My Work Study Experience
by Emilie Peedin
College is a hard time for everyone involved, especially being on an equestrian team. Between your team, classes, homework, clubs and maintaining a social life, its hard to find time for much else. So how could you possibly factor in a way to also receive some extra spending money for your time at St. Andrews University? Finding a good work study position that you enjoy while also having time for everything else will be challenging but very rewarding.
As I spent a few months at school my freshman year, I started to feel bad for relying on my parents for money every week. A few of my friends held work study positions around the school but I never thought I would have the time or energy between lessons, the hunter seat team and classes. Eventually I decided I would investigate work study at the barn. I knew that barn management was something that I planned on doing as a career at some point in my life as well. Gaining experience in a barn setting as large as the one at St. Andrews would be beneficial on a future resume and I knew I would gain a lot of new knowledge and skills from spending so much time there. After talking to multiple people at the barn, I was able to fill out the paper work to officially work as work study.
I began at the boarder barn for my first day, where I would continue working for the next three years. I didn’t know what to expect when I first started but chores were pretty simple. The most difficult part was that at this time, there was little help with work study at this barn, this meant that I did most of the work by myself with the help of the barn manager. I worked the afternoon shift at this time, this meant that horses were fed at 3:00 and would be turned out when they were done eating. After all of the horses were out, I would dump water buckets, scrub them and refill them for the next day. After waters were done, hay was set out for the next day as well as for night check. This is how I would spend my afternoons for the rest of freshman year.
Get Up and Get Going!
Eventually, morning shifts became easier for me as my workload increased. Not only were these morning shifts easier on my schedule, but they also forced me to get up early and start the day. This showed me that by getting up earlier, I could accomplish more things rather than sleeping until I had to leave for class. By working early in the morning, I was more prepared for my day and was more awake and prepared for class. I also have morning shifts to thank for my accountability. Instead of staying up all night studying or watching Netflix, I would need to go to bed earlier to wake up in the morning. Many new college students struggle with accountability due to being on their own for the first time, taking a work study position can help keep this from happening as well.
As I went into my sophomore and junior year, I slowly took on more hours as well as becoming more involved with the equestrian program and teams. Keeping up with schoolwork was hard at times, especially when I was tired, but I was able to push through. Eventually I joined the western team and my time was filled with twice as many practices and lessons. This taught me how to manage my time and how to push myself to keep going instead of quitting altogether.
I worked at the boarder barn for three years and was very familiar with all the horses. This part of the farm also includes the St. Andrews dressage and therapeutic horses along with horses that need medical attention from the vet. I gained experience in everyday care of horses beyond what I had previously been exposed to such as the isolation period for returning horses, taking temperatures and other treatments needed for horses under medical supervision.
Soon I had arrived at my senior year. I was worried about how I would manage my time with the workload of my senior classes and signed up late for work study, this meant I would be working on the larger, lesson side for the first time. I had become so familiar with the other side of the farm that as a senior, I still did not know the pastures of the barn where I rode every day. I quickly had to adjust to the larger amount of horses and tasks.
Although I found it to be difficult at first, I now know every horse in the barn even more than I did before. Work study is a great way to make yourself more familiar with the equestrian center. When I first came to St. Andrews, I was intimidated by the barn at first, through the help of work study I was able to get to know the barn managers and the care of the horses much better and made the large barn feel like home.
Working at the St. Andrews Equestrian Center for four years was challenging at times, but overall, very rewarding. The skills I learned from this experience are skills that I will know when entering the industry when I graduate. If you come to St. Andrews not knowing how to get involved or feel intimidated, work study at the barn can help you to kickstart your experience. Having the chance to work with fellow classmates in a work environment is also a great way to meet new people and talk to some that you may have not known previously.
If you are interested in becoming a student at St. Andrews, a work study position at anywhere on campus can fit both you and your major. Visit www.sa.edu to learn more about the opportunities that are offered. If you would like to learn more about work study and how it could help you pay off student debt, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/work-study