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Kelsey Emery / Spoon

Being A Barista At A UCLA Coffee Shop Taught Me So Much More Than Just Making Coffee

I am not a coffee drinker, yet I know so much about coffee. All of my valuable coffee knowledge has been gained through my place of work, a coffee shop at UCLA. On my first day, I walked behind the bar confused, shaking from anxiety and not knowing how to make a single drink. All of my co-workers seemed to know how to do everything and could understand the letters written on each cup like it was their native language. However, I was scrambling to retain as much information as I could from the Student Senior Supervisor who was training me. This was my first job ever and I wanted to be good at it, but during those first few shifts, I felt like all I did was ask question after question.

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On multiple occasions, I forgot to give the customer their pastries until they came up and asked for it. The rushes of people lining up for orders were always intense and I would continuously burn my hands with hot coffee and water. The register was so hard to work, and with three pages of different menu items, everything seemed to blur together. 

However, as time went on, I began to grasp it all. The letters on cups became recognizable and the burns became less consistent. The place of certain menu items came to me like the placement of keys on a keyboard. The people I worked with were no longer my co-workers, but friends who I laughed and talked with. As hard as it was to get out of bed in the morning, I was happy to go into work because making coffee was fun. 

[bf_image id="q2xyha-6heiqo-5f8jwx"] Although a lot of weird things happen with customers almost every day, I love my job. The people I work with are so nice and are always willing to help me - we work as a team behind the bar. I am so thankful for the day I walked in and was hired, because what started out as a way for me to pay for a dress I need for my dance team ended up becoming an experience I will never forget. 

Genessee (Gen-eh-see) is a second year, non-transfer senior majoring in English at UCLA. During her free time she loves to read, write, and dance. Currently she is a feature writer with HerCampus UCLA, writer for the UCLA VDay Coalition, and treasurer of Grupo Folklórico de UCLA. You can contact Genessee at genfloressantos@gmail.com
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