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Student bartenders mix business, pleasure, school

Rose Zhou / Lantern reporter

Mixing late nights at work, morning classes, conflicting schedules and schoolwork, student bartenders have a lot on their shelves. Although some Ohio State students enjoy the social benefits that come with bartending, others remain a little shaken up by the responsibilities.

Corbin Wrights, a fourth-year in business management, has been around a bar since he was 10 years old.

“My mom ran a hotel with a bar since I was 10,” Wrights said. “I started barbacking when I was 16. That led me to me working in the service industry when I went to college.”

While Wrights said his job can be fun, it has also lead to other opportunities.

“The greatest thing about bartending is networking. I started bartending at Applebee’s then got a job at McFadden’s (Saloon) as a bartender, DJ and GM. Now I’m over at Park Street,” Wrights said.

While stirring social connections is almost guaranteed from behind the bar, Wrights said the tips he earns aren’t always so stable.

“There are nights where I’ve made a thousand dollars and nights where I’ve received no tips at all,” Wrights said.

But despite the inconsistency of tips, Wright said the job does come with its perks.

“I was able to meet a lot of great people while bartending like Lebron James, Three Six Mafia and I was also invited to a party by LMFAO,” he said.

But with the good also comes the bad. Wrights said there were times when he was a manager where he had to work 120 hours a week.

“Thursdays are our busiest nights. I’ll be there till like four or five in the morning and then I’ll have a nine o’clock class. So I drive home and sleep for a couple of hours then head to class,” Wrights said.

He said it’s a balancing act in which there are times where the schedule conflicts and quarters when his classes do not fit into his schedule.

Kimberly Barr, a fourth-year in communication who bartends at Applebee’s, said schedule conflicts weren’t always her biggest concern.

“For me it was kind of different since I use to be a server,” Barr said. “If people were being rude I could just walk away, where as a bartender I have to deal with the rudeness and still make their drink.”

Matt Witzman, a second-year in industrial and systems engineering, said he thinks it would be great to be a bartender.

He said a big part of bartending is being personable with the customer and having an idea about what drinks they might like.

“You’re also going to have to be able to promote (the bar),” Witzman said.

Stephen Wozniak, a second-year in chemical engineering, said he has had many good nights at clubs and bartenders played a huge role in making it so enjoyable.

He mentioned how a bartender had to keep the place calm and break up any fights that might occur.

Alex Cottle, a fourth-year in medical laboratory science, said she has never been to a bar or club but has friends who have. She said she thinks interpersonal skills and having the “know-how” to make drinks is important to being successful at such a job.

Cottle said she thinks it would be a good job for students to have for the weekends when they aren’t too busy studying and were out having fun.

Rick Leonard, an OSU physics professor, said the balancing act between bartending and going to school was the same when he was a student.

“I know I’ve had to handle awkward schedules at various times in my career. I would find it very difficult and a complicated task having to stay up all through the night, sleep for a few hours, and then have to go to an exam the next morning,” Leonard said.

The schedules can be conflicting, the hours are long and sometimes schoolwork does not get completed. Yet Wrights plans to successfully balance all his work and he plans to graduate on time in June.

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