Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Pastry Student

by student blogger Morgan

I am currently at the tail end of my first year here at the CIA and about to head off on externship. For baking and pastry students, this means that I am automatically a PM schedule student and class time for the most part is between 2pm and 8:30pm. They like to keep you on your toes around here when it comes to changing up your schedule. Even though it seems like mine is pretty stable, I think it seems like every three weeks I have to get a whole new routine down. So you can get an idea of what it's like to be a settled-in student at the CIA, here's an example of what my average day looks like:

7:45am- My alarm goes off and (much to my roommate's dismay) I'll probably hit snooze at least once before actually hauling it out of bed.

8:00- The advantage of having to wear whites everywhere you go is being able to get ready in 5 seconds. Sure, I could don some business casual wear to Farq for breakfast, orrrr I could throw on whites, remove any early morning decision making, and still feel like I"m wearing pajamas. Tough call. By 8:15 I'm either sitting down to breakfast with some of my classmates, or headed into the gym for an early morning workout. I'm not going to pretend that the latter of those two happens super often, it really just depends what the rest of my schedule for the day looks like. As a PM student though I do like working out before class [if I'm going to] just because I'm usually drained by the time 9 pm rolls around.

9:00- After enjoying the best meal of the day and getting sufficiently caffeinated I'll come back to my room for a little bit before work. During this time I like to get any work done I have for this blog or my cake blog that I keep and just get ready for the day in general. I'm a lifeguard on campus, which means I basically get paid to read poolside 90% of the time. There are a fair amount of people who swim, but not during the week in the mornings when I have most of my shifts. This is pretty much my morning view:

10:00 - 1:00pm- I'm at the pool "working". Even when the pool is busy I still love this job. I like getting to meet the chefs and administrators who come in to swim, plus I swam competitively for nearly 17 years so I just feel comfortable at a pool. I definitely recommend this job to any prospective student with a certification! If no one is in the water I can read, study and do homework. Currently I'm reading Cooked by Michael Pollan and it's a great read on the history and cultures of cooking.

1:00-1:30- I rush home from work right at 1 to change back into whites and head up to class. I might try and grab a quick lunch at the high production kitchen, K16, or I'll just eat quickly in my room.

1:30-8:30- During this time you'll find me in the upstairs hallway of the Marriot Education Center (minus the blocks when I was taking Cafe Savory and Art and Design). Right now I'm in Bakeshop 6, which is where all of bread you'll eat on campus (including in the restaurants!) is baked. There's a morning class called Advanced Bread Baking that I"ll take when I return from extern and then mine which is Hearth Breads and Rolls.

We get an hour break for dinner around 5:30 or 6 in every class. Depending on which class and when you get out decides what I get to eat for dinner. If we get out closer to 5:30 I can go to one of the more specialized kitchens like Cuisines of Asia or the Mediterranean (Meds). If it's closer to six then I'm basically limited to the A La Carte kitchen or K16. All of our meals are cooked by culinary students in various stages of the program and we can eat either in Farquharson Hall (the big dining room in our main building, Roth Hall) or a smaller dining room by our kitchens downstairs inside of Roth.

8:30-10:30- This is the time I set aside for doing homework, applying for externships, scholarships, perusing school news etc. I used to have a lot of piping and other homework when I was in fundamentals, but not so much anymore. Now it's just a lot more studying and preparation for class than actual assignments.

9:15-10:15- On Tuesdays I go to a Yoga class at the rec center that I absolutely love. I'm not huge into yoga, so this one is perfect for me. The Tuesday class is just stretching out and a little Pilates. On Thursdays they have a more advanced class if you're a pro!

[taken from]

10:30-12- I relax - kick up my feet and watch Friends re-runs on Nick at Nite or spend some mindless time on Pinterest. Or both.

And there you have it, a day in the life of a pastry student. When you break it down into a routine it doesn't sound too exciting, but I promise that between 2:00-8:30, magic happens and it usually involves chocolate.


  1. Very helpful post! I will be a baking and pastry student next month and was wondering if you got an extended meal plan which allowed you three meals in a day? Also, what other job opportunities are there for the mornings? I was hoping to work on campus but I'm going to be limited to mornings and weekends now. Thanks!

    1. Hi Anthony, congrats! You're going to love it. I personally did not get the extended meal plan and I haven't missed it at all. The portions and meals are huge and I've never wanted more than two per day. The biggest advantage in getting the extended meal plan though is that you can use a swipe ($10 value) at our plaza cafe to eat on the weekends. Otherwise, you can pay cash at the cafe or you're on your own for food.

      For jobs, once you get here you can go through the process of being approved for student employment (make sure to bring two types of ID for that) and look for jobs listed on our database. Most of my friends work on campus is some way because it is convenient and examples besides lifeguarding are working in the dining hall, the mail room, admissions (giving tours, answering phones etc), the registrar (filing), and with functions (catering). Here's the link for student employment info on our website:

      Good luck!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. For each 3 week term or block (I'm not sure which you call it), would you have the same classes at the same time everyday or would there be some days were you have less classes than other days?

    1. Hi Kylia,
      It depends where you are in the program. During my first semester (15 weeks long) this was my class schedule:
      M: usually off, unless there was a make up day
      T: Fundamentals of B&P 2-8
      W: Fundamentals 2-8
      Th:Food Safety 2-3:30; Freshman Seminar 3:45-5:15
      F: 10-12 Ingredients for B&P; Food Safety 2-3:30

      Basically, you take most of the theory classes (culinary math, food safety, gastronomy, ingredients, food safety and seminar) during your first semester and then after that your classes are M-F 2-8 for three weeks. It's the same for Culinary students too! The exceptions are College Writing and Intro to Management which you have in the mornings twice a week (one T/W, one Th/F) for 12 and 6 weeks during the second semester. There's a lot of change around here!

    2. Oh wow, that is a lot of change! I applied a few weeks ago, I hope if I get accepted I'll be able to keep up :O

  4. Amzing post! Congratulations! Its always adorable to remember those days as a student.

  5. How much actual homework is there? As in writing and essays? What is it usually on?

    1. Hi Julia!
      The amount of homework that you can expect depends on the degree program that you choose, and the classes that you are taking. For the associates degree program you can expect a moderate amount of studying for your kitchen classes, and a little more studying for your academic classes. Kitchen class homework can range from doing key terms and study questions to doing tournés. Academic classes have homework just like any other college class, including studying to be prepared for lecture each day, group projects, and doing practice quizzes and assignments to prepare for the exams and quizzes. When you move into the Bachelor's degree program, you can expect the homework load to increase. A typical day of homework can vary depending on the courses that you're taking, the number of courses you're taking, which term you're in, and your program.