By Liane Librizzi
You don’t have to be a student at the College to learn here.
Though the thought seems rather paradoxical, it’s a proven fact that to work diligently at achieving your goals and furthering your passions doesn’t necessarily come with a tuition price. As a matter of fact, quite the contrary — you can even get paid for it instead.
Just ask Bessie Gardner.
Gardner, of Trenton, N.J., has been wearing many hats since she began working at the College eight years ago. Her day typically begins at 8 a.m. when she works with building services until 4:30 p.m., keeping Travers clean and aiding in snow removal on days that require it.
“I like helping out wherever it’s needed,” she said with a smile.
Yet, her eyes began to glisten with true satisfaction as she began to tell of her night shift in the TDubs kitchen. The sound of clanging pots and pans in the background, Gardner stood in front of roughly 60 pieces of wheat and white bread, preparing to make more than 30 sandwiches that would later be sent to the Library and C-store as “To Go” options. It takes about an hour and half to make the orders of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, along with the buffalo and chicken Caesar wraps that would be set out as options for students in a hurry the next day. Gardner, though, is slow to complain — she’s too driven to be drained.
“My goal now is I’d like to go to school to further my education … I want to go for culinary arts,” she said with excitement. “Once I (pay off my vehicle this year), I am looking to move forward.”
Gardner further went on to explain how her 28-year-old daughter is soon opening a restaurant in Texas, and she projects that she may be able to work with her there once she obtains her degree.
“I love what I do, but I also try to keep my mind focused on trying to move ahead,” she said, wiping the counter before beginning her sandwich-making.
Little does she know, with every sandwich she makes, she’s one step closer to achieving that dream, reminding all of us that our work at the College, though sometimes unnoticed, can be just the beginning to greater things.