What It Feels Like To Have Work At 6 AM As A College Student

What It Feels Like To Have Work At 6 AM As A College Student

You read that right... 6 AM!

Fortunately or unfortunately — you choose — I have maxed out my schedule with 18 credits. In doing so, that means my schedule is jam-packed. I have class from Monday to Friday 9 AM to 4 PM so yeah... basically classes all day.

And luckily or unluckily, again — you can choose — I have a job on campus! But... here's the not-so-cool part of the job: I have to have a breakfast/lunch, dinner, and closing shift. Since I have class from 9 AM to 4 PM, the possibility of signing up for a lunch shift is out the door and thus, I have to work a breakfast shift.

Most people work breakfast shifts between 8 AM and 11 AM but not me... this lucky girl has to work a breakfast shift at 6 AM every Tuesday and then go to her 9 AM class right after! Oh, and here's another piece of important information: my closing shift is on Monday night from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm... which means that the maximum hours of sleep I can get in between Monday night and Tuesday morning is 7 hours!

But, being a college student, that usually doesn't happen considering the fact that I have loads of homework (that I usually "forget" about) and organizations that I am a part of.

Did I forget to mention that I work in the dining hall? Yes.. the dining hall. And, maybe at this point, you may be thinking: Isn't the dining hall the easiest place to work at? Let me answer your question: HELL NO!

I've worked in all different types of settings before: from cooking s'mores at a campground to repetitively scanning paperwork in the tiny cubicle of a scorching hot office. But, I can tell you that absolutely nothing compares to the tedious and extraneous amount of work I have had to do in the dining hall... especially at 6 AM.

Some tasks include but are not limited to:

1. Carrying metal trays of lasagna that weigh at least 10 pounds. Hey... keep in mind that I don't weigh much so basically these trays weigh me down.

2. Cleaning up after people's messes. Unfortunately, even at the collegiate level, some people simply don't know how to clean up after themselves... and then, I have to do their dirty work for them.

3. Transporting boxes of apples, bananas, and any other fruit under the sun from the east side of the dining hall all the way to the west side. There are around at least 50 bananas/apples/"you name it" fruit in each of these boxes... so my arm muscles have been working and growing... hopefully.

Now, if all of that isn't bad enough, don't forget that I do all of this at 6 AM! After my shift, my body feels numb so walking to class literally feels like I'm dragging a dead body around.

So the next time you complain about the tiniest little annoying thing that just occurred in your life, remember that this girl has to wake up from her most vivid dream at 5:30 AM on a Tuesday morning, when her alarm decides it's ok to disrupt the most vivid dream she's ever had, just so she can make that cash and not be a broke college student!

Cover Image Credit: Michigan Dining

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5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

It's more than just $10 an hour. It is priceless.

If I asked you to wipe someone's butt for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to give a shower to a blind, mentally confused person for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to simply wear a shirt stained with feces that was not your own for 12+ hours for $10 would you do it?

You probably wouldn't do it. I do it every day. During the course of one hour I change diapers, give showers to those who can no longer bathe themselves, feed mouths that sometimes can no longer speak and show love to some that do not even know I am there all for ten dollars.

I am a certified nursing assistant.

My experiences while working as a CNA have made me realize a few things that I believe every person should consider, especially those that are in the medical field.

1. The World Needs More People To Care

Working as a nursing assistant is not my only source of income. For the past year I have also worked as a waitress. There are nights that I make triple the amount while working as a waitress for 6 hours than I make while taking care of several lives during a 12 hour shift. Don't get me wrong, being a waitress is not a piece of cake. I do, however, find it upsetting that people care more about the quality of their food than the quality of care that human beings are receiving. I think the problem with the world is that we need to care more or more people need to start caring.

2. I Would Do This Job For Free

One of my teachers in high school said "I love my job so much, if I didn't have to pay bills, I would do it for free." I had no clue what this guy was talking about. He would work for free? He would teach drama filled, immature high school students for free? He's crazy.

I thought he was crazy until I became a CNA. Now I can honestly say that this is a job I would do for free. I would do it for free? I'd wipe butts for free? I must be crazy.

There is a very common misconception that I am just a butt-wiper, but I am more than that. I save lives!

Every night I walk into work with a smile on my face at 5:00 PM, and I leave with a grin plastered on my face from ear to ear every morning at 5:30 AM. These people are not just patients, they are my family. I am the last face they see at night and the first one they talk to in the morning.

3. Eat Dessert First

Eat your dessert first. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear another CNA yell at another human being as if they are being scolded. One day I witnessed a co-worker take away a resident's ice cream, because they insisted the resident needed to "get their protein."

Although that may be true, we are here to take care of the patients because they can't do it themselves. Residents do not pay thousands of dollars each month to be treated as if they are pests. Our ninety-year-old patients do not need to be treated as children. Our job is not to boss our patients around.

