MAKING IT WORK
Georgia Murray, ’19, College of Arts and Science
Jordan Barone, ’16, College of Arts and Science
“Oh, you work at the Pub, right?” Second only to “Aren’t you the British one?” this is the greeting I’m most used to when I meet new people on campus. Honestly, I hadn’t expected these two little facts to become such fundamental pillars of my identity at college, but there you go.
I don’t notice a huge difference between campus dining workers and other students day to day, but I do think my experience has been a little different in a few ways – there probably aren’t many other people on campus who can tell you someone’s Monday night dinner order and not their name. Sometimes it can be a little hectic; one week I realized I’d scheduled my shift the same night that I had a performance with my a cappella group. I don’t think the experience of trying to fit in work with everything else that’s going on can be summarized better than it was then: running to Sarratt Cinema to sing and making it back just in time for the end of my break.
While time management is one challenge I’ve had to learn to tackle in my work at the Pub, the true challenge comes from the fact that student workers are a minority at Vanderbilt. It didn’t bother me that my friends didn’t have jobs of their own but spending twelve hours a week behind a bar can make it seem like everyone who isn’t an employee has a lot more time on their hands. The realization that I would feel left out every time they went to dinner or hung out while I was on the clock definitely got to me.
Despite the chaos, I’m so glad that campus dining is such a big part of my Vanderbilt experience. I’ve become more confident in my abilities to adapt and learn in new environments. I’ve even made some of my best friends through work who understand the importance of having a job and I’ve gained an appreciation for the staff members who work to make Vanderbilt the community it is.
I have so much respect for students who work on this campus, and I urge you to think deeper before dismissing student workers and their campus jobs. (Look us in the eye. Say please, and thank you and remember – the Pub is not actually a real restaurant!) Whether the students serving your Commodore Tso’s chicken or your pub fries are working to pay their own tuition or just trying to make some extra pocket cash for all the concerts they want to attend in Music City, they are learning life lessons that can’t be taught inside a classroom.