If you’ve ever visited Bookworms or the Chem Cafe, perhaps Lauren Ablondi has chatted with you as she cashed you out. The sixth-semester English major, who works as a cashier and barista at the cafes, says that she’s always happy to talk with her customers and that this interaction makes her day.
“I can talk to anyone about anything, like in airports or in lines for coffee, whatever it is, so I love when I’m cashier and I get to interact with people,” Ablondi said. “I like the social interaction part of the job … It’s nice to be able to chat with people, and there’s always some experience that puts a smile on my face at work.”
Indeed, Ablondi has also had the opportunity to meet friends of different majors by working in the cafes. She said that her shifts with friends often feel “like you’re just kind of hanging out but working at the same time.”
And she’s not without her share of funny stories. According to Ablondi, there was once a situation with a guy who asked what was in a drink.
“I was kind of explaining it to him, and I was like, ‘Do you want me to put anything else in it?’ And he was like, ‘Um, like love? Can you make it with love?’” Ablondi recalls. “I literally could not stop laughing for like 15 minutes, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I got you. I’ll put two pumps of love in, don’t worry.’ That one made my day.”
Though she’s busy with classes and activities like the Long River Review and Her Campus, Ablondi says that she is “grateful” for her job at the cafes and its flexible schedule. She also appreciates her supervisors’ understanding of the demands of the school work that she must do as a college student.
Another perk of being a cafe barista/cashier that Ablondi noted was that once she leaves work and takes off her uniform, her job is done. Unlike some other working students, Ablondi said that she’s fortunate not to have to take work home with her. Because of this, Ablondi highly recommends a position in the cafes to students who might be seeking their first on-campus job.
“Like I said, it’s not a job where you’re taking things home with you, like once you leave, you’re done for the day, so that’s always really nice as well,” Ablondi said. “I always recommend, if you want to get a first job on campus, maybe start with something that’s food service.”
In fact, when Ablondi was looking for work at the beginning of her sophomore year, she decided to apply for a job in the cafes because she had previous food service experience and understood the duties and the advantages of such a job. Nevertheless, Ablondi also simply liked the UConn cafes and their products and services.
“I also just like love coffee, and I’ve always loved going to the cafes when I was a freshman,” Ablondi said. “I love the Beanery, like I love Bookworms, so it was always kind of fun to go there, and I was like, ‘Oh, I could just work there too.’”
As for the future, though, Ablondi intends to pursue a career in publishing or entertainment journalism. With a concentration in creative writing and a communications minor, she’s well equipped to enter either industry.
“I would love to go into publishing and write a book of my own one day,” Ablondi said, “I also really love entertainment journalism and movies and celebrities, so writing about that kind of stuff.”
Stephanie Santillo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.