Entering UAlbany, I knew one of the sources of food on campus was the dining hall. When I first came, I would always go there with my friends because it was nice to see all the new faces on campus. Overtime as it got colder and less people started going outside including myself, it made me realize how tired I was of eating the same thing. The more frequently I went, the more acquainted I became with the staff. Over the course of two semesters, I became on a first-name basis with some of the staff. They would always greet me with a “good morning,” “good afternoon,” or just a general “hello”. When I first meant the dining staff, many of them were welcoming and always had a smile on their face. It would make my day early in the morning when they would say “good morning” because I’m usually tired and grumpy but that does brighten my day and helps motivate me to push through my classes for the next few hours. When I would go in-between classes and I felt like I just wanted to go to my room to take a nap, they would make conversations with me. Often, they would ask about my day and genuinely sound interested in how/what I am doing. They do not ever know what is going on within my day or how I am feeling but they always find a way to make me feel special.
I watch as many students, sometimes, don’t even thank the dining hall staff for serving them food or making their sandwiches. A lot of people have the ‘it’s their job’ mindset, and for a while I had that too. But, as I got to talking with them and was actually grateful for the simple things that they do, they turned out to be amazing people. We never consider their perspective, they have to deal with different people every day and not everyone they come across are respectful. We forget that they are just regular people like us, and they have bad days too. They transition with us, getting a new flood of students every semester, so I thought about it like they are growing with us. Each staff member in the dining hall that I talked to, if I recall correctly, has made me smile at least once throughout our conversations. I had began to think that it was their mission, it seems silly, but I could not understand why they were at all interested in having a conversation with me because they didn’t really have too. They’re genuinely all good people who always seem to brighten my day.
I am appreciative of them mostly because I do not have to make or buy my own food, unless I want too. But I like having an option, and it makes the repetitive food, a whole lot more bearable because the staff there is great. I did no realize how much they influenced how much I went to the dining hall. Whether they know it or not, the dining staff was a part of my transition at UAlbany and because most of them are from the Caribbean and know things about the city where I’m from, it makes home seem a lot less far away. The staff should not go without recognition, they are amazing people and I want to thank them for going above and beyond to make my experience at UAlbany a memorable one because I need you.
About the Author:
Karen H. Class of 2019 Major: Intended - English Minor: Spanish Blog Theme: Because I Need You
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