This might be their last damn meal and you stole their ice cream and forced them to eat a tasteless cafeteria puree.

Since that day I have chosen to eat desserts first when I go out to eat. The next second of my life is not promised. Yes, I would rather consume an entire dessert by myself and be too full to finish my main course, than to eat my pasta and say something along the lines of "No, I'll pass on cheesecake. I'll take the check."

A bowl of ice cream is not going to decrease the length of anyone's life any more than a ham sandwich is going to increase the length of anyone's life. Therefore, I give my patients their dessert first.

4. Life Goes On

This phrase is simply a phrase until life experience gives it a real meaning. If you and your boyfriend break up or you get a bad grade on a test life will still continue. Life goes on.

As a health care professional you make memories and bonds with patients and residents. This summer a resident that I was close to was slowly slipping away. I knew, the nurses knew and the family knew. Just because you know doesn't mean that you're ready. I tried my best to fit in a quick lunch break and even though I rushed to get back, I was too late. The nurse asked me to fulfill my duty to carry on with post-mortem care. My eyes were filled with tears as I gathered my supplies to perform the routine bed bath. I brushed their hair one last time, closed their eye lids and talked to them while cleansing their still lifeless body. Through the entire process I talked and explained what I was doing as I would if my patient were still living.

That night changed my life.

How could they be gone just like that? I tried to collect my thoughts for a moment. I broke down for a second before *ding* my next call. I didn't have a moment to break down, because life goes on.

So, I walked into my next residents room and laughed and joked with them as I normally would. I put on a smile and I probably gave more hugs that night than I normally do.

That night I learned something. Life goes on, no matter how bad you want it to just slow down. Never take anything for granted.

5. My Patients Give My Life Meaning

My residents gave my life a new meaning. I will never forget the day I worked twelve hours and the person that was supposed to come in for me never showed up. I needed coffee, rest, breakfast or preferably all of the above. I recall feeling exasperated and now I regret slightly pondering to myself "Should I really be spending my summer like this?" Something happened that changed my view on life completely. I walked into a resident's room and said "Don't worry it's not Thursday yet", since I had told her on that Tuesday morning that she wouldn't see me until I worked again on Thursday. She laughed and exclaimed "I didn't think so, but I didn't want to say anything," she chuckled and then she smiled at me again before she said, "Well... I am glad you're still here." The look on her face did nothing less than prove her words to be true. That's when I realized that I was right where I needed to be.

Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I needed caffeine or a sufficient amount of sleep. My job is not just a job. My work is not for a paycheck. My residents mean more to me than any amount of money.

I don't mind doing what I do for $10; because you can't put a price on love. The memories that I have with my patients are priceless.

Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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Best Study Spots At Syracuse University

While you can easily hit up Bird Library, there are a few hidden spots that not many students know about! Read this article and then go try these hidden treasures on campus!


Bird Library, home to more than five floors of studying, students basically live here during finals week and every other school week of the year. Carnegie Library, a huge library located on Main Campus, offers silence all day long and you can hear a pin drop sitting in that library at any time of the day!

However, there a few cute spots on campus that you can find and escape the crowd of students!

1. Dineen Library

While it is the Law Library, SU Students are welcome to go there at any point during the school day. It is a medium sized library with long brown desks, desk lights, outlets going throughout the desk and comfortable seating. It is VERY quiet in this library, however, there is a lot of room for studying, private cubbies to use, and it is an area where you will definitely concentrate!

2. Panasci Lounge in Schine

Not many know about this hidden gem, however, it is up top at Schine with a bunch of funky comfortable seats, desks, chairs, and an amazing view of all of the campus through a long and wide window coverings the entire wall. Also perfect for if you get hungry and want a snack while studying, you can walk right downstairs.

3. The Newhouse "Bridge"

I wasn't even sure of this until my sophomore year, but in Newhouse 1 and 2, there is a row of cool and comfortable swingy chairs, tables, and another beautiful view of campus awaits in front of your eyes. It is a super cute place to get a smoothie since food.com is right in Newhouse, and chill. Perfect for a little homework before class!

4. Hendricks Chapel

While you may never assume, Hendricks Chapel is home to a little room with cute seating and even a piano! You can study in here at any hour, right next to "People's Place", an adorable student-run nonprofit coffee shop that sells coffee for as cheap as a single dollar!

Does it get cheaper than that?!? Right near academic buildings and the quad, you are super close to being anywhere on campus and at a perfect cozy nook!

5. Eggers Hall

Eggers has a cute cafe upstairs where you can sit and study and people watch through the big, long windows that run across the entire cafe. The cafe is kept to a quiet noise level so its a perfect place to eat and sit before class. Especially for people in Falk, Geology Building or Maxwell, this cafe is in an ideal location and never too crowded!

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