Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Terminology

Walking into class, we all received a sheet of paper containing two questions. It was asking us to explain our act of service that we had committed over the weekend. I did not end up using my small act of service that I committed to the server at the Statler. Instead, I described an incident that occurred last night before check in.

Last night, it was about ten minutes before check-in and I was taking out my ID card when I realized my roommate was asleep. I knew she did not go do early check-in, since she had been in the room since about 7 in the evening. I decided to wake her up in time for nightly check-in. At that moment, I was not thinking about my service assignment. I was doing it because it was I thought it was the right thing to do. Why wouldn't I wake up my own roommate? If she did not make it in time for check-in, she would be documented and it would be written up on her disciplinary record. I called her name, to gently wake her up. She did not respond. I decided to shake her a little, figuring it might work. She opened up her eyes, and I thought she was awake and she would get up to go to check in. However, it turned out she seemed to be unconsciously awake. She opened her eyes, then closed them again. At that moment, I had not even checked in myself, so I went to check in first. I told the RCA that I tried waking up my roommate for check-in, and she told me not to worry about it, that it was not my responsibility. I had to agree otherwise. I felt, as a roommate and as a human being that I should give her the courtesy of waking her up for check-in so she would not receive any sort of demerit on her disciplinary record.

I went back to my room and tried shaking her up again. She did that whole opening and closing her eyes gig once again. I then shook her a tad bit harder. She actually rose from her sleeping position and sat up. Then, she fell back onto her bed once again. I could help her no more. Two seconds later, the RCA came to the door, woke her up and documented her. I felt bad, but at the same time, I felt as if I did my best and could do no more.

I realized this morning in class when I saw the two questions on the sheet of paper that the incident from last night could apply as my act of service which I subconsciously committed. I described the event and then expressed how I felt after my failed attempt and "serving the guest." I consider it as a failed attempt as I was unable to successfully wake her up and get her to check in with the RCA's on time.

The class as a whole discussed what makes a good employee. We came up with a list of a good 30+ adjectives that would describe the characteristics an employee should carry. They were not sufficient though. I do not think that memorable would generally apply for a housekeeper. Our assignment tonight is to think up words that could you would consider when looking for an employee. I have thought of quick, efficient, and detail-oriented so far. I think those are pretty applicable. A housekeeper must be quick in his or her work when cleaning a hotel room. She must be efficient at her work and pay very close attention to detail. I am not done expanding this list, though. I will continue to ponder.



  1. This was very interesting read. I was following every word to see if she would eventually wake up. I guess in the end she had to see the errors in her ways and got what she had coming. She did not wake up until the RA came and wrote her up. This is a great lesson for you and you should never see yourself as a failure. You tried your best.

    There is great symbolism in what you went through yesterday. I see it with our school district on a daily basis. We try to shake students out of their slumber and at times it feels as if we can never get them to wake up. We try and try, but to no avail. Does this make us a failure, I would say not and that in the end it is the students responsibility to follow the rules.

    They eventually graduate and move on. However many of them return and say how much they had wished they had done the right thing and studied. Your example hopefully will stay with you and be a reminder that you have to always stay focused and prepared. Your roommate lost focus and discipline. Now she has suffered the consequences. I do hope that when you return to Hercules High School for your senior year that you will use this as an example to those students who may end up in a deep sleep.

    A valuable lesson and one that I can glad you shared. This was a great example of service, but service that was unable to accomplish its goal. In the end though your kind act did not go unnoticed. Hopefully, she will take this as a learning experience and get her act together.

    Keep working hard Louisa and I hope that you turned in the customer comment card from your brunch at the Statler on Sunday.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District

  2. Louisa,

    Your story about your unsuccessful attempts to wake your roommate reminded me of a time many years back when I had my older brother living with me. This was right after he returned from Jonestown and his head wasn’t yet screwed on straight.

    Even after the alarms (plural) would go off he still wouldn’t rise from his bed. I would try to shake him and spoke loudly to him but, just as with your roomie, he would rise while still asleep.

    All the while I was going through my own routine of getting up and readying myself for work so I couldn’t spend too much time working on my brother.

    Like you, I felt a responsibility to make sure he got up and safely off to work. Had I just abandoned him he surely would have lost his job.

    Finally, though, I came up with a solution. This was during a period when I had a lot of houseplants and I had several spray bottles so I could mist my plants. These bottles had a nozzle that you could twist to adjust the spray from a fine mist to a heavy squirt.

    I just set it at squirt and could work in my kitchen all the while squirting my brother in his bedroom. Very utilitarian. My shoulder shaking and my verbal assaults seemed to bounce off but the squirt in the face seemed to wake him every time. We learn as we go, Louisa.

  3. Louisa,

    I forgot to address the issue about housekeeping.

    I know that when I travel the one word I want to describe m housekeeper is “invisible”.

    Yes, I know that they have a job to do but there are lots of times when I need my room to do some of my work or even to rest. I may even need to clean up as I prepare for an event.

    What I don’t want to do is to have to vacate my room for a half hour while ‘housekeeping’ does their thing. A good housekeeper is able to get in and get out and do it all while I’m not there.

    Don’t ask me how they’re supposed to do that because I don’t know. But, that’s not the business I’m in.