UM student balances life as a student and country club waitress


Morgan Feeny at work. Photo by Beatty Carpenter.

By Beatty Carpenter
Oxford Stories

It can be difficult balancing life, school and work, but a University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media student is demonstrating how it’s done.

Morgan Feeney, 20, is a full-time student and a full-time waitress at the Country Club of Oxford. Feeney began working at the country club at the beginning of her sophomore year. Her parents encouraged her to get a job to help pay for school.

Feeney is taking 16 hours and majoring in hospitality management. She begins her day at 7 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. Before climbing into her white fluffy bed, she sets three alarms – one at 6:30 a.m., one at 6:45 a.m. and one at 6:59 a.m. to make sure she is awake by 7 a.m.

At 7 a.m., Feeney takes a warm shower, brushes her teeth, covers  any blemishes and heads to the kitchen to drink a chocolate protein shake and a banana.

“Staying healthy is my main priority, because having to balance school and work is hard, so I can never afford to be sick,” she said.

After eating breakfast, Feeney heads to campus. After finishing three classes on Wednesday, she arrives at work at noon. She is a waitress, but sometimes serves as a hostess or part of the pool staff during the summer. She usually works daily except Monday when the club is closed.


Feeny has many work duties, such as setting each table with proper silverware and glassware, making tea and dressing, and memorizing daily specials.

Feeney is assigned tables, which vary daily from lunch to dinner. At lunch, she is less busy, but during summer hours, she has five or more tables an hour.

After lunch, Feeney and staff clean silverware and glassware, take out the trash, refill tea and dressings, and prepare for dinner – the most stressful shift because of the number of customers and tables.

Some days, Feeney sees no customers; Other days, she doesn’t get a break, serving more than 200. Dinner shift is messier with families and children eating and celebrating birthdays and retirements.


Photo of Morgan. Photo by Beatty Carpenter

“If I am working the dinner shift, we leave around 10 p.m., and then I come home to either do homework or relax, so I go to bed pretty early.”

Feeney wishes she had more time to spend with friends. After getting home from her dinner shift, she’s usually exhausted and has to do statistics homework or write a lengthy British literature essay. School comes first, but paying for school is also important.

“There are no off days for me,” she said, “so I have had to learn the hard way with procrastination with my school work.”

Some days, Feeney works six-hour or 10-hour shifts, including a wedding party, with exams as early as 8 a.m. She failed one class last semester, but has learned to balance academics and work.

Feeney’s boss, Hunter Darby, said he’s aware school comes first.

“(Morgan) is a diligent worker, and we are honored to have her fast pace and positive energy at the country club,” Darby said.

After her studies and homework, Feeney prepares her own dinner if she didn’t eat at the club. She enjoys cooking and has learned many new recipes. Her go-to dinner meal is grilled chicken with lemon pepper seasoning, salad with lite ranch, potatoes and asparagus.

After dinner, she hits the gym no matter if it is midnight. Living in a residence with an all-access fitness center makes life easier. She starts her workout with a 20-minute stretch and a light 10-minute jog to the fitness center. Arriving at the fitness center, Feeney runs on the treadmill for 3.5 miles and finishes with the elliptical.

After her workout, she heads home to rest. Before going to bed, she drinks another protein shake and has a power bar. She later showers, cleans and makes sure she has all her assignments done. She cleans the kitchen, her room and washes her work clothes for the next day.

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