Will I be able to work while in school?

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by el2002, Mar 23, 2002.

  1. el2002

    el2002

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    10
    First time posting....so here it goes!

    So I've been accepted and have decided to attend NECI. Everything I've seen and heard about it just make it seem a good fit for me. I'm so worried about the money though. I think that through financial aid and scholarships that school can get paid for, but what about living? Can I realisticaly (sp) expect to be able to work enough to support myself at the same time? I'm 31 and have worked FOH my whole (working) life. Should I take bartending and server jobs because they are shorter hours and better $, or should i try for BOH positions for the experience?

    Thanks to anyone who might have some insight. I could use all the advice I can get!
     
  2. moxiefan

    moxiefan

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Sous Chef
    el2002,

    Hi. I too have fairly fallen in love with NECI. I'm thinking I'll go (pending accpetance, of course) next December. By the way, what kind of essay did you write when applying?

    Anywho, on the work question. A representative from the CIA told me that a student there shouldn't expect to work to support himself, and should definately have enough savings to live on for at least a year. That's why I'm not going till December... get a job in a kitchen, learn and save money for nine months (I have the luxury of crashing with my parents. Free room, free board, no expenses). Anyway, if the CIA says you can't support yourself and go to school, I can't imagine that NECI is better in any way. They have a very demanding class schedule. While I was there visiting the Essex campus, however, they pointed out to me that, although there is no school on Sundays, the restaurants are open. Since the restaurants are student run, they take voulenteers on Sundays for staff. It pays something like seven dollars an hour, and you get some extra time with the chefs and the like. A decent way to pick up 40 or 50 bucks. Besides which, I expect that whoever works eats, so you spare yourself the trouble of feeding yourself for the one day that the meal plan (a requisite) isn't on. They say you absolutely shouldn't plan on working any more than 10 hours a week in addition to your class schedule. Sure way to die young.

    Also, you're only on campus for six month at a stretch... the other six months your're off working a paid internship. I'm still trying to fathom how that all works... if you can make enough on intership, for example, to cover (certainly not to exceed) travel and cost of living expenses whereever you end up. Certainly travel expenses need to be affordable up front, anyway. I predict that that could get hairy.

    Finally, one has to doubt that, if you're in Montpelier, there will be a whole lot of employment oportunity, FOH or BOH, around. There's just not that much going on there except NECI. I mean, legislature or no legislature, they really do roll up the sidewalks at six o'clock.

    I hope this was helpful,
    P
     
  3. el2002

    el2002

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thanks for the input. I got accepted for the March entry, but have had to put it off til Sept. although now even that is seeming out of reach at the moment. @#$% money....lol! My essay wasn't much of a problem. I was pretty sraight forward about myself, my experiences, and my goals. No fancy writin' or anything. I figure it's culinary school, I'm not going to there to become a novelist! I think as long as you are clear thinking and moderately articulate (which you certainly are), then that will give them whatever they base these descions (obviously i can't spell) on.

    I just think that if I keep putting off the move due to money, then I'll never go, but i don't have any where near a years worth stashed away!
     
  4. dunk

    dunk

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    10
    Just had to post...this topics a little to close to home...

    Being a Vermonter, I can tell you Moxiefan is right on the money. Even if you wanted to work, you'd have a snowball's chance in h*ll finding a job (especially one in a restaurant, since all the other students the school will probably be wanting the same thing!). Montpelier, even though it is the capital my lovely state, is not even a city, and as a town, there isn't much too it either. It's sad to say, but it's the truth. It's the same sad state of affairs all over the Vermont...:(

    Best of luck at NECI. I loved NECI, but being that I grew up here it was time to get out...so I'm picking up my bags and moving across country...San Francisco here I come (California Culinary Academy :) ). Hopefully I'll be able to get a job there because I will definitly need one!

    Dunk
     
  5. bufano

    bufano

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    10
    Hello Dunk,
    I just wanted to mention that jobs here in SF have been tough to find as of late. It will pick up come the summer when tourist season kicks in to full gear.....there have been many layoffs here and it has been a rough lately. I wanted to know why you are going to the CCA if you already graduated from NECI?? Just curious is all...it costs nearly 40K to attend the CCA. I am saving some money to go to the CIA in Napa for extra courses. If I can help with job info please do not hesitate. You can e-mail me for info.


    :chef:
     
  6. moxiefan

    moxiefan

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Sous Chef
    el2002,

    Thanks for essay imput.

    When I was at NECI touring they told me that September was not a good entry date for mature students (I'm 21 for pity's sake! Mature!? I think not). Fact is, September is when most of their students are coming straight out of high school, which I guess can be frustrating for those of us who have more or less accoplished the independance thing. I know there has certainly been lots of stuff published here by people who were annoyed that their younger classmates were not as serious as they perhaps should be.

