How Tufts Works: Chopping prices

4/16/18 - Medford/Somerville, MA - Ian Seerung, '20, poses for a portrait outside Carmichael dining hall on Apr. 16 . (Anika Agarwal / The Tufts Daily)

This week’s column delves into the question of “How Tufts Works” for students. For some Tufts students, balancing work and school is a major challenge. For others, it is a well-established part of life. Sophomore Ian Seerung belongs well within the latter group.

In high school, Seerung was working nearly 30-hour weeks during the school year at his local grocery store, Price Chopper. Over school breaks, he was pushing forty hours a week. Most of his time not spent in school or studying was consumed with chopping prices.

On top of the demanding schedule, the work itself was tough. The trials of the job were only mitigated by the fact that he was well-liked by his bosses and coworkers, which led to his promotion to supervisor in his senior year. The experience also instilled in him impeccable interpersonal skills, especially the ability to “smile and stay calm, even when people are yelling.”

Working full time in high school gave him the financial leeway to pursue less intense job opportunities in college. As a first-year, Seerung cleaned the chemistry labs a few times a week. He describes this experience as chill and relatively easy — a stark contrast to Price Chopper.

Then last summer, Seerung worked for Tufts Dining during commencement week. This was, according to him, both a marathon and a sprint. After cramming 48 hours of hard work into one week, Seerung walked away with an appreciation of the Tufts Dining staff and a better understanding of how to put on successful social events.

After being a part of end-of-the-year festivities, Seerung was also hired as an orientation staff member last fall. Welcoming a new class of students after saying goodbye to the graduating seniors was an interesting contrast, he said.

However, it is when he talks about his current job at the Student Services desk that he becomes the most animated. A typical shift consists of processing transcripts, answering students’ questions and handling important documents. Seerung values the fact that, by helping others find the resources they need, he has become well-accustomed with the vast network of services available to students. On top of that, he genuinely enjoys the work and appreciates his colleagues.

Overall, Seerung insists that all of his supervisors have made working at Tufts accessible for him as a student. For the most part, they understand that academics come first and have been accommodating of his needs. For Seerung, though, balancing work and school after Price Chopper is not an issue.

Although his stint in the grocery world was an altogether positive experience, Seerung admits that he is glad to not be returning there this summer. Instead, he will be leading discussion groups at a summer program for future college students before jetting off to France, where he will spend the year studying abroad. Don’t worry, though; Seerung will be back on campus, working hard when he returns.