Welcome to summer … When does school start?

Caitlin Brown

It’s the middle of April, high past time to be looking for a summer job. Everyone needs one. We like those gas-guzzling cars of ours and clothes, shoes, movies and restaurants. So to the city we troop, scouting for those pieces of paper that could hold the future of our summer between their minuscule lines.

If you’re like me, you’re looking for a job – one you’ve never tried – this summer. I’ve enjoyed all the jobs I’ve held in past summers, but I’m always looking for new experiences – new people to meet. Feeling ambitious one Saturday, I headed out to a local shopping area and collected 10 applications from restaurants, clothing and pet stores. I was looking very professional in khakis and cute shoes that nonetheless leave you hobbling. I hope the people from Kohl’s noticed my entire outfit was from their store.

Going around to 10 places takes a lot of time, so I finally went home. Three hours and a crick in the neck later, I was done filling out the applications. I took my time. I wrote neatly and legibly and all that. By the time I was done, I did have a firm sense of accomplishment but also had some questions of my own I wanted answered.

First of all, what happened to not ever really needing your social security number? Maybe it’s essential for the business to know whether they can offer me a job, but I can’t help but feel a little vulnerable putting those numerals on there for all to see.

Every time I fill out applications like this I form a strong sense of identity with monks – we’re talking monks of the illuminated manuscript era. Hunched over the kitchen table, my Paper Mate Grip pen in hand, slowly, slowly writing and checkmarking the same information in various configurations of torturously small boxes makes me keenly feel for their plight. And that’s another thing – you know when you start to memorize the ZIP code of the place you worked at two years ago for about a month that it’s time to call it a night. It’s also an eerie feeling to be able to write your high school cross country coach’s home phone number down without even looking it up.

And now that I mention looking things up, why does a company need to know the exact day you started your first job (or second or third)? Allow me to go dig up my detailed calendar from sophomore year. Oh yes, here it is, the date brightly outlined in stars and hearts – my first job. Sorry, but no such luck. The best I can do is approximations, and sometimes just the month has to suffice.

It’s April, and I need a job. By gathering 10 applications, I figure my odds of getting some calls for interviews are pretty good. Whatever job I end up getting, I’m sure it’ll be a good experience.

I’ve had three jobs in my life, and adding a fourth one will be kind of fun, I imagine. A small part of me – a part almost as small as the space into which you cram everything you know about your current employer – sighs a little, however. Having a job means a uniform and sensible shoes, layaways and sour customers. But it also means gas in the tank and movie tickets in the purse, and that, dear job applicants, is worth any amount of boxes and check marks.

Caitlin Brown is a freshman nursing major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].