The Art of the Working Dartmouth Student

By Amber Porter '14

I didn't apply for any student jobs my freshman fall, because I wanted to have the space to enjoy my college experience. Now, four years later, I have more jobs than I know what to do with—five, to be exact—and I can't imagine my Dartmouth experience without them.

I came to Dartmouth with every intention of double-majoring in mathematical and social sciences on my way to becoming a political campaign manager. But I realized rather quickly that I could get hands-on managerial experience in theater. My work as a stage manager ignited my passion for theater, and also led me to my first job at Dartmouth—as a house manager for the Hopkins Center. Interning in the Hopkins Center's director's office and subsequently in the outreach and education office were added to my plate as I realized arts administration was somewhere I could make a real difference.

Since then, I've kept those three jobs and also been hired as the theater department student office worker, the stage manager for Dartmouth Idol, and the programming intern instituting the HOP Garage Bar—all while being a UGA.

As a full financial aid student, I need to work to support myself. But I could get by with just one of these jobs. So why five? My five jobs have funded my theater foreign study program in London and my off-term working at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., when no monetary assistance was available to me. I couldn't have had my Dartmouth experience without them. More importantly, I don't know what I would have learned at Dartmouth without them.

In one of my many jobs, I have saved the lives of patrons who required emergency assistance in the middle of a concert. I've fully researched every course offered by Dartmouth to ensure HOP visiting artists make the deepest impression possible during their short stay. I've called the cues for two sold-out shows in Spaulding. I've casually been a colleague of Joshua Bell. I've taught myself Photoshop and mastered the art of guerilla marketing. And I've created the newest hip social scene at Dartmouth—all in one building.

My friends joke that I should get a cot in the basement, because I'm never seen or heard from outside of Dartmouth's "Arts District." And Margaret Lawrence, the HOP's director of programming, once joked to Bela Fleck that the building couldn't run without me. I certainly do have a reputation.

I've kept my eyes and ears open, and absorbed everything I could in my time here, becoming a maven of the arts—preaching the gospel of creativity to fellow students, and proving to myself that I could succeed in a major that so few dare to declare. And succeed I will, with the experiences I've collected as a student employee.