(Featured image credits to MoveToSquamish.com)
In order to make ends meet better during the academic year, it is not uncommon for Quest students to seek employment so as to boost their funds. Many students who are eligible for work study positions may find employment on campus itself, whilst others might prefer employment off-campus.
The realm of off-campus employment at Quest is an interesting one; especially given the typical jobs available to students. Because Squamish is a tourism-driven town, there seems to always be openings in the hospitality and retail industries, fortunately these are also not jobs that require much prior training
There are a number of hubs which are always quite busy and might make for good employment opportunities. First, there is the Tantalus stretch just down the hill, which in many ways is the food street of the Highlands. Many students seek opportunities for work here especially if they don’t have access to a car as commuting without one to Tantalus is quite manageable. Common transport options including biking and busing (walking is possible but too time consuming). Because Quest is quite elevated on a hill, separated by a steep hill from the low laying Tantalus stretch, many students also chose to bike downhill and then take the bus up this hill, this is possible due to the fact that the Squamish public transit it quite accommodating for bicycles.
With a 12% decline, many students choose to bike down and bus up Highlands Way to commute between work and Quest.
In-fact, Squamish is a very bike-friendly town. I remember coming down for work one time and realizing that my bike tires were flat and the chain was squeaking. However, upon pausing to take it to the Tantalus bike shop I was delighted by how nicely they provided help and information. I was further delighted when they insisted on doing all this for free.
Coming back to the subject at hand, another popular hub for students seeking off-campus employment would be Downtown Squamish. Downtown is a center that is always overflowing with tourists as it is quite close to a lot of the grocery shopping centers frequented by travelers to and from Whistler. Especially popular jobs in downtown are to be found in the many retail and grocery shops as well as the many organic cafes. This is opposed to the highlands, wherein regional specific foods run the show. Students who work downtown tend to commute via car, as this side of Squamish is a bit removed from campus.
Finally we have Brackendale, another hub of business where student’s often pursue employment. Brakendale is quite diverse in the opportunities it offers, but largely students here are employed in night-time bars and restaurants. Brackendale is within cycling distance, and like the highlands many students choose to bike down and bus up.
My own experience working off-campus has been extremely valuable; not only in terms of the funds I was able to muster but also in the many things I learned about Squamish, Quest and myself. Learning about Squamish is a given, especially since most of these jobs have to do with hospitality. It is easy to befriend customers in this line of work and make several valuable connections; for example it was through serving a newspaper editor that I was able to become a contributor to his paper.
In terms of learning about Quest, I feel I have certainly become far better in managing my academics and time; having a job outside campus can really work wonders for a schedule. Quest very rightly recommends not working more than 10 hours a week as any more might hinder one’s academic priorities- I found working around this perimeter really put me into a will timed and organized agenda of academics and work.
In terms of learning about myself- the ability to commute to and from work, and also supplement my own expenses during the academic year caused my self-reliance, sense of responsibility, confidence to handle ‘adult’ lifestyles and of course, funds, to surge. As such, it has been a life and lifestyle transforming experience. I would highly recommend any seeking employment to seek value in this lifestyle; provided they plan still to prioritize their academics. All in all, it is also good training for post-graduation life, especially if one plans to pursue a masters degree while simultaneously working.
Celebrating my one-year anniversary of employment at ‘Essence of India’ in the highlands.