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What I've Learned Working at a University Campus Bar

Tips on Getting Through Your Shifts and Managing School at the Same Time

Bartending on your university campus can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your university career. However, it can also be one of the most physically draining aspects as well. If there's anyone out there interested in applying to a local university bar. Here's a few things I've learned throughout my experience and some tips to get you through balancing both your studies and your job. 

1. Your sleep schedule is going to go completely out the window.

The first thing you'll notice when you start working at a campus bar is that your sleep cycle is going to be almost non-existent and naps will become your best friend. When the bar doesn't close until 2 AM and the last few drunken stragglers finally make their way out of the bar, you still have to spend sometimes up to an hour just to get the bar cleaned up and shut down. When you have classes the next morning you learn very quickly how to get the most out of short naps and copious amounts of coffee throughout the day. 

2. You'll soon realize most of your coworkers are high-functioning alcoholics.

As strange as this sounds it's the absolute truth in university bars. When you have a bar filled with 500 drunken patrons and you've just finished having your tenth conversation with someone in the bar asking you to set them up with "this one cute girl I saw earlier," it can be a long night. That's why a lot of the bartenders I know usually have at least a few drinks in them by the end of the night just to make the night more bearable. 

3. The absolute best part of the job is people watching.

Once the drinks start flowing and people are having a good time it's not long before the alcohol takes over and people start doing the most ridiculous things anyone's ever seen. And when there isn't a line up at the bar the bartenders love to scan the bar and watch it all go down. Whether it be the one guy who's snapchatting himself dancing alone in the middle of the crowd or the girl who's desperately trying to get anyone to come up and dance with her, some of the best entertainment at the bar is simply watching the crowd. 

4. There's usually one group that will always screw with the jukebox.

The bar I work at has a digital jukebox that can be controlled either from the jukebox or from the customer's phone. While working you'll soon realize that there will always be that one group that will play the worst music they can think of simply for a laugh. Just last week a customer put $30 into the machine and spent the next hour playing every Nickelback song ever made. Then there's the group that loves to come in, put on kid's songs (the "Wheels on the bus," "Twinkle twinkle little star" etc.) and then immediately leave the bar and let the rest of us suffer. Days like this I thank god for the complementary ear plugs offered to staff. 

5. Working at the bar comes with plenty of perks.

As much as the job can be draining both physically and mentally there are so many more perks that come with the job that make it totally worth it. This is even more apparent when the bar has a lot of bands performing there as well. Working at the bar for the past two years I've been able to see plenty of amazing bands and acts coming through the bar. Not only do you get to see the bands for free while you're working, a lot of times you even get to meet the band members when they come in to set up their equipment, and sometimes even get some free band merchandise too! 

6. You'll soon feel like you know everyone on campus.

When you work at a bar on campus it doesn't take long before you start to learn the names and faces of the regulars who come often. Whether it be the students who stop in between classes for a quick pint to get them through the day or the students who come into the bar at night, order shots for themselves and all their friends and then constantly talk about how they never have any money to spend. You'll soon start to learn their names and actually make some pretty great friends through your work.

Working at the bar may be stressful and exhausting at times but it is by far the best job available to students on campus. There's no other job I've had where I've been able come in every night, drink with my friends, listen to great music and meet new people all while getting paid. If you're debating on applying to your local campus bar my advice to you is go for it. Years down the road some of your best memories from university may be spent working that bar. 

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