What I Learned by Working In US’ One of The Best Campus Dinings


I’m sitting by the window where I used to eat my meals before and after my shifts, just this is my last day working here. I have to say the Hampshire Dining Commons of UMass Amherst has made my current self see a different person to my old self.

1. Food cultures around the world are beautiful

We have so many menu rolls – English breakfast, American, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Moroccan, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korea, and many more. I learn a lot about different cooking  and serving tehniques, which make me think about their own cultural and philosophical roots. It’s such an expansion of my “to hunt” food dictionary for future travels – when I taste them in their very homelands.

2. There’s always a space for home-cooking

On the other hand, there is a LOT of options. Everyday. All you can eat. However, this new standard makes me appreciate more of home cookings. Where we touch our foods from the very beginning and watch them transform to be edible, hot, and tasty. We then sit down and savor in calm or with people we love.

3. Making/preparing the foods make it more delicious

I can take whatever I want, but when my shift ends I always crave for the foods I serve! Watching its glaze, smelling its aroma, and feeling the texture when I serve is like stimulating my sense and taste preception before eating.

4. It’s a big responsibility to control your eating in an all-you-care-to-eat dining

Indeed. I went from 136.6 lbs to 144 lbs, back to 137.5 lbs. I went from 1 palm serving to 2-3 plates, back to 1 palm per eating.  My face bloated. The turning point was when I stepped back, asked my self, “is it really healthy? Is it really how I’m investing in my self”. The enemies are: want to have everything, “everyone’s like that so I’m okay too”, and not to check the nutrition facts.

5. Nice people make a nice workplace

It’s pretty much same everywhere. A workplace is also a place when different people meet, in their own good or bad days. However, nice people are truly energizing. Their smiles, greetings, and helps always made my days. I see so many different people, but I think being nice to others overcome our looks, achievements, or groups. That’s what make other people’s day better, and that’s what good thing that other people can get from you.

6. Being a server: It’s good to give

Even it is just scooping foods that don’t eveb belong to us, serving gives good feeling like other giving acts. Of course, then I knew simple things like smiling, “please”, “how’s it going?”, or “have a good day” be very meaningful.

7. Being a server: People are very different

By being a server I also enjoyed watching many people walked across in front of me. So many stories can be told. Good days, bad days, cool looks, new couple, good friends, finals week. People are so different, and that’s beautiful.

8. Happiness is an initiative

In many cases a job is not always what someone wants to do for living. Sometimes it’s also tiring thing that we do after school or other things. And sometimes it’s hard to find one or two people smiling back. At first, I thought that’s the new normal and I didn’t need to smile first anymore. But since I realized how important a smile is by beig a server, I don’t want to lose that. In fact, I then be surprised how the smile spreads when I just smile first, express my happiness, not waiting for other people to be nice first.

9. What boss is the real boss

The reall boss is not who can only get things done, but also takes care of people and working atmosphere. Gladly, I found another role model in my boss. He smiled to everyone, he threw jokes, he asked things nicely, he said thanks, he said please, he spoke with his eyes sincerely, he worked with his heart.

10. The importance (and beauty) of a smile

Again, many people went back and forth in front of me serving. Countless cool styles every season. But smiles are definitely what make people “good-looking”, good-to-be-looked-at.

11. Heartwork speeds up time

When we work wholeheartedly, time flies faster.

12. I work with dads, moms, grandmas, sons, daughters

Other employees that sometimes we have a fuzz with are dads, moms grandmas sons, and daughters. “If that’s my grandma, what do I want her to experience in her workplace?”

13. Language fluency is crucial

When we speak in a language we are not native, we often say things that we don’t mean, without realizing it. And what matters then is willingness to step back, understand if it doesn’t sound really nice, and appreciate everyonems effort.

14. An educational system needs such workplace for students

Bottomline, this working-while-studying is something I would really recommend everyone to experience. For my food science field too, working in a restaurant gave me so many practical insights and especially the love of food. Such experience should be a part of the whole education package. I’m feeling extremely grateful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s