How Waitressing Has Made Me a Stronger College Student

Since my time at Florida State University is quickly coming to a close, my nostalgia has been kicked into high gear. As I think back to all of the obstacles I’ve overcome throughout my time as a Seminole, I can’t help but also think of my time waitressing and how it has maneuvered itself into my life and cruised along for most of my early adult years. Although working a side job while trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life has been challenging, it has made me a stronger college student overall. 

1. Exercise 

Courtesy: Bruno Nascimento

When a true-born Floridian moves from a different part of Florida to Tallahassee, they’re not quite sure what to do when confronted by a hill. That’s me; I’m that Floridian. Have you ever found yourself completely out of breath once you finally reach the top of one? What about when you have to climb five flights of stairs in the parking garage? Five years of waitressing truly prepared me for these moments. The hustle and bustle of moving from table to kitchen to cash register back to table is a great workout. I once walked five miles just within the radius of the restaurant! Get those steps in, girl!

2. Money Management

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Courtesy: Michael Longmire

Waiting tables can be a blessing and a curse in the money department. As a college student, I’m always ballin’ on a budget. Being a waitress has taught me that managing money can be tricky, especially when I never know how much I’ll walk out with at the end of the night. I’ve learned to put away $20 at the end of every shift no matter what kind of night I had money wise. This has helped me to be smarter with my spending habits and truly appreciate the value of a dollar. 

3. Communication 

Courtesy: Austin Distel

Whether it’s with my fellow servers, the kitchen crew, the management or of course, the customers, communication plays such a huge role in the service industry. I’ve had to learn how to effectively communicate with strangers while working in the restaurant industry which has helped tremendously when it comes to meeting potential employers or even with group projects. I’ve built up the confidence over time to present myself in a professional manner to others and share my opinions during group projects. 

4. Time Management 

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Courtesy: Lukas Biazek

Time is money, people! College life comes with a lot more than just schoolwork. Whether it’s with internships, clubs or social events, it seems impossible to get everything done in a timely manner. Being a waitress while also being a full-time student has taught me that flashcards are truly your best friend (I keep mine in my apron), multitasking really is a resume-worthy skill and writing everything down makes a difference. If you can’t do that, it’s 2020; Siri will do it for you. Maintaining a tight schedule has also helped me to appreciate my downtime more than I ever have. 

5. Patience 

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Courtesy: Elena Koycheva

A virtue indeed. It’s inevitable that as a waitress I’m going to have a disagreement with a coworker, or a customer is going to be blatantly rude for no reason. Unfortunately, that’s how the world can be sometimes. Although this can be tough to go through, it has set me up for success on a college campus. People may lash out and test my patience sometimes, but I never know what they might be going through when no one is around. Patience looks so good on anyone and is a great trait to carry throughout life! 

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