Each new semester comes with change: potentially adjusting to a new dorm, a new class schedule, finding out you only hung out with someone because they lived next door to you, and a mind boggling lack of pasta bar – at least for everyone who’s not a freshman. Finding your place on campus is inherently difficult because there’s a social sphere that people inhabit and an academic sphere that students must take into account. Having these two spheres, both of which are an integral part of a student’s life on campus, forces students to find their own balance which, sometimes isn’t quite the mix that they would prefer.
Mohammad Boozarjomehri ’19 came back to Swarthmore ready to tackle his classes, and increase his responsibility and presence on campus. He saw a job at Sharples as a perfect way to earn money and interact with the community in a positive way. Boozarjomehri applied, waited, and received the job. It seemed like a perfect mix of the two spheres at Swarthmore, which usually feel like such opposites.
“Why did I want to work at Sharples? I wanted that cash bro, I needed the money,” Boozarjomehri explained.
He had everything you would want in an employee: enthusiasm and restaurant experience. He was excited for the opportunity and was ready for the challenge. He just wanted to be that person that everyone could rely on make their day better.
“Everyone sees that one guy who is happy, who jokes around with them and makes them feel loved. They feel like they have a better day, and I just want to that person,” Boozarjomehri said.
Boozarjomehri was well intentioned and attempted, arguably successfully, to be a positive entity in our community in such a visible position as a server at Sharples. In his enthusiasm, he flew too close to the sun, ultimately getting fired from the position after day two with an email swifter than any of his dabs. A dab, for those not immersed in rap, the NFL, or hip hop culture, is a popular (yet fading) dance move in which one puts their face into their elbow as if sneezing and then sticks their other arm straight up and out into the air opposite to the direction they are leaning.
It all started on Monday. Boozarjomehri was elated about getting to work his five to seven shift at Sharples. When he began working, his excitement only escalated. He got increasingly more enthusiastic, dabbing more and more, even encouraging people in line to dab when they came for seconds.
“I was out of control. I was hyper, you know. I had springs in my feet. I put my hat on backwards. You know, sometimes, I would save that fat dab, you know, the dabs that stop hearts, I’d save them for the special occasions. I was so hyped, I dabbed like crazy,” Boozarjomehri recounted.
After his first day Boozarjomehri’s boss asked via email if he would be available to work on Tuesday. At first, he was hesitant but ultimately chose to work the Tuesday shift, to both his excitement and his boss’ apprehension. After a successful day of dabbing and serving Swarthmore students, Boozarjomehri showed up for his second day at Sharples, but his first time working with his boss.
“I got there. My boss, I met her for the first time. She was like, Okay, let’s be a little less enthusiastic; I heard yesterday that you were a little too hyper. Let’s just calm down a little bit,” Boozarjomehri said. Despite her words, he couldn’t help but getting excited when the dinner rush arrived.
“The rush started, and I got more and more excited and I started to do a dab,” Boozarjomehri admitted.
Unfortunately, his boss wasn’t as much of a fan of his continued enthusiasm as other members of the community. Boozarjomehri made it through the rest of the day with a few warnings as to why he shouldn’t continue dabbing.
“I got an email from Therese Hopson that said along the lines of ‘Hey, thank you for coming today, you’re a little too enthusiastic and we asked you to stop a few times but you didn’t. We’re trying to give other people chances — a lot of people signed up for this job, so like, don’t come in to work on Monday,’” Boozarjomehri admitted.
Determined to continue working at Sharples, Boozarjomehri light heartedly replied to her email.
“So I emailed her, ‘What about Tuesday? Can I come on Tuesday?’ She emailed back and said, Yes, you can’t come on Tuesday or Monday but you can get paid for the hours you did,” Boozarjomehri said with a laugh.
Arijit Nerukar ‘19 shared about his experience having Boozarjomehri as his server in Sharples.
“I came to the front [of the line], he said no mashed potatoes for you. Then he was like just kidding and then dabbed. After serving me the woman next to him took charge and he move to the back and continued dabbing,” Nerukar recounted.
Tiyé Pulley ‘19 also shared his opinion after experiencing the enthusiastic and hyper atmosphere Boozarjomehri brought to Sharples.
“Mohammed epitomizes both the dying days of the dab and it’s everlasting power. He’s the closest thing to a living meme this campus has got and that’s a power that should be respected, never abused,” Tiyé shared.
Despite the conflicts between Boozarjomehri’s expected and demonstrated workplace composure that cut his Sharples experience short, the experience led him to find a position that allowed him to be himself while still earning money: Mary Lyon breakfast.
“I’m getting training to work ML breakfast, and at ML breakfast, creativity is encouraged and ML-ers are crazy in their own way, I’m excited about that,” he shared excitedly.
Boozarjomehri hopes excitement and quirkiness will help him fit in as he helps to continue the tradition of ML breakfast, which is provided to all on the weekends in the Mary Lyon breakfast room.
It’s hard to find your place on campus, and can be even harder to determine how to juggle the two or more spheres you occupy at Swarthmore. Boozarjomehri knows the role he wants to play and is open to finding ways that allow him to do that on campus.
“If … anyone reading this feels like I’ve been too much then I apologize because that’s not my intention, and please tell me. I hope that me smiling, me joking around, and me serving food in like silly ways and me dabbing makes people’s food and serving experience feel more lively, because that’s what I’m trying to do,” Boozarjomehri shared as a closing remark.