Junior Bri Peplinski has grown through her job at Heather Hills


Among the many tables in the Heather Hills dining hall stands junior Bri Peplinski, carefully waiting on the many residents. Although it’s just an ordinary waitress job, it has affected Bri in ways she could have never imagined.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Bri said. “[The residents] can be a little crazy sometimes, but it’s always worth it. Everyone there has affected me so positively; I genuinely don’t know where I would be without them.”

Heather Hills is a local retirement home in the Grand Rapids area. Bri stumbled upon this job opportunity because her grandma was a valued resident of Heather Hills. What Bri didn’t know, however, was how grateful she would become to have the opportunity to work there.

“The experiences I have had at Heather Hills have been incredible,” Bri said. “Sometimes I’ll have a few bad experiences, but there’s always good to balance it out. My job is such a big part of my life, and at this point, I couldn’t imagine myself [without this job].”

Every job has its downsides, but Bri has come to love every minute she works. One of her favorite memories entails helping residents hand-craft their own Christmas card. Although it took approximately eight hours of her time, the reactions she received in return were priceless.

“Having all these experiences with these older people [is something I] really value,” Bri said. “It’s definitely my favorite part of working there.”

Not only does Bri dedicate a lot of time to her job, but she also holds a massive space in her heart for her friends. She describes herself as “friend-focused” and loves hanging out with them whenever she has a spare moment.

However, as Bri began to spend most of her times with her friends, she felt herself moving farther and farther away from her faith. This was very discouraging to her, as she had been a Catholic her whole life. Thus, she decided to change for the better and work towards a balance of her friends and her religion.

“[My faith] is important to me, which is why it’s so critical I grow closer to it again,” Bri said. “This weekend, for example, I’m going on the winter retreat. I don’t really know what will entail, but I’m really excited.

As a junior, trying to balance the many moving aspects of life is a learning process. Bri, while still figuring it all out, has enjoyed the process.

“Junior year is very difficult,” Bri said. “But, socially, it’s been a lot of fun. We can go wherever we want because we have the freedom to do so. It’s so important to learn what it’s like to have that freedom before we’re full-blown adults, and I’m so grateful I have the opportunity to do so now.”