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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Superhuman Starbucks student

“Triple grande skim mocha.”

“Tall pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream.”

It’s 3 a.m., the early hours of a Tuesday morning. Senior Ryan Hudnall is running the show during the night shift at the Gelman Starbucks. But in about six hours, he will start a full day with six classes. Tomorrow night he will run the Starbucks show again, and Wednesday he will go to his internship on the Hill.

Hudnall manages to juggle six classes, a 30-hour-a-week internship on Capitol Hill and his current position at Starbucks that he acquired over a year ago.

He said he only gets about five hours of sleep each day, which is broken up into two naps that last two and a half hours each.

“Monday morning I have to be in my office by 9:30 a.m. So I’ll get off at Starbucks, go home and sleep from 6:30 to 8:45 a.m. Get up, shower, go to the Hill and work on the Hill all day until about 5 [p.m.],” Hudnall said. “Then I go home, sleep, wake up at 9:30 p.m. and go back to Starbucks until six in the morning. Then on Tuesday, I wake up and I have six classes from 9:35 a.m. to eight at night. It just repeats.”

Senior Heather Milnthorp, the assistant store manager at the Gelman Starbucks, said she thinks Hudnall’s schedule is crazy.

“I don’t know how he does it, but I admire him a lot,” Milnthorp said. “He’s like superhuman.”

Although the hectic schedule leaves little time for anything else, Hudnall said he does not feel like he is missing out on a social life. Paradoxically, it is his job at Starbucks, he said, that provides him with one.

“My social life on campus is Starbucks. I don’t go out much, which I’m fine with because I get to be around many people every day,” Hudnall said.

Hudnall said he thrives on being around others as much as possible.

“Ryan is very charismatic and good at his job. He’s a people person,” Milnthorp said.

Senior Marley Davis said she admires Hudnall for the hard work he puts into his job.

“He is always very energetic. Even if he hasn’t slept for two days, he is always putting 100 percent effort in everything he does,” Davis said.

Hudnall said being a workaholic is something that runs in his family. He himself is a Starbucks veteran, having worked for the company since before coming to D.C. for college.

“I started at Starbucks when I was 16 years old, back in Florida. I’ve been with the company ever since,” Hudnall said.

But Hudnall said he has no intention of staying with the international coffee chain forever, despite having been offered many good opportunities with the company. His internship in Congress could lead him down a path on the Hill, or he said he may choose to embark on a different venture.

While the future remains unclear, Hudnall, who is a double major in sociology and international affairs, said that his future career will ideally be to serve others.

“Whether I stay on the Hill or whether I go do nonprofit and build schools for the rest of my life, it doesn’t matter, just as long as I’m helping people,” he said.

For now, Hudnall said his nights at Starbucks are frequently entertaining as much as they are sleep-depriving. If anything, the job is a source of good conversation topics.

“The most memorable moment was when a drunk, homeless schizophrenic man came in and threw a roll of dimes at my head – it hurt,” he said. “But my regulars know something happens all the time. It’s fun. There’s always a story out of it, which is another reason I love it.”

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