When students at Patrick Henry College drop their broken laptops off at the IT help desk, all they have to do is give a brief explanation of the problem they’re experiencing and sign a check-in form. Later, they come back and pick up their device. Nine times out of ten, it’s a fairly uncomplicated process.
But that’s only one side of the story. Abby Rose, a senior studying Strategic Intelligence at Patrick Henry College, knows a little bit more about what goes on behind the scenes—she works there.
On the other side of the desk, there’s an arsenal of permanent markers, fragmented computer parts, a fleet of PC’s, a storage closet full of hardware, and a dedicated team that keeps the technology at PHC running smoothly.
IT is one of the many campus jobs available to students. Rose has been an employee since spring 2019. It is a great job to work and learn about technology. But while most students use campus jobs primarily to earn a little bit of spending money during the school year, Rose had bigger plans. She wanted to use her time behind the help desk to pick up skills that will help her pursue a future in cyber-security. By learning more about how computers work and how to manage them now, Rose is setting herself up for success down the road.
When she initially started working, Rose had no real experience in tech, but that would change quickly. On her second shift on the job, she was asked to completely dismantle and re-assemble a computer. Within a few moments, Rose set to work with the motherboard, hard drive, video card—and a screwdriver. While it might have been intimidating in the moment, she started to catch on.
“I actually jumped into it pretty quickly,” Rose said, “but there’s still so much to learn. A lot of times I will kind of get lost in the technical terms.”
It’s been a learning experience every step of the way. Each new ticket or problem calls for some new skill. Students who want to work tech can expect to find a challenging but growing experience. It’s a particularly good job for students that enjoy troubleshooting and problem-solving. There’s a lot of jobs on campus that can get repetitive, but the nature of work at IT makes it an experience that changes from day to day.
“It’s a job where it’s not just going to be a mundane task. It’s constantly changing and what you’re learning. It’s a very interactive job,” Rose said.
Fortunately, the staff behind the desk are happy to help her learn.
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Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.