The strong earthy aroma of grinded coffee beans floated in the air marinating into my hoodie as I made my way to Jazzman’s café. It wasn’t long until the aroma drifted throughout the Brandt Student Center, penetrating the misty cloak of sleep with it’s rejuvenating odor. As I approached the overly crowded cash register, I noticed the barista, Alexa working diligently and single handedly taking everyone’s orders. She displayed a high level of vigor, as she was constantly multitasking. Even though she was constantly engaged with students, Alexa displayed characteristics of an introvert. When the coffee shop isn’t busy, you can find Alexa keeping to herself. She seemed more content enjoying time with herself versus her interactions with students and customers.
I wanted to know what Alexa thought of her job, specifically, was it hard work or smart work? Making coffee served no relevance to her degree and career path. Alexa’s drive is motivated by pride. She isn’t looking for short cuts or external factors to keep her motor running. Without pride in your work, you give up before completing the job. Luckily, Alexa agreed to continue our conversation on her lunch break. I discovered that she is a graduate student, seeking to become licensed in music therapy.
For Alexa, music therapy is a way to connect with people through the power of musical healing. She chose this degree because she wants to make a difference in patient’s lives and Shenandoah University is one of few places that offers it. As for the future, she hopes to take her music therapy degree back home to Ohio and find work there. From speaking with her, I could tell her heart is set on working at the Cleveland Clinic. It holds great sentimental value to her. She reminisced of when her mother went in for a surgery; the doctors and nurses treated her mother like family. The Cleveland Clinic is truly a patient centered culture, a very rare occurrence. Who knows where she’ll end up. It could be at a hospital, clinic, hospice or rehabilitation center. For the time being, her main objective is to focus on completing her program and then going from there. She doesn’t like jumping ahead of herself and thinking about the future however when Jazzman’s isn’t busy, she dwells upon it quite often. Don’t we all?
After speaking with her, we both agreed that choosing Shenandoah University was the right decision. This interview was very insightful and helped satisfy my hunger for getting to know a stranger. Approaching someone unfamiliar and conversing with them can prove to be very rewarding. It can help you look past the daunting fear of being judged and give you more confidence.