The Collegian
Thursday, November 30, 2023

Students enter the local Richmond workforce through off-campus jobs

<p>Queally Center for Admission and Career Services.&nbsp;</p>

Queally Center for Admission and Career Services. 

Weekends at University of Richmond are typically for catching up on school work or relaxing with friends, but for some students, weekends are used for heading off-campus to pick up shifts at work.

Most students are employed at various jobs on-campus, but a handful of others choose to spend their weekends interacting with locals at places such as J. Crew, volleyball tournaments or new Carytown restaurants.

Sarah Raymond, WC ‘18, is an employee at J. Crew in Short Pump Town Center, working four and a half hour shifts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. She found this position after working at J. Crew in her hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

Her experience working at home in Toledo is what made her want to work at J. Crew upon returning to campus for spring semester.

“My manager said if I performed well enough I could transfer to the Richmond location,” Raymond said. “So I got in contact with the location in Short Pump and I went in and met with them the first or second week of classes.”

Now, Raymond is a stylist for J. Crew, where she is required to hit $250 in sales per hour. Raymond said she liked the challenge and typically tripled the $250 minimum during her shifts.

“You have to learn how to manage a few people at a time,” Raymond said. “It’s really fun to help people find good deals or let them know about things they didn’t find. It’s really rewarding.”

Raymond said she has used her experience at J. Crew to pursue a career in marketing, and her sales position has aided her internship search, she said.

Natalie Hogan, WC ‘18, found her off-campus job through her lifelong passion for volleyball. Hogan, who is president of the club volleyball team at UR, is also the assistant coach of a Richmond club volleyball team of high-schoolers from the area.

As a coach, Hogan is in charge of instructing practices on Thursday nights and coaching tournaments on Saturdays. She heard about the position through her involvement with UR’s club volleyball team, which prepared her to be a coach alongside her fellow club player Brittney Morris.

“We are in charge of doing the line-ups, telling them what they are supposed to do and making them better,” Hogan said. “We know a lot of drills from playing on the club team and from playing in high school.”

A typical practice for Hogan includes organizing serve and receive drills, scrimmaging and working on different skill sets.

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Hogan heard about the position and decided to apply because of its relatively small time commitment and good pay. She is paid $500 per semester for six three-hour tournaments and several one and a half hour practices.

Nadir Siddiqui, RC ‘20, a Richmond native, was spending all of his money by frequenting Sen Organic Small Plate, a new Vietnamese and French fusion restaurant on Cary Street. His love for the restaurant sparked his interest in applying for a job at the restaurant, which opened last fall.

Siddiqui uses his job as an escape from his responsibilities as a student on campus and to earn spending money.

“For me it’s a nice opportunity to get off campus and not think about what I’m doing after having a tough week writing essays or taking tests,” Siddiqui said. “It’s a nice opportunity to be by myself and be with new people and chop pineapples.”

Siddiqui works as part of the kitchen staff, preparing food for service on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and some Wednesdays, earning $9 per hour. Although he is one of the youngest employees, he enjoys the company of his coworkers.

“Everyone else is in their 20s,” Siddiqui said. “They’re all pretty young and hipster, not cut and clean. They’re fun people to work with.”

Raymond can relate to working alongside older coworkers at J. Crew.

“There are some VCU students, but also people in their 50s or 60s who really enjoy it,” Raymond said. “You have someone older to talk to, but also have people your age who are really fun to work with.”

For Raymond, Hogan and Siddiqui, learning how to balance schoolwork and work shifts has been a challenge, but one that they don’t shy away from.

“Having a big exam the next morning after a practice is hard,” Hogan said. “Sometimes you think you could use the extra two hours to study.”

Raymond has run into trouble with group projects because she has had to work around her shift schedule at J. Crew.

“I think sometimes it’s hard because most times [my classmates] want to meet in the afternoons on the weekends.” Raymond said. “That’s the biggest challenge.”

Siddiqui has learned time management skills from planning ahead to get work done before shifts.

“For me, it helped me in my work,” Siddiqui said. “I have an understanding to get my stuff done earlier rather than leaving things until last minute.”

Raymond, Hogan and Siddiqui all said they encourage more UR students to get involved in the local Richmond community by getting off-campus jobs.

“I’ve had on-campus jobs, but it’s nice to step away from campus and go somewhere with a new schedule,” Raymond said. “I think sometimes we get caught in the Richmond Bubble, so it’s nice to work off-campus and meet new people.”

Contact contributor Devon Flinn at

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