You can wind your clock to my daily routine. You can likely know where I will be on any given day (Monday through Friday) after following me for 24 hours. Sounds boring, I know. Trust me, not a day goes by that I don’t sit and daydream about my days of hanging in a comfy coffee house chair and getting lost in a good book, or even literally getting lost in the woods.
Life moves quickly, just as every student knows well. Before you know it, you are already having to sign up for next semester’s classes and you feel like you just got the hang of the ones you are in.
During those 24 hours, you can find me at my job (Starbucks), both working and studying. I have worked for the same company for 13 years, and it has taught me many things about being successful in school that school never could.
1. Know your stuff
Customers don’t care whether you are new, having a bad day or were trained the wrong way. They want their drinks or food quickly, with a smile and perfect…every single time. You have to be prepared at all times, armed with knowledge and a positive attitude. And when those fail, we fake it until we make it!
Every night before I relax for a little pre-bed TV time, I gather all of the school stuff I will need for the next day as well as make a list of the order I want to (attempt) to accomplish it in. I will also flip through my most pressing assignment before bed because they say that if you sleep after studying, you retain the information better.
2. Have a routine
I wake up every morning at 4 a.m. No dilly-dallying or snooze buttons. I may walk a little slower out of the bedroom on certain days, but time waits for no barista.
Once I get to work around 5 a.m., I get started on my opening routine. If there are any former or current baristas out there, you will know what I mean. We have the exact same routine every day, whether it is opening or closing the store, doing dishes or even making a latte. If you do it the same way every time, your body begins to do it without you.
3. Pick your poison
I have to force myself to choose a priority. My job pays the bills, but great grades pay for school. I use my two breaks (40 minutes total) to study. I have to be careful not to let the Internet distract me, so I try to only take the schoolwork where I won’t need the Internet.
4. Stick with the routine
I work eight hours every day and can be very tired and grumpy at the end, but it’s not the end of my day by any means. I have to force myself to stay at the store and finish at least one task on my list before I get to go home and eat lunch. Oh yeah, I don’t eat meals at work because it makes me tired.
Around 2-ish, I head home (luckily only a five-minute drive), feed the (wild) birds and squirrels (we have two named Amy and Gravy Boat), and set up my “station” with whatever project I need to work on.
After I eat a quick bite, I will spend the next four hours studying. If my deadlines are super close, no television on in the background.
5. Breathe deep
Aside from the set routine, the most important thing work has taught me about school is to take deep breaths. One of my favorite sayings in the coffee business when I find myself or my peers getting a little too upset over the small stuff is “it’s just beans and water.”
In the grand scheme of things, life isn’t just short, it’s tough. It can be downright cruel and punishable. I do my best to always take as much time to breath and relax as possible.
I stop working when my boyfriend gets home. That is our time to shut it all off and laugh to some good sitcoms or scream at some bad football.
On the weekends I rarely do schoolwork. That is when I take road trips or find a way to enjoy nature.
My hopes are that my currently “boring” days bring enriching and fun-filled days in the future.
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