Walking in the Shoes of a Student Worker

Senior Elizabeth Labib shares her experiences of working in the Caf.

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Walking in the Shoes of a Student Worker

Katie Evensen/THE CHIMES

Katie Evensen/THE CHIMES

Katie Evensen/THE CHIMES

Katie Evensen/THE CHIMES

Rebecca Mitchell, Writer

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“What is there to eat?” is typically  the first question on everyone’s mind as they walk into the Caf to eat.  However, as a student worker the first question is, “Am I on time?” and then “What station am I working?” After working three years in the Caf Elizabeth Labib, senior communication sciences disorders major, has established a comfortable balance between her position with Bon Appetit and her responsibilities as a student.

Serving Others

Each shift, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, begins at the student workers assigned station with a checklist to complete for preparing the meal. From there, the Caf fills up with students, professors and faculty, and the line grows.

“It’s fun to serve fellow students and my own professors because they’re like ‘oh hi Elizabeth’ and I get to have all these conversations with people who I don’t normally see on a daily basis because everybody’s in the Caf,” Labib said.

A Position with Responsibilities

While some students may think working in the Caf is a lowly job, it is a position with responsibilities, Labib indicated. Working in the Caf also gives employees a new perspective on what kinds of food are available.

“Working with food, you come to appreciate it much more,” Labib said. “I’ve seen how hard the cooks work and how stressed out they are preparing two meals for over a thousand students in like four hours.”

Perspective

Besides cooking the main meals there are many other tasks to complete, from making packaged salads to baking cakes from scratch and serving the food. Each of these can be stressful, especially when the line is long and people are waiting to receive food.  

“Ever since I started Biola I learned to keep the mindset that I’m working for God’s glory so that I don’t burn out,” Labib said. “Yes, you are working, yes you are earning your paycheck, but at the end of the day it’s not even my own money, it’s God’s.”

Having a God-centered focus allows Labib to power through the daily circumstances of working the Caf and being a student.

“I don’t usually take any evening shifts, I have before, but I kind of learned not to do that so I have time to study at night,” Labib said. “I think it’s just all about balance.”

Doing the Job Well

Besides learning to balance with her school work Labib has also learned the impact one can make working in the Caf.

“I remember that even if I’m tired you make a big difference when you work in the Caf because students come to the Caf to get their energy … the only thing I can do is do my job and do it well,” Labib said.

In the process of doing her job well, Labib said she has learned how to serve and prepare food, what it means to serve, how to be kind, how to negotiate with coworkers and how to present the best services to eaters.

The Impact

“[By serving people] I am able to encourage them, I am able to show kindness to them, they could be having a very bad day and I smile and ask them how they are,” Labib said. “Maybe I’m the first person to ask them how they are, you just don’t know the impact you can make.”

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Walking in the Shoes of a Student Worker