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Looking toward the future

Sammy Hall served sunfish sandwiches and mixed the drinks for diners at Cowboy’s1 / 2
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Sammy Hall has been working for years. Six years to be exact. The 21-year-old college student spent her summer vacation serving the patrons of Cowboys in Nisswa. When she wasn’t waiting tables, Hall spent her leftover free time in the lifeguard tower protecting swimmers at Whipple Beach in Baxter. 

But Hall doesn’t mind. She knows something bigger is just up the pipe. All she has to do first is graduate. 

Hall started her first job at the age of 15 working as a cashier at Schaefer’s Foods in Nisswa. “I was really young,” she said. 

Over the last six years, Hall has worked several jobs in the area, mostly in food service. She’s worked at Grand View. Mattie’s . Zorba’s.  This summer she had a second job offer at Ernie’s.  

Hall graduated from Brainerd High School in 2009 and started her college education that fall at St. Cloud State University. While living in St. Cloud, she took a part-time job working at Ciati’s Italian restaurant with a staff made up largely of people her age. “It’s almost all students,” she said. “The whole town is mainly students.” 

Hall said making the adjustment from life as a teenager to college student was a fairly easy one. “It’s what I expected,” Hall said of moving away from home and finding indigence as a new adult. As far as the typical cash-strapped, never having free time and always eating just to survive, Hall said, “Yeah, I expected that, too.”

Hall, a junior and marketing major at St. Cloud State, will be among thousands of young adults graduating into a slumped economy with meager career choices. But Hall said she isn’t too concerned yet. “I feel like by the time I graduate things will hopefully be a little bit better,” she said. “I’m not worried about it.”

Hall has no intention of staying in the food industry upon graduation, but said she has worked with college graduates who remain in food service because the jobs they have pursued post-graduation haven’t been worth taking or they simply can’t find a job they are qualified for.

 “They are making more bartending and waitressing than what any entry-level jobs are offering to pay you,” she said. “Anything under $30,000 is something I can make bartending — it’s really not worth it.”

Hall said she hopes to make between $40-$50,000 starting out as a graduate, but is not unrealistic about what a college degree might mean for starting out income. “It seems like now having a four-year degree is such the norm,” she said. “It there was room for growth, I’d probably take it.”

Hall said she is interested in using her degree to pursue a career in sports marketing. Maybe. First she wants to see the world.

After graduation, Hall said she plans to travel, hopefully internationally. She has plans to spend a semester studying abroad before accepting her diploma and wants to continue globe-trotting and eventually find a place to settle and take a grown-up job. 

“I don’t really have a plan yet,” Hall said of her life post-graduation. “I guess to get stuff done that I want to get done.”

In the meantime, Hall said her contingency plan after graduating is to maintain a job waiting tables and bartending in order to pay back her student loans and “figure things out.”

 “I just don’t want to be stuck somewhere,” she said. 

Hall said she while she loves the Brainerd lakes area, she doesn’t see herself moving back to the area. “If I’m really rich, I’d like to own a cabin in this area,” she joked. “It will always be home.”

SARAH NELSON may be reached at or 855-5879.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889