If you have ever rushed inside Susie’s to grab the restocked cookies, you are probably already on first name basis with Jazz. Jahzeel Rosario, often referred to as “Jazz” by students, first began working at Susie’s as a cashier this past Fall and was quick in fostering relationships with students from her warm smile and genuine engagements. Her connection with Andover runs back to when she was 11 years old and participated in a local theater program that took place at Andover. Currently, she is taking a term off from Salem State University, where she is a senior majoring in psychology
1. What brought you here? How did you start working for this job?
I started working here last September, so it’s been like seven months. My uncle works here actually, and he used to work with my sister in the kitchen. So they told me they needed a cashier, and I didn’t have a job then, busy attending college. So they were like, “why don’t you go on an interview and see if you could get a better opportunity?” So I took it.
2. What is the environment like working in Susie’s and are there any moments that stand out for you?
It’s so fun because of the students, literally because of the students. My favorite part, I think, is engaging to be honest, just having actual conversations. Definitely my favorite part is that I get to meet so many different people, not limited to international people, but all students. And I’m not so far away from your age, so I get to get along with a lot of you guys. I remember there are these specific four boys who always come by. They always come and they just have so much energy saying, “hello Jazz,” and they just stay there for a while and sometimes they’ll come and be like, “oh, you want to dance with us? Do you want to do Tik Tok with us?” They’re really funny.
3. Do you have any Susie’s hacks? What is your favorite item at the Susie’s?
Alright, so there is this smoothie combination, I think the rarest one nobody really knows about, but it’s actually really good. It’s pina colada with raspberry. It’s pretty interesting and it’s good. Also, I always tell kids to warm up monkey breads and cookies a little bit before eating. That’s another little recipe, you just warm it up and it’s really good. My favorite snack is Brookside chocolate, the blueberry and acai one. That one’s really good. I’ve never seen that candy before, and I found it here, and I bought it once because all [the students] love that candy. So I tried the blueberry one and it was so delicious.
4. Before working, did you have any ties with Andover?
I used to go to this program when I was younger called the Youth Development Organization (YDO) for about two years, when I was in sixth and seventh grade. I was 11 when I first moved into the states, and YDO, as we call it in Lawrence, had a program here. And we would come, and I would do theater here. So I knew what Phillips Academy was, and even though I knew it was a high school, I thought it was a college at first. I was like, “wow it’s beautiful.”
5. While still attending college how are you able to balance out your schedule with your academics and working?
So right now I’m taking a semester off. But what I did last semester, I would go to class in the morning, like 9 a.m. So I would go at 9 a.m., stay around the college, do homework, and go to the library. I start work here at 2:30 p.m. so I’ll come back, change, and I’ll go to work. And then I was taking some online classes too. Most of my freetime, I have to do homework. A lot of it. College is not easy, definitely not.
6. What activities do you usually do during your free time or on weekends?
I usually hang out with all my friends from college. I either go visit them in their dorm, or I stay home and I’m with my siblings just hanging around. During weekends, [my family and I] would go out to restaurants. I used to do theater, and I used to teach younger students acting class at the program YDO. I used to do it every summer, and then in high school, I used to go after school and teach as a volunteer. I [used to] act all the time and hang out with kids. It was fun.
7. When are some of the busiest hours working in Susie’s?
Definitely when I have a long line like on Fridays and Saturdays. On Fridays, we usually get a bunch of snacks and smoothies, so it’s packed in the back with stock items, and I need to put it away. Also when there is either a party upstairs or [at Susie’s] for events or after sports games. You guys all come at the same time and then it feels packed. I don’t even mind the line, it’s when people start asking for smoothies because I’m running back and forth. So it seems like I’ve messed up. I’m like, “oh my God, I hope they don’t get a smoothie,” especially if it’s a long line. I’m like “oh no,” but I will make it, obviously, it’s whatever you guys want. Doesn’t bother me, it’s my job.
8. What are your thoughts on the cookie price inflation? A lot of students feel the price should be down to $1 instead of $2.
I actually think that it used to be higher than $1.99 and a kid emailed our staff who prices the cookies and everything in the store. And I think she finally brought it down one more time but I don’t think she will do it again, like back to $1. I tried. I’m like, “oh the kids are complaining,” and she just said that you have to pay what you got to pay. I tried a lot of stuff. And yeah I think [the price] should be $1. It’s a cookie. And this school is already expensive enough for you to get a cookie for $2, which is also gone in 30 seconds.
9. As a student majoring in psychology, how would you evaluate Andover students’ mental states whom you talk to or see around?
I can definitely tell when kids are down or not having a good day. Or sometimes I see the same person for a whole week being down, I try to say “hi” and make them smile—it works sometimes. The best advice I could tell people in terms of mental health is to not pay attention to what other people want you to bring. They’re trying to drag you into bad energy; do not take it, and stay positive. Ignore the negative.
10. Is there any advice you want to give Andover students from a college student’s perspective?
Life is gonna get harder after high school. A lot of the people, like my teachers when I was in high school, would say that and I was like, “what? Like, look, I’ fine.” But after high school, everything changed because you’re on your own, and it’s gonna hit you all at once. You’re gonna ask, “what is going on?” Maybe you’re gonna enjoy the summer finally. But it’s going to get harder. But you guys got this, you guys have this school. That’s all I say. Take advantage.