Twelve years ago, Natasha Krotsyuk arrived in America with a dictionary under her arm, ready to learn the English language and hoping to find work.
Born in 1963, Krotsyuk grew up within the boundaries of the U.S.S.R. When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Krotsyuk’s country became Ukraine.
She came to the United States with limited knowledge of English, but happened upon a friendly woman who helped set her job as a housekeeper at TCU.
“When I spoke to students, my language got better and better,” Krotsyuk said.
Ever since arriving, Krotsyuk said she has been grateful and happy. Chances are if you see her, she will be wearing her trademark smile. Many students said they find that smile to be contagious.
Eliezer Flores, a desk assistant in Mary and Robert J. Wright Hall, is one of those students.
“She’s definitely a positive person,” he said. “Whenever I see her she’s smiling.”
Flores, a senior communications studies major, also said many other desk assistants share his regard for Krotsyuk.
“It was so easy to talk to her, and she always listened to everything you said,” junior entrepreneurial management major and former resident Brian Graf said.
Krotsyuk gets up at 5 a.m. for work, however, and said she does not necessarily enjoy waking up early.
“I’m very slow in the mornings,” she said, laughing. “I’m a lot better in the afternoon.”
After driving to campus, Krotsyuk clocks in at 7 a.m. By 7:15, she will have gone through meetings and gathered any supplies she needs for the day. At 7:30, she is ready to begin working.
She has three 15-minute breaks scattered throughout the day, and a 30-minute lunch that she always takes at 11 a.m. Her lunch is usually a salad, though she said she also loves Mexican food.
Krotsyuk works every day except Wednesday and Saturday. The remaining five days her routine remains largely the same. She vacuums floors one through four from the bottom to the top and cleans individual dorm bathrooms on her way back down. Then she cleans the windows in the study areas and, finally, disinfects the floors.
“It’s complete cleaning,” she said. “Every day I’m here I do that.”
Her language skills have improved over the years through interacting with students.
“They would correct me when I said something wrong,” she said. Krotsyuk said jokingly that she could never have a conversation because students were constantly correcting her.
When asked about her obvious connection with the students, Krotsyuk said it “makes her happy to see people happy.”
Krotsyuk said she occasionally recognizes alumni walking around Fort Worth and talks to them.
“I think I have a good memory,” she said, smiling.
“Respect goes both ways,” she said. “I’ve never had a problem with students here. They’re really nice and really respectful and friendly.”
Graf said whenever he had a rough day, just seeing Krotsyuk’s smile was enough to help him relax.
“It’s kind of weird how something so small can make such a difference,” he said.
Krotsