library books had changed the experience entirely; no longer was I aimless and confused as I wandered the fourth floor. Rather, I knew exactly where I was going, and the stress of finding books was removed entirely.
I have also come to learn a lot as a Writing Center tutor. Even after a grueling semester of Composition and Rhetoric, I did not fully understand many of the terms my English professors used. For their assignments, I wrote what I thought seemed correct, but I truly felt that I was in the dark nonetheless. After countless hours of explaining and discussing terms such as “genuine question” to subsequent Composition and Rhetoric students, I came to understand the elements of a well-written essay on a much deeper level. Now I do not only understand what to write and how to write it, but why I am writing in that way. Had I never had my many enlightening discussions with fellow students about the elements of a good paper, I may never have reached this level of understanding.
It would be foolish of me to state that everyone should be a student employee. It is not always economically or academically reasonable to take on the positions, and there are certainly not enough student employee positions to satisfy every student in Yeshiva University. However, for those who have the ability to be a student employee, I recommend the experience. Not only can being a student employee give you the ability to help others within your university, but it may help you learn more yourself as well.