Sabrina Lim

The dining commons is one of the busiest and most recognizable places on campus. Pretty much every UCSB student has eaten there at one point in time, which leads us to wonder … what’s it like working there?

Jennipher Nahue, a third year pre-psychology major who works at the Carrillo Dining Commons, shared her personal experience about the job. Aside from the seven bonus meal swipes, Nahue said the people she works with are what makes her want to continue the job. Her advice to students considering employment at the dining commons is to apply before the quarter starts.

How long have you been working at the dining commons?

Three years. Ever since my freshman year I have been working. I had two quarters off, but other than that I’ve been working there like nonstop — even summer.

Out of all four dining commons, which is your favorite?

Carrillo. Just because I feel so close to all the cooks and all my friends there. Even when I go eat there, I’ll be sitting at what we call the “employee table.” But now I feel like because there are so many people, sometimes I won’t sit there. It’s still cool and nice though.

What is the most memorable experience that has happened while working?

So before I got promoted to student cook, I was what they call a “blue shirt” which is where you serve the food, clean, do dishes, work back dock, work as a runner, and bus tables.

There was this one day when I was working back dock. I was mopping and I kind of mopped a lot in one spot, which was like really wet. And I was like okay, when I come back I’ll clean it up. And then I saw some of the chiefs walking by. I was like “oh my gosh, they are going to fall!”

So I kind of run over there but as I’m telling them to be careful, I’m the one that slips and falls. So now every time they see me, we have this thing where we say “be careful!” It’s kind of like a jinx. It’s so funny and I regret that day. That was my first year and we still say it. I’m kind of clumsy so when I’m there holding stacks, they come behind me like “be careful!”

If you could only eat only one thing from the dining commons for the rest of your life, what would it be?

The pasta carbonara, just because it’s so good. Like the cream sauce and bacon … that’s like my favorite pasta ever. The cook that cooks the pasta already knows. Whenever I see it, I’m just like “my favorite!” I would get my bowl and get two scoops, honestly. I feel like they have it quite often because it’s just really good. Maybe once a week or sometimes twice.

What is your favorite and least favorite thing about working at the dining commons?

My favorite thing is meeting a lot of the students. First year, that’s how I made all my friends really quickly. And then later on I met them from clubs and stuff. But most of my friends that I am still friends with today are my coworkers. My favorite is just getting to know them. I’ll go [to work] and everyone will be like “how is your day?” or “how was school?”

When I serve I usually see the same UCSB students that come. It might be weird but I try getting to know them like, “Hi, what’s your name?” I’ll make friends and know what they like. They don’t even have to ask anymore because I’ll be like “of course you can have more … you don’t have to ask me, I know you.”

I guess my least favorite thing is when I am serving and I don’t serve the right amount. Like I will try getting the broccoli sometimes. I will serve it and then there is only one broccoli on the plate. Also, my least favorite thing is when there is a long line and we have to tell people to only take one and come back later. But I like working there, it’s fun.

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