UWO students earn money in their field of study

Ti Windisch

UW Oshkosh music industry major Ben Binner is a music student by day, but a performer by night. “I earn some of my income from performing with local groups like The Water City Jazz Orchestra, which frequently plays at Manila Resto, and is also hired to play at private events,” Binner said. “I also played with Pam the Bear at local bars over the summer and the fall semester.” Binner said he and other music majors have also been able to put their education to work at UWO campus events. “I have played with small jazz combo groups, formed by students in the music department, that get hired to play at events at school like Chancellor Leavitt’s induction ceremony, the Chancellor’s Breakfast, et cetera, all of which the school pays for me to play,” Binner said. According to Binner, the music industry program focuses on both performing and recording music and he uses both aspects of his major to make money. “One other source of income I have that relates to my major is recording concerts and recitals that take place in the music hall,” Binner said. Binner is not the only UWO student who works in their major outside of the classroom. UWO junior Kenton Barber said getting a job in his major has helped him academically because of the experience he has been able to accumulate. “Working in my major has provided me real work experience I can relate to when we talk about topics in class,” Barber said. UWO graduate student Jordan Rhodes worked in his major during his time as an undergraduate student in the College of Business by working to start his own business. “By the time I graduated I had raised about $10,000 and had a launch plan finalized with hopes of self-funding the company after our launch,” Rhodes said. Rhodes said current students with great ideas should use the tools at their disposal while they are still at the University. “Now that we have a Center for Entrepreneurship on campus there are so many resources available to student entrepreneurs, including mentorship, office space, clear steps to follow, exposure and even funding,” Rhodes said. “These resources aren’t there once you graduate, so seize the opportunity and go for it.” UWO journalism major Haley Lentz does freelance writing and other advertising work for private clients. “I do freelance work during [my clients’] busy business seasons creating logos, making promotional advertisements or setting up social media accounts and posting for some places for local Oshkosh downtown businesses,” Lentz said. Lentz said her outside work combined with her schoolwork presents a difficult task, but ultimately a worthwhile one. “Being an off campus student and working on and off campus gives me much less free time than other students,” Lentz said. “I take 18 credits a semester and hold three jobs but it all helps my future career.” Lentz said the hardest part about her outside work is knowing she has to do her best every time or clients might choose to go with a more established option instead. “The biggest challenge is keeping the clients happy and making sure they don’t replace me with a real professional who does marketing as a living,” Lentz said. Rhodes said making time for outside work while still completing his undergraduate studies was no easy task. “It was extremely difficult to do this at first; it took a lot of prioritizing,” Rhodes said. “I had to identify things that weren’t bringing value to my life and use that time more effectively.” According to Rhodes he had to make some tough decisions regarding what to do with his time for the sake of his company. “I stopped watching television except for Packer games, stayed off of social media, avoided video games, stayed in on weekends and didhat I could to make time for school, work and the business,” Rhodes said. According to Rhodes, staying focused on classes that did not relate to his personal experience was a challenge he faced as an undergraduate. “A lot of my major was taught from a perspective that I couldn’t relate to: large corporations,” Rhodes said. “There was very little content in my major about how to effectively run a small business, or scale a startup, so it was tough for me to spend time learning about business at such a macro level.” Barber said he often finds himself busy thanks to his work in his major outside of his studies at UWO. “It’s very, very difficult,” Barber said. “I have basically no free time.” According to Barber, Saturday and Sunday are often opportunities for him to catch up on schoolwork. Binner said the hardest part about working outside of school as a music major is balancing his many responsibilities at all times. “You want to keep up with your school work, keep up with your practicing and try to expand your horizon by playing publicly as many times as you get the chance to,” Binner said. “Oh, and maybe have a social life too.” Although it keeps him quite busy, Binner said he enjoys performing in the community. “It’s a pure joy to perform for other people and every student can reap the benefits that come with it,” Binner said. Lentz said despite the adversity she would recommend students seek opportunities to work in their major. “I would most definitely recommend working in your major during school,” Lentz said. “Yes, it is a lot more work, yes, it does take a lot of time, yes, sometimes people won’t like your work, but I’m glad I got to practice and learn from my mistakes.”