One night, as I was watching television and contemplating my first essay for the CT, I began to think of the various trials and tribulations that have come into my life.

I also began to compare and contrast them to my most recent one, involving the workplace. With that in mind, I decided to make this my first piece for the CT, not only to tell a story, but to inspire, as well.

I have spent the previous five years at UR as a cashier. I started out at the Meliora, then at Wilson Commons and then Douglass – as of this article, I am currently cashiering at Eastman. For the most part, it came pretty easily, cashing out customers and doing various other small things pertaining to it as well. I made a lot of friends, both inside the workplace as well as outside, and I enjoy handling and learning about money. I am also planning to take classes pertaining to such subject matter.

However, due to the restructuring of jobs for the fall, it had come to me settling for the porter position, a position in which I had no prior experience, nor did I particularly care for.

What’s more, it was at one of my old stomping grounds, the Meliora, a place that gets notoriously busy during the school year. My time as a cashier there told me that. Since I wasn’t set on this position to begin with, I began to look at the job postings during the summer to find alternatives.

But I couldn’t find any at that time. Confused and somewhat upset, I came to the realization that I may have to settle for this porter position, at least for the time being.

Alas, the school year has begun, the students have returned, and the fall semester has just gotten underway. I begrudgingly walked into the porter position at the Meliora, not really knowing what I was in for.

Man, was I in for it! I came to find out that I not only had dishes and trash, but pots, too! Moreover, I was going solo for the first two days. Aside from the brief instructions that a friendly co-worker who had previously had a little – and I mean little – experience with the machine, I was basically left to man the place on my own.

What a stressful situation! Not only did I feel like a fish out of water – despite asking questions whenever appropriate – I felt like I was going up against a mass-produced cavalry, with the dishes and pots coming in as though the cavalry was launching a massive attack.

That, along with the fact that it seemed as if I was working with an ill-fated machine, as it broke down almost every day or seemed as if something was always wrong. With this in mind, I steadfastly looked on that job board every day.

On the brighter side, I did eventually get help, on my second of three weeks there. It was reliable help, although it seemed as if we were both learning on the job. It made the transition much easier, and took a big load off my back.

Moreover, I had the support of the managers and co-workers, who encouraged me to hang on in there until something more suited to me came along.

Soon, the current position I am in came up, and I bid on it. Two days later, the manager of the place, who just happened to be on campus, came over and told me that I had the position. I was so glad and all parties involved were happy for me. I would start there in one week.

At last, the third and final week was over, and I could relax. Relax and go back to the work that I am used to. Looking back on it, however, although it seemed as though it was hell on Earth, I viewed it as a challenge – a challenge to do something I have never done before, and will probably never do again. A challenge to overcome and persist, even in the tough times.

A challenge to strive to be the best possible, even in the worst of times. I also learned the importance of having people encouraging and consoling me in times of need, and just plain being a friend in general.

Hey, we all could use that. With all this in mind, with a new college year, I am sure that the college students have many challenges ahead of them, such as midterms, exams and life on their own, to name a few. It is up to the individual college student to be the best possible. I wish the best of luck to them in all they strive to achieve.

Jackson can be reached at

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