I have always had to work my way through college - I've had countless jobs on my college campus. Most recently, I began working at The University of Kentucky Bookstore a year ago and have stuck with that job. The job has been one that I enjoyed so staying for a year made the most sense. In March the bookstore closed with the rest of the campus, and so I was forced home and forced to be jobless for months.
Well, now I am back on campus and back working at the bookstore. I was super nervous to be back working in a retail environment that is usually packed with college students. The bookstore is always busy since this is the main source of class materials and apparel and there's a Starbucks. Students are always flooding the store. This was super stressful to know I would be working in this busy environment. I came prepared and ready by packing loads of disposable masks, gloves and plenty of hand sanitizer. I gladly came back to work at the bookstore on the busiest weekends of the year, the weekend before classes start. For whatever reason, that weekend always seems to be the busiest and this year was no exception.
The weekend I started back, I worked back to back open to close shifts and both days were equally as busy. I was not even expecting how busy it was actually going to be. The bookstore was so packed of college students - who were barely social distancing because the store is not that big for everyone to distance. I also had to deal with a handful of students who refused to wear their masks properly. I dealt with people coming in without masks even which blew my mind considering the mask mandate since March. I also dealt with people who would come up to the counter to check out and would pull their mask down to speak to me. The first weekend was just beyond insane with the students who I felt were disrespectful to me and my coworkers who worked up to 8 hours with our masks on, correctly. I think working on campus, or in retail in general, means we are going to be forced to deal with the people who aren't going to follow the mask rules.
I don't have a choice but to work on my college campus so I can pay my bills. I just hope in this whole process my fellow college students learn to be respectful to us who are in this situation. I hope they understand that the workers on UK's campus are doing our best to keep the space clean for them and that they respect us and do their own best to keep themselves clean and healthy so they are not potentially exposing us who have to work to illnesses. Even though I did my part in social distancing, wearing a mask and sanitizing everything, I still managed to get sick. I hope that people will see that their actions in this pandemic matters and consider campus workers' wellbeing.