Guest Column ‘South’s Most Influential’- Julia Jakubiak

Julia Jakubiak, key club leader

Every high school student looks forward to the weekend—it’s a time to sleep in, get together with friends, or catch up on homework from last week’s procrastination. But instead of kicking back and relaxing, I’m nowhere to be found. So where am I?

You can find me sporting my mustard yellow uniform, working diligently as a birthday party host for kids. I’ve learned that trying to balance a part-time job, extracurriculars and an intense academic workload is a juggling act. It’s overwhelming to come home at 9 p.m. on a Sunday with a night’s worth of incomplete homework (sorry to all my teachers reading this.) But if there’s anything this experience has taught me, it’s that jobs are about more than just the spending money.

Every customer who enters the doors of my workplace is like a wildcard. Sometimes, I face situations that make me want to pull my hair out, but that’s how things really are in the world. Coming into work day-after-day has become a cycle from my perspective. Yet for the customers, it’s my responsibility to make their kid’s one special day of the year as close to perfect as can be.

By witnessing the good and the ugly of customer service, I am able to carry these experiences over to my own situations. I always go the extra mile when it comes to appreciating waiters at restaurants or cashiers at grocery stores, because I know how it feels to be in their shoes. A simple “thank you” truly goes a long way. I mean it.

When I first started working, I had not expected to make so many new friends. I became close with some co-workers who I would have never talked to at GBS were it not for my job. By spending hours upon hours with them, I found a new support system and sense of community.

Looking back, I am forever grateful for the lessons I have gained through my work experience. Although it can be difficult to pass up on a Friday night hang-out with my friends, I would not trade my memories for anything else.