Other institutions within the University of New Hampshire System provide work-study opportunities to their students. A student may find themselves in the dining hall, washing dishes for the 2000 students who come in. One of my personal favorites is cleaning the horse barn; a twice daily ritual reserved for the lucky few work-study candidates who desire a truly hands on approach to learning.
When I go online and look-up work-study, I often see lists of benefits that college-aged students reap when they participate in the program; earn money while going to college, develop time management skills, build work ethic, etc. But the funny thing is, those are not the benefits I need to reap as an adult learner. The benefits I need to have must be geared towards my goals, incorporate my experiences and enhance my learning. So as a budding student of teacher training education, I NEED to have a place where I can foster examples of new learning for young people; I NEED to practice the skills of implementing the theory I have encountered during my course work. So I was really curious about how Granite State College work-study could benefit me.
In 2007, when I began looking into utilizing work-study funds as a means of decreasing my reliance on student loans I found that most if not all the jobs listed were in Concord and the surrounding areas. Being from the Seacoast this was a disappointing development. But as I read more I found out I could actually do meaningful work, that would also enhance my studies; utilizing work-study funds I could work in my community where I felt there was a need. This was new information for me. Did you know that work-study funds could be used in the community and not only at the college? A win-win solution.
With the help of Cortney Henry at the Financial Aid office, and the support of my employer, we created an after-school mentoring program (a desperately needed component when working with at-risk youths). Together the students and I created a concrete form for a garden bench and then went on to pour it. After the bench was finished, we then went on and created a garden area for our bench to be displayed in. It was meaningful work which fit in nicely with my degree program and it is a project which continues to grow today. It has created a lasting tribute to the students who participated in the program and they now have a tangible connection in their community. When we make purposeful connections, between people and places in our community, we then share common values which enrich us all.
Now that’s a benefit you can’t put in a pamphlet -- and after all isn’t that what learning should be about?