Students face losing summer jobs due to pandemic, social distancing protocols

As students prepare for finals, some are struggling with the loss of their summer jobs. (File photo by John Chapple | Collegian Media Group)

Student’s summer jobs can help determine their future career success. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, some college students haven’t lost their summer jobs yet, but are waiting to see what the future holds.

Anna Featherston, senior in music education, planned to work at the Barney Goodman camp at the Jewish Community Center of the Greater Kansas City Area as a senior camp counselor and music director. While she has not officially lost her summer job, she said it feels inevitable.

“The camp hosts around 400 campers and it’s hard for me to imagine that we can safely host camp as normal,” Featherston said. “My hope is that we can do camp to some degree later in the summer, but I’m not sure how possible that is. This is a particularly difficult situation because most parents sending their kids to this camp are using it as childcare, so I’m not sure how this will pan out when people start being able to go back to work.”

Featherston said not having her summer job will negatively affect her future from a financial standpoint.

“I have been saving my money for years so that I will be prepared to go out on my own after college,” Featherston said. “Because of my schedule, I don’t work during the school year, thus relying on my summer income for any type of savings.”

Featherston said she will lose valuable experience that relates directly to her career as a music teacher.

“I was also looking forward to having a job that caters more towards my future career,” Featherston said. “Missing out on this erases helpful preparation.”

While Featherston has not lost her job yet, some students have already. Masie Dulitz, sophomore in musical theatre, lost her summer performance job in Kearney, Neb.

“I lost my job working for Crane River Theater Company,” Dulitz said. “I was cast to be in the ensemble of ‘Cinderella’ this summer.”

Dulitz said losing this job puts stress on her for several reasons. Without this job, she said she misses out on a valuable experience to have on her resume.

“I also need jobs like this to develop professionally since I plan on performing as a career,” Dulitz said. “It’s really important to have consistency on your resume to show that I’ve been working and doing theater whenever I can.”

Although Dulitz worries about missing out on the experience, she worries most about the financial toll of losing her job.

“The biggest thing is a financial stress,” Dulitz said. “I had planned on having this job since around February so I just hadn’t been looking for other opportunities.”

Like many other college students, she plans to pursue other job opportunities to gain experience in her major.

“I am going to have to search for a job that can fit into my career path so I can feel like I’m still developing or decide to work outside of my field,” Dulitz said.

Along with many other performers and artists, Dulitz said she will do everything she can to maintain and improve her performing skills, but it won’t be easy without access to the resources she is used to having.

“I’m going to try to make up for it over the summer by keeping busy and training, but individual practice is much different than performing in a large ensemble in front of thousands of people every night,” Dultiz said. “For now I’m just hoping that things turn around quickly, but it’s hard to say what the future looks like for performing.”