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FROM READERS: How losing a work-study job has affected one student

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | 7:40 p.m. CDT

Caitlin Kerfin is a journalism student at MU who is minoring in religious studies. She is from the southwest suburbs of Chicago.

This story is running in conjunction with a Missourian article about cuts in the work-study program. 

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Some students had their work study cut this year, leaving students without a job and professors with fewer workers.

Students can apply for work study through financial aid, and if they qualify, can receive around$1,000 per semester at an hourly job on campus that they choose. Working on campus also allows students without a car to make money, as well. Jobs vary from desk attendant at the library to research assistants for professors. It’s really beneficial for both sides because students get work experience and money for school while teachers basically get free workers.

I started my work study job my freshman year. I'm a junior now, and it has opened up a great number of opportunities for me. I worked at the Center on Religion and the Professions/Religion Newswriters in the journalism school updating their websites, writing press releases, managing social media and organizing information. Doing these things meant that I was able to get real experience in the field of journalism right away, and being a journalism major, I was able to meet some professors like Debra Mason and establish a relationship with them before I was even in their class.

This sounds great right? Well, some students who benefited from this work study program have had their grant cut in their financial aid package. I was one of them.

Not only was my work study job a great resume builder, but it also helped me develop a passion for writing about religion. This summer I was able to help launch the new ColumbiaFAVS website, which publishes local religion news while creating a forum for faith groups and linking to national religion news.

Being a part of big things like this was only possible because I was earning money at the same time. If I had not had that work study job, I would have probably end up working at a restaurant or grocery store, if I could even find a job that is, and not doing what I'm passionate about. I'm immensely grateful for the opportunities I have been given thus far, but it is unfortunate it must end my junior year and it is a shame many freshmen will never be able to experience the program’s benefits. The astounding professors we have at Mizzou give invaluable mentorship that some students can only utilize if they have the time to devote to it. If they had a job at a fast food restaurant to make money for school they probably wouldn’t have time to work with professors and take classes.

I am still able to keep my job, however because of the work study cuts, I won't be able to get paid for it. While I want to continue the work I’ve been doing for three years, I won't be able to do as much as I have been because I need to look for another job to make money for school. 

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor Joy Mayer.


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