BY Kristin Miller
University studies senior Trista Bentler has been employed on-campus since her freshman year at MSUM. She was hired at Dragon Days when she was still a senior in high school and worked first as an administrative assistant, with that job leading to her current position as a scheduling and accounting assistant in the CMU.
She said her experience working on campus led to lasting friendships as well as a more defined sense of what she would like to do after she graduates.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your job here on campus.
A: I work as a scheduling assistant and an accounting assistant in the CMU, in the main office downstairs…I work directly underneath Braden Kuznia, who is the assistant director of event services in the union, and essentially I work with on-campus departments, on-campus student organizations, as well as off-campus individuals and businesses if they want to reserve space in the building. That could be anything from large-scale conferences like the Naturalization Ceremony that happened to Africa Night, things like that, as well as small-scale things, a meeting room to renting out a vendor table to hire people for a new restaurant.
Q: Has this job influenced your future education and career goals, including your plan to go on to grad school?
A: Absolutely. Up until July of this summer I was an elementary ed. major, and since I was a tiny kid I wanted to be a teacher. My family was education-centered, teachers and bus drivers. It took me up until this summer to finally realize that I was wasting my time getting an ed. degree that I’m not going to use. I said ‘I love coming to work, so I need a career that’s like this.’
I spoke with the different administrators in our office and they all said ‘we were waiting for you to realize that.’ So, 100% influenced that decision.
Q: What are some of your favorite aspects of your job?
A: I like that it’s never the same. Each day is something different. You never know who you’re going to get to talk to that day, if it’s going to be off-campus or on-campus. I like figuring out the challenge of what everyone needs, because every group has different needs…It’s so much fun to just interact with the people.
Q: What are some of the things you find most challenging?
A: I would say the groups that come in and they have it all planned out, we love, but at the same time if you’re not open to suggestions and you’re very set in your ways and you’re not willing to budge, sometimes you’re dream isn’t 100% realistic. So, compromising with people can be difficult. It’s not always easy to communicate with people.
Q: Do you enjoy your coworkers?
A: Absolutely, I’m known around the office as “Snarky.” That is my nickname. My working relationship with Braden is phenomenal. Yes, he is my supervisor, however, I know that I can always kind of count on him to talk about anything really. That goes the same for my peers and coworkers as well. We all get along really well.
Q: Would you encourage other students to pursue on-campus employment?
A: I would definitely (tell them to) look for on-campus employment, even if it’s not in my office. Keep your eye on Dragon Jobs. Working on-campus is by far the best choice I made coming to college. It gave me a great group of friends to start with when I came and didn’t really know anyone. It’s given me a great support system of professional staff members. We’re actually a family here in the CMU, and we refer to each other as a family. I think that other departments across campus have that same kind of aspect as well, so definitely look into it.