By Mary Nussbaumer
Welcome to the Job Feature Series, a weekly column highlighting student workers around campus. If you work a little-known job on campus, have horror stories from a difficult shift, or single-handedly keep the school running, contact Mary at email@example.com. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
This week, meet Kerren Matthews, a Kappa Kappa Gamma member, a swim team member, and a lifeguard at our very own Schlessman Natatorium.
Mary Nussbaumer: When did you start working at the pool?
Kerren Matthews: I started working here at the beginning of this year.
MN: Why did you choose to work here?
KM: I was looking for an on-campus job and thought this would be convenient because I already spend so much time at the pool. Plus, I got lifeguard certified this summer.
MN: What does a typical shift look like?
KM: My shifts are usually from 12:15–3:15 but they can vary day by day. Once our shift starts, we sign in and test the chlorine in the pool. After that, we rotate every 20 minutes between the stand and desk until the shift is over.
MN: What is the time commitment for this job?
KM: At the start of the block, we sign up with our shift preferences. It can range but usually two shifts a week, so five hours.
MN: Is it hard to balance this job with your other involvements?
KM: Yes — I was actually surprised at how much stress it added to my life. My class ended at 12:15 last block and 12:30 this block, so it’s been hard to figure out lunch. I’m still adjusting my schedule.
MN: What is the staff like? Are you close as a group?
KM: The staff is half swimmers and half not swimmers, so I’m close with swimmers because I know them from the team. I just started so I haven’t gotten to know many other people but I’m excited to!
MN: What is your favorite part of the job?
KM: My favorite part is when I’m on shift during a roll session. They are really fun to watch. It brings some entertainment to the stand, which is a good change of pace. I also have gotten to know the people who come in to swim, which is cool.
MN: What is your least favorite part? What’s the hardest part?
KM: My least favorite and hardest part is definitely staying concentrated on the stand. Twenty minutes up there can feel pretty long.
MN: Do you have any good stories from this job?
KM: Sometimes former Olympic swimmers will come in because our pool is actually nicer than the Olympic training center, which is pretty funny. It’s cool to see them, but to be honest, I don’t usually notice who they are until my coach tells me.