March 18, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 88  

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Fraggles, Ross and underground jobs

Stuff & Things
Kelly Marcella

Campus Life Editor

Caves, silver, flashlights — while the natural association would perhaps lead to thinking of those loveable Fraggles, that was the reality of my summer job for five years.

Similarly, when most people think of museums they think of dusty old relics, boring old ladies and geeks like Ross on Friends, but the greatest summer job I ever had was working at a museum.

For five years, I spent my summer months working in an underground mine. Donning fluorescent orange coveralls, a flashlight and hard-hat, for 40 hours a week, I conducted underground tours of an abandoned silver mine.

Considering where most of my friends were working at the time, it quickly became clear that I had one of the strangest jobs around. I’ll admit, it was cold, damp and really dark but it was also incredibly fun and there are few people in this world who have experienced the underground world. People from around the world would come to our little museum in Northern Ontario and we would take them into the depths of our town’s history.

This job made me realize that I realized that not all jobs consisted of flipping burgers, working cash or pumping gas. All you have to do is look. Many of these places may be small, but don’t be afraid to find out what kinds of projects they have.

There are museums and heritage locations across this province and most of them hire students in the summer. And let me tell you, there are some seriously odd commemorations in this province. From museums about quintuplets to statues of large animals to pioneer villages, the historical tourism industry offers a strange taste of Ontario life.

I admit, these places may seem strange, but their uniqueness offers a summer job experience like no other. How many 19-year-olds get to spend their summers in an underground mine with tourists? And how cool is it to say you spent your summer ‘working in a mine’? (Trust me, people look at me funny when I say that.)

Tour guide jobs are exciting due to the vast amount of people you meet over the course of your days. From theatre troupes and busloads of seniors to families and other wanderers, a job like this will introduce you to the widest range of people imaginable — beats spending time with crazy Wal-Mart shoppers all summer.

The years I spent as a tour guide provided me with many invaluable skills which have helped me immensely. In job interviews, I spend a lot of time talking about working at the museum because interviewers are often shocked at the type of job I had. I get asked about the tours, the history, random facts… etc. On some occasions, I even spent more time talking about information from that job than about the one I’m being interviewed for. Whatever gets people interested…




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