It’s 7 am on a Tuesday and Teonna Weaver is on her way to work at Au Bon Pain. Other restaurants like Subway, Moe’s, Chick fil A, Wendy’s and many more, are places on and around campus that many of us have eaten at; sometimes multiple times more in a week than we would like. Working while in college is part of a daily routine that a lot of students partake in. But what is that routine like for a Radford University student?
Teonna Weaver is a senior here at Radford University, majoring in psychology. While some of the campus is still asleep at 7 am, she is on her way to Au Bon Pain to start her morning shift. Once she is at work, her first duty is to prepare the food for breakfast and lunch. Teonna has had the routine since last semester, and although working this early is not ideal for everyone, she has managed to enjoy it. Part of the reason is the work environment, “I like going to work and being with my coworkers and hanging out with them.” Having a job with helpful coworkers can almost make time fly by, especially when the day is just getting started. Yes, there are moments when it can be stressful and an employee is ready to leave as soon as possible, but for Teonna that is not an option.
Teonna works 3 days a week with 5-hour shifts. With hours that long for a student, it may be hard to manage school and social life, but she makes it work. Once she is done for the day, she goes from the kitchen to the classroom and her friends. Now normally in movies or tv shows about the college they primarily show the social side, but not how a student tries to balance every aspect of colleges such as social life, work, and homework. So how does she do it?
For Teonna, hanging out with friends is not always an option. “I don’t go out as much. I’m mostly focused on school and working.” Finding time to spend with friends can be challenging, but sometimes she makes it work. It is a stressful situation that not a lot of people could handle; however, Teonna is doing a good job so far. She’s been working since she was at community college, so holding a job while in school has not been a culture shock for her. Being financially independent has been one of her priorities, “I don’t like being broke. My mom is a single parent and she has another child to take care of.”
Yes, there are times to have fun and enjoy the college experience, but for some, that doesn’t happen consistently. However, for Teonna it will be worth it when she graduates this semester. Once she completes her undergrad, she hopes to attend graduate school at Radford in the hopes of becoming a social worker.
As we take advantage of the many services on campus, from restaurants to the library, it’s important to take a look behind the counter and understand the hard work that some students have to partake in to make it through college.