You might remember me as the opinions editor for The Bison in the 2016-17 school year. Or maybe you don’t. I’m not extraordinarily memorable, so I don’t blame you.
After an interview that I went to on my birthday with a broken toe from a dropped pizza pan incident, a girl with no experience and only a vague Delta Nu-related interest in coffee was graciously offered a job as a barista. I initially applied only because nobody else would give me a job, and I needed to support myself through grad school. I did not anticipate how much I would love it. Working here has definitely given me the opportunity to practice patience, both with myself and others. For example, when a customer doesn’t realize their idea of a “caramel macchiato” is a sham, I have to find a way to politely tell them that their favorite international coffee chain is brainwashing the minds of innocent caffeine-deficient soccer moms. But most importantly, being a barista for the past 10 months has majorly altered my career goals.
I got my bachelor’s degree in public administration. I’m currently studying nonprofit management and will hopefully be finished with my master’s degree next year. I now want to open my own nonprofit coffee shop. If someone had told me a year ago, as I was about to graduate, that I wasn’t going to meet my future-president husband in an Ivy League law school scenario and that, instead, I would be happily studying IRS tax forms and statistics in pursuit of my own nonprofit specialty coffee project, I would have kicked them out of the political science honors society meeting. I’m not pursuing a career related to my chosen undergraduate major, yet I’ve never felt more liberated or more motivated to work hard for what I want.
A degree isn’t an employment contract, it’s just proof that you have interest in a certain topic and have worked really hard to understand it. Most people will choose a career with some overlap with what they have a degree in, but this is not a requirement. Changing your longterm goals isn’t a bad thing, it reflects the dynamic nature of being a flourishing human being. Just make sure whatever you’re doing makes you happy.
Customers will often say to me, when I serve them an admittedly gorgeous-looking latte, “I almost don’t want to drink it, it’s so pretty!” If I wanted to have a serious, existential chat with each person that I served, I would reply, “Everything is temporary,” in a very serious tone. I’m unfortunately afraid that this might scare some people off and get me fired, so instead I just say, “That’s OK. Enjoy.”
Dear seniors, the plans you’ve penciled in for today may not actually match what your life will look like tomorrow. That’s OK. Enjoy.
Written by guest writer Hannah Moore