No food, no retail: Odd jobs


Uncommon college student jobs

Lindsay Miller

Behind the scenes of a bridal show, McKenzie Henninger can be found racing up and down hallways on equipment carts. She and her coworkers are proof that having a part-time job in college can still be fun.

“Everyone I work with is very close,” said Henninger, a freshman early childhood education major. “This creates an exciting and enjoyable work environment. Working the bridal shows [has created] many of my favorite memories. Most of the time, all of the people I work with at these shows are the people I am closest to. We always mess around with each other.”

Henninger is a DJ at Beach Boyz Entertainment. She got involved with Beach Boyz in high school from her involvement in show choir. In a little more than a year, Henninger was promoted to DJ.

“When I started working for this company, I was placed in a position called the party motivator,” Henninger said. “After building a rapport, I started to work bridal shows and assist in acquiring potential clients. My bosses were very impressed with my performances, so they offered me a position as a DJ.”

Henninger’s job is not a “typical job” for a college student. According to, the best and most common college student jobs include being a tutor, babysitter, barista, waiter or tour guide.

While a lot of college students find themselves holding retail and food service jobs, they aren’t the only ones available for a part-time paycheck.

Sophomore interior design major Katelyn Hannigan gets to dictate her own hours for her job. As a Mary Kay consultant, Hannigan has the ability to do what she wants, when she wants.

“What is nice about Mary Kay is I am my own boss, so I choose my own hours,” Hannigan said. “My major is very time-consuming and is always changing, so I never have a set schedule to fit in work time, but whenever I have free time within my schedule, I try to set up appointments with clients.”

As a Mary Kay consultant, Hannigan sells makeup and gives makeup and facial cleansing advice and free facials.

Not having a set schedule, though, also has its downfalls.

“It is very difficult to keep up because everyone’s schedules are so different,” Hannigan said. “A lot of times, you can’t find a time to work for both you and your client.”

Senior interior design major, Junica Cushing, also has the ability to dictate her own hour load. As an online design consultant for Tarkett North America, Cushing sends her availability to her boss, who then creates her schedule.

“My job is perfect for my class schedule,” Cushing said. “I just email my supervisor my availability for every month and she makes me work schedule for nights and weekends when I do not have class.”

Cushing’s job is an online job where she has the ability to work from anywhere with an Internet connection, and she is able to do homework when she isn’t helping a customer.

“My job is to log on to the chat program and chat with customers who are looking for design help,” Cushing said. “I give advice on the best type of flooring for their project or wants and help them coordinate flooring with colors and other finishes they have in their home. I also help direct customers around the site and to technical support if they need it.”

Cushing said there are drawbacks to having a flexible, online job.

“I think the biggest challenge is that when I have eight hour shifts, I’m stuck in one place and I do not get to interact with people like I would if I had a food service or retail job,” Cushing said. “Sometimes I get restless just sitting at home with my laptop waiting for customers to come online to chat.”

As students, Cushing, Hannigan and Henninger all said they have to work around their hectic school schedules. All three found jobs that are fun and different, yet work around their class schedules.

It isn’t hard to find flexible, part-time jobs that aren’t considered normal, as Cushing and Henninger both said they work with other students.

“Other than me there are about seven or eight other college students [at Beach Boyz],” Henninger said. “Most of these students attend either Kent [State] or Akron. All of the other employees that are not in college use Beach Boyz as a part-time, weekend job for a little extra money. I think this is a great idea. I have fun every time I go to an event. I love my job.”

To find off-campus jobs like theirs, you can check out websites like to search for jobs by location, category and industry.

Contact Lindsay Miller at [email protected]