My freshman year at Union University came with so many new opportunities, but one of the greatest of them was that I began working at our on-campus coffee shop. I had been in the shop so many times beforehand during my last year of high school and with each visit, I fell in love with the atmosphere and the community there even more. I had no idea at that point, though, that before starting college I would have applied and been accepted as a barista there.
Once I learned even more about the history and goals behind this unique cafe, I loved it all the more. Of course, there have been hard days and challenges to balancing life and school, which comes along with any job in college, but the lessons I've learned and the people I have met have been beyond worth it.
So, without further ado, here are just a few of the lessons I've learned from working in a coffee shop!
1. Working with your hands, creating something for someone else to enjoy, is incredibly healing.
So many students that have worked in the shop will tell you that. When it was first established, after a tornado swept through the campus of our school, the comfort found in making this new shop and in serving others was immense.
And even now, baristas in both of our on-campus coffee shops will tell you, it still is. On some of the hardest days, I've come into work and found comfort in making a warm drink, attempting to create a design in it by way of latte art and serving it to a guest. I've felt my restless thoughts ease up and my creativity shine through.
2. Taking leadership in new ways and working alone are huge opportunities for growth.
Us baristas often work alone, which means we might be a bit shaky at first, but eventually we are encouraged as we feel each little step becoming more natural. You're always learning, but you begin to learn that you can do it by yourself, with your own hands. Thankfully, we have an incredible team of people behind us who come to the rescue when we need their help, though!
3. Sometimes even the tiniest acts of kindness mean the most.
You never know who could be affected by your smile at work or your random conversation about how their day is going. I remember, about midway through the year, a friend I didn't know super well at the time wrote me a sweet note telling me that my kindness to her at work meant a lot. I was shocked and blessed by her words, as I didn't even realize she felt that way.
I continuously prayed to be a blessing and to have meaningful conversations with customers that point back to Christ. I'll continue praying that.
My first year of barista-ing was pretty darn sweet, and I can't wait for what's to come.