According to some ancient tradition, a massive part of the university lifestyle is the social experience that is attached to it. For a fair few, time outside of the lecture theatres is rarely spent without an alcoholic beverage in one hand and the other in the air, riding the beat of a tune. But for people like me, that boozy novelty is spent from the perspective of the wrong side of the bar.
Having already worked in a bar/restaurant for two years before starting university, I was well aware of how demanding the job can be. Between the long shifts and the late nights, I knew it could be an extra weight on top of my studies. Fortunately, I transferred my shifts to a bar in town who accepted me as weekend staff.
Although I do miss out on my Friday and Saturday nights, this hugely outweighs missing out on sleep before a 9am lecture. And, let’s face it, there’s only so many times you can put your glad rags on and drink the same mixers and dance to the same beats before it all becomes monotonous. So now, a year later, I still don’t feel at a loss.
A price I do have to pay though is being the sober friend at the party; a character that no one enjoys. Yes, I too get to enjoy the music and soak up the atmosphere, but with drunken people spurting demands/rudeness; from my side of the bar, that atmosphere isn’t all that peachy.
Luckily, I’ve developed new levels of patience and have mastered the art of the fake smile. And I suppose being the sober friend means that I manage to avoid the car crash of a hangover the next morning.
Although most bar jobs don’t offer much more than minimum wage, it is still an extra bit of income that helps student loans stretch a little bit further. Training is non-exhaustive and quick, and hours don’t have to be particularly strenuous.
What many forget though is that in a place that fuels intoxicated activity, there is potential for a lot to go wrong, including accidentally stepping on the wrong side of the law. So if I ever ID you, I promise I don’t do it to be a nuisance; I do it to avoid wasting my degree behind bars. It is my job to ask. It is your job to take it as a compliment.
Despite all this, I wouldn’t change my job for anything. As much as it puts my patience to the test, it has also allowed me to meet some really interesting people. I am also lucky enough to work amongst a team who genuinely get on with each other, which makes my job that little bit more enjoyable!