Students often struggle with maintaining a balanced work-study life and finding support from their community. While arculus provides several platforms to connect and interact with colleagues, the Working Student Connect initiative offers more than that. Here’s how a small yet significant step makes students’ lives easier at arculus.
Connecting the dots
The Working Student Connect is a platform for and by students at arculus to connect, interact, and network with each other. The inspiration came from the arculus Buddy Program, an initiative designed for new hires in full-time positions to facilitate their onboarding process.
“We belong to different departments and, in some cases, different cities. And we, too, sometimes get nervous during our onboarding process and often seek support.”Kerstin Schwering (Working Student People)
With the help of the People’s team, our pupils started working on building a community that could be more than just onboarding assistance. They wanted to bring all students at arculus together under one roof. Anika Lorenz (a former thesis student and now full-time employee) describes the idea as “allowing students to network, becoming the support system of each other through the exchange of work routine stories, student life hacks, and hobbies. But most importantly: having fun.” In April 2022, the Working Student Connect was created.
Insight into details
Each meeting is half an hour long and happens virtually on a monthly basis. This way, the maximum number of students can participate, regardless of their working locations. There is also a slack channel for communication and coordination with all students, along with a Confluence page with tips & tricks for university life.
Every session has an agenda to ensure structure. It includes the rituals of introducing new students, suggestions for ice-breaking questions, discussions about work topics, and a Q&A session at the end. The work matters primarily refer to contract extension, taxes, payroll bureaucracy, open positions for working students, office policy updates, and other organisational subjects.
In case someone brings up a query or problem, students with a similar experience or knowledge are encouraged to help. Therefore, Anika invites all participants to confidently put forward their questions. “Never hesitate to ask because there is always someone who knows the answer. And if you know the right people, you get the answer faster.”, she explains.
The fun element
For Kerstin, it’s essential that these meetings include more than just information and organization issues. “They should be fun; no one wants just formal information,” she explains. “The purpose of adding icebreaker questions in the agenda, for example, was so everyone could feel comfortable participating. It allows participants to open up to their colleagues and get comfortable with each other,” she adds.
For a connection beyond virtual limitations, students are invited to meet outside the office every few months, like at parks or cafes. “It’s a good break from work and studies. You keep your worries aside, eat, drink, play games, and get to know your colleagues better.”, says Sadaf Hayat (Working Student – Social Media Communications).
As mentioned earlier, the working students have their university schedules and priorities, making it a challenge to have them all together in the meeting. “Initially, I spent much time choosing a day and time that could suit everyone’s schedule. However, I soon realized it’s hard to find a timeslot that fits. Now, the focus is on quality time rather than the number of attendees.”, says Kerstin.
Why is the initiative a hit among our working students?
Hassan Saeed (Working Student – Cloud Engineer) finds this platform a great source of help to tackle problems commonly faced by working students. “The initiative is always an excellent way to communicate with all fellow pupils in the company, who tend to share similar issues in life. The meeting helps all of us find solutions in a friendly environment and also provides one more channel for monthly updates about arculus.”, he explains.
Tena Valenta (Working Student – Content Creator) also appreciates how convenient these meetups are for discussing the daily challenges of a student. “In our meetings, we tend to talk about everything, from work to random facts and private matters. I admire that everyone is always warmly welcomed and allowed to share their thoughts and queries.”, adds Tena
All in all
The aspiration of this initiative is not only to keep the working students informed about the company updates but also to give them a point of connection through students from other departments. It also provides them with a sense of belonging through a supportive environment and opportunities to connect and interact with colleagues from the same phase of life.
“We have a page on Confluence and a group on Slack dedicated to the students only, and everyone shares information, tips and hacks that can make our student live less stressful. In a true sense, I see this as a small but meaningful community where we have each other’s backs. Along with other initiatives at arculus, work-study life truly becomes less stressful.”Sadaf Hayat