Lauren Dykstra’s work environment has given her much more than minimum wage


The place most working students dread has become a home away from home for sophomore Lauren Dykstra.

Work is, no doubt, a popular aspect among students alike at FHC; however, Lauren has never recalled the dread most students face while walking into their shift when she walks into Sentinel Pointe Retirement Community. 

Her fondest memory of her place of employment was the 50’s-themed party they held this past summer. 

“At the 50’s party, we all just messed around, and we got to use the photo booth and go around and take pictures with all the residents on an old work iPad,” Lauren said. “The party helped me make friends with some upperclassmen such as [junior] Vivian Wheland, and also [seniors] Anna Hale and Thea Sloat.” 

Most places of work don’t offer the fun activities Sentinel provides to their many employees, making the job a much more pleasurable experience for everyone involved, including the residents they have grown to form a bond with. 

“[One of] my favorite residents [is] basically [everyone’s] grandma,” Lauren said. “She basically adopted [alumn] Nick Grooters as her own.” 

The relationships, both young and old, that Lauren has developed throughout her time working have proven time after time again that work can be enjoyable with the right people. 

Lauren recalled her time being the new girl as a worker, and the anxious feeling building up inside her as her first day quickly approached. The anxiety melted away the second she walked in and met all the friendly faces that fill Sentinel every day. 

“Everybody there is very welcoming; as soon as you’re hired, everybody’s already talking to you and helping you get adjusted and comfortable with working there,” Lauren said. “Everyone I work with I genuinely really enjoy being around.” 

Working at Sentinel has not only brought fond memories and relationships to Lauren, but she also has learned to greatly appreciate the skills the job has taught her. Any student’s first job is no doubt a mold for any future career they plan to have. It teaches one what skills they have and what they like and dislike for future jobs. 

“It’s definitely helped me build friendships with people,” Lauren said. “But, it’s also helped me be able to talk to older people and helped my communication skills and pick up skills on jobs for when I’m older, because I know I’ll probably end up working a server job at some point in a real restaurant.”

Although Lauren doesn’t know what the future holds for her, the community at Sentinel Point has shown to be a home away from home for Lauren while she is also getting paid to make memories. She has shown the sadness that will enthrall her the day she has to say goodbye to her first job and the people and residents she has met along the way. 

“When the time comes for me to leave, I think it’s going to be hard to leave my friends and some of the residents,” Lauren said. “Some of them are [very] nice, and they make my day.”