Constance Bourguignon '20
Concentration: Joint in Romance Languages and Literatures, specializing in French and Francophone Studies, & Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality
Secondary: Educational Studies
Constance Bourguignon is originally from Montreal, Quebec and was nominated for her work in the Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) Department where she first started working her freshmen spring when her Peer Advising Fellow (PAF) let her know about this job. She works about four hours per week and her duties include keeping the office clean, filing documents, delivering inter-building mail, figuring out finance for the department, and coordinating events such as open houses, seminars, and guest lectures.
She has enjoyed working there because she feels she really gets to know a lot of the people in the department including staff, faculty, and even the graduate students, an opportunity most students don’t have as most other jobs will only introduce one to other concentrators or staff in the department. Her experience as a student worker has been very positive as having a job allows her to have some extra pocket money, it takes away from the hassle of purely academic work, it provides a nice change of pace, and it work keeps you in touch with the real world of life beyond school. She says that having a job on campus has “very seamlessly integrated into my routine” as a student here at Harvard. “Work is like an extracurricular, but rather than giving you free merchandise and free trips, it keeps you grounded and shows you what’s in store in the real world, it helps you keep in sight what is ahead.”
Working on campus has taught her many things she said she would not have learned otherwise, including the financial system of Harvard and what it means to be on the payroll, how flights and travel arrangements are booked for events such as talks and conferences. Booking flights and coordinating with the speaker requires planning - it is not as simple as putting up posters! “It is like working backstage in a theater,” it “gives you a new perspective of what happens on stage.” She has also seen the process for teachers from their hire to their evaluation through the Q Guide to their tenure positions and even she has seen how Harvard brings in outside specialists to evaluate departments and all of the faculty.
Her favorite times of the year are twice a year when the RLL Department hosts a big party for the Holidays and in the spring for the entire department where they invite all staff, faculty, and students doing concentrations, secondaries, and citations from anywhere in the RLL Department. She most enjoys setting up and preparing for this event, to “bring together the spirit of the department” of being so close together, and organizing the activities including inviting a student group to perform. She appreciates that the RLL Department is different than most all other departments because it feels like a tight-knit and close family. For example, through department events, Constance knows all of the concentrators, most of the faculty members and even some of the many students pursuing secondaries and citations.
Aside from her job at the RLL Department she is a peer tutor at the Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC) where she tutors French, and is a tour guide at the admissions office where she gives tours for prospective students and families, for a total of 10 hours of work per week. On top of her three jobs, she is also treasurer of her House Committee and is a University Initiatives Co-Coordinator for the Deaf Awareness Club (DAC).