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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

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Coffee shop survival crash course

Alyssa Wang
Emily finds happiness in enjoying the small moments of life, even if it’s as small as a cup of coffee.

Amber light seeps from windows, smiling faces shaded by olive branches that sway with wind and coffee-house jazz music. I’m writing this column during my 15-minute break, honey lemon tea nursed in one hand and my keyboard under the other.

But it hasn’t always been this way. I’ve been working at my parent’s coffee shop since the summer before my freshman year. When I first started working, I would drag myself out of bed, pull on my black uniform and head to work — motivation sparked solely by my duty to my family who were largely in debt after recently opening a business. 

Unbeknownst to me at the time, it wasn’t the job or the labor that made my shifts feel miserable, but my own mindset. Growing up, my parents had always lectured me about thoroughness, saying, “If you’re going to do something, you should do it well.” I took these words a little too seriously, thrusting perfectionism into my time at the café. Every moment I tried to keep moving, desperate to make myself useful. This turned shifts into slogs of mumbling recipes and steps in dizzied hazes. I had associated my self-worth with how many toasts or drinks I could make in 10 minutes, or how often I would perform the arduous labor no one else wanted to do. I felt more like a cog in a machine than a human: sweaty, sore, muscles aching. What’s worse is that through my discomfort I would refuse to take breaks throughout my seven hour shifts, darting from one blurry task to another. 

But when I started to allow myself to take breaks and my mind to drift from rigid tasks to the little things, I was no longer solely driven by a sense of obligation to support my family. Instead, I started to find love in the coffee shop. The atmosphere, the people. I saw Bill, a war veteran, wheel in through the door daily to find solace from haunting memories in smooth, sweet lattes. Watched as his lashes closed, chin tipped back, savoring the space under sunlight. Even my understanding of fellow staff members, whom I had once viewed as intimidating, started to sprout. I grew to smile at disproportioned Garfield cat sketches and bubble-letter-cheer-up notes left on our storage-room whiteboard. Soon I left some of my own, scrawling pastel reminders to stay hydrated in the back, drawing smiley faces into the condensation-coated cold brew dispensers. 

I found wonder in the way friends and families circled the checkered toasts we had previously made, food and beverages serving as diverging points, conversation starters and sources of smiles. Their chiming laughter, blending with the drips of pour-over tea. 

Focusing on these human aspects allowed me to find value and appreciation for both life inside and outside work, as I learned that creating small, joyful moments in someone’s life is priceless, even if that act seems as small as brewing someone a cup of tea.

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About the Contributors
Emily Pedroza
Emily Pedroza, Features Editor
(she/her) Emily Pedroza is a soup and writing enthusiast. When she’s not writing or studying, you’ll find her wrapped in blankets: reading, stalking her favorite poets on Twitter and nursing cups of herbal tea.
Rohan Kakhandiki
Rohan Kakhandiki, Staffer
(he/him) Rohan is a sophomore as well as a first-year staffer at the Epic. He enjoys to play guitar and hang out with his friends in his free time.
Lilly Wu
Lilly Wu, Opinion Editor
(she/her) Lilly is a junior and the opinion editor for the Epic. Some of her hobbies include dancing, watching cdrama and going to amusement parks.
Alexandra Wu
Alexandra Wu, Staffer
(she/her) Alexandra is a sophomore and a first-year staffer in the Epic. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her guinea pigs and going out with friends and family.
Vidushi Upadhyay
Vidushi Upadhyay, Staffer
(she/her) Vidushi loves being a part of the Epic and is excited to write movie reviews this year! She's a dedicated swimmer and loves dancing for the school team. In her free time, she obsesses over Formula One and her favorite TV show at the time.
Alyssa Wang
Alyssa Wang, Opinion Editor
(she/her) Alyssa is a junior, a second-year staffer and the Opinion editor for the Epic. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going to the library, playing Mario Kart,and binging TV shows and movies late at night. You can often find her at nearby boba shops, Target, strolling through the aisles of Barnes and Noble, or in the pool playing water polo.  

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