By Ali Bhanpuri
Her eyes open at 6:40 a.m., five minutes before her phone alarm will fill her room with high-pitched rings. The night before, she fell asleep to the sound of rowdy partygoers and shattering beer bottles. She has her way of dealing with it: John Mayer’s “Heavier Things.” Each night she submerges herself in the musician’s lyrics to escape the slurred voices that slide up her fire escape and inundate her barren room.
As a 21-year-old senior at Boston University, Jennifer Speer is beginning the transition from the “crazy college girl” lifestyle she embraced for the last three years to a standard professional schedule. Juggling two jobs and her school work, Speer has had to sacrifice her late nights for early mornings.
“I feel like I’m not fun anymore,” says Speer, who begins each day with a French Vanilla Iced Latte from Dunkin’ Donuts. “But I’ve had three years of fooling around.”
In the spring, she graduates from BU and begins searching for employment. Although she understands the importance of education, internships, and multiple jobs, the nightly sounds of her classmates partying and parading down Gardner Street remain a steady reminder of the life she is changing for a promising future.
Speer is a double major at BU, focusing on English and magazine journalism. She uses the latter skill set in her work as a technical writing intern at SunGard, a software company located in the Financial District. When she finishes her 9 to 5 schedule at her internship, Speer works the night shift as a cocktail waitress at Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar. She works 50 hours a week between her two gigs, making her daily schedule hectic.
“I’m better at managing my time when I don’t have any,” says the Wisconsin native, whose family now lives in Grayslake, IL. “I have no choice—I have to adjust to real-world hours.”
School and work take up the majority of her time, but she feels her work ethic sets a strong example for her 16-year-old brother, Scott, who struggles to get his homework finished. He says he is proud of his sister and acknowledges that she has been a great guide for him.
“She’s a caring person, who really knows herself,” says the high school junior. “Of course there are advantages and disadvantages of having an older sister, but I feel like I can talk to her about mostly anything.”
Speer is anxious about her future, worrying about her post-graduation life. She describes her biggest fear as “graduating and not having a job.” Although she’s uncertain about which career will best suit her, the journalism major knows this much:
“I know that I don’t want to work as a cocktail waitress when I’m older.”