    Just a thought.

    P
     
  7. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,399
    Likes Received:
    937
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    As a graduate of NECI, I can tell you that unless things have changed, you will not be able to work enough to support yourself. Attending NECI is not like attending other schools. Your daily class schedule is much closer to that of a chef's than that of a student. That can mean: lecture starting at 9 or 10am, a break for lunch, into the kitchen at 2pm to prep and service starting at 5:30pm and walking out the door at 10pm, for an hour of study and a beer or 2. Or I can mean being at Bake Shop at 3am and getting out of class just as your roommates are getting up to start their day. Some classes also require Saturdays. That said, I did a number of private cheffing events for money, would work bar at one of the restaurants when they needed a hand, and some friends had weekend jobs that were flexible, allowing them Saturdays off then they were in classes that involved Sat. service. I made a decent amount of money, but it was not living money. I lived in the dorms (aka apartment-type arrangements) at school, so this money I earned was gas money, beer and wine money, and dining out money.
     
  8. dunk

    dunk

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    10
    Oops, sorry if I was confusing before. I didn't attend NECI-- I meant that when I visited it, I really liked it.

    I'm going to CCA for the Pastry Arts program -- not 40K, but definitly half that...yikes! NECI doesn't have just a pastry program, otherwise I might have gone there.

    Dunk
     
  9. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,399
    Likes Received:
    937
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Dunk where in VT did you grow up? We moved to VT when I was 6 and left again when I was 13. I lived in Hyde Park and tended Jr. High at Lamoille Union. When I started looking at culinary schools, I just happened upon NECI and liked the school so much that I ended up back in VT to attend at Montpelier campus.
     
  10. dunk

    dunk

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    10
    Pete-

    I grew up in Brattleboro --- Southern Vermont. I have a lot of family that lives up north though. I love this state, but the job situation here is atrocious, and not just in the culinary field! I recently moved back about a year ago because I thought I might like to stay and I'd been gone for 7 years, but I just can't do it. Well, maybe when I retire (if that ever happens...lol..it's a running joke in my family that true Vermonters work till the day they die...yep, no fancy retirement in Florida for me!) Sorry, kinda sick humor, but ya gotta keep laughing somehow!


    Dunk:)
     
  11. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,399
    Likes Received:
    937
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I know, the job situation is crazy up there right now. My wife and I are moving out of Chicago this Spring and wanted to find jobs up in New England (we are going to end up in Wisconsin, with great jobs though). We were looking at larger inns and resorts where we could team manage, me as the chef and her in the lodging side. We have tons of experience between us, but couldn't find anything, even after 3 months and talking with over 50 places

    I am quite familiar with the Brattelboro area. We used to drive through there often, on our way to see my Aunt and Uncle over in Northfield MA.
     
  12. moxiefan

    moxiefan

    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Sous Chef
    In a curious coincidence, I'm actually from that part of the world as well. I'm living and going to school in Montreal just now, but my permanent address is in Southern New Hampshire. Burlington, in fact, is about equidistant between the friends and fun I've become attatched to here in Montreal and the comforts of home. Pretty stinking conveinient, if you ask me.

    Anyway, on to the relevant stuff. I'm suprised to learn that the job market is so weak in VT. I mean, I know that the smaller towns like Montpelier don't have a whole lot going on, but that's just their nature. Perhaps, if you're from southern Vermont it would be helpful to know that there seems to be lots of employment oportunity in Southern New Hampshire. I think this is because recent years have seen New Hampshire become increasingly a suburb of Boston. Everybody seems to have signs and adverts up about help wanted, economic downturn or no.

    I must, however, qualify this statement. There is much to indicate a high demand for restaurant personel. In my experience, however, this does not make jobs any easier to land. When I was looking for summer employment, for example, I was repeatedly turned away becuase I couldn't work through foliage season. This was frustrating because I know perfectly well that whoever, if anybody, actually got the position, they weren't terribly likely to stick around for more than a couple of months. High turnover is a fact of life in the restaurant industry.

    Furthermore, 99.9% of the jobs are less than gratifying. Like I said, increasingly a SUBURB of Boston. The downtowns and independant restaurants are all dying, while the Olive Garden has a line out the door and a want ad. No disrespect to the fine people slaving away at chain restaurants. Still, I think it's sad, and a tremendous loss of oportunity, that a region that once had a lot of quirky, labour of love restaurants is becoming so homogenous. Once upon a time there were many a cafe in my area that featured all sorts of takes on that oddly earthy New England "cuisine". And everyone seems to have given up on it in favour of free breadsticks.

    But I digress. Point is, if you're really looking for a little resto work, can find a road that actually travels East-West, and don't mind churning out free breadsticks just so long as you're getting experience churning something out, give a peek across the border.

    Regards,
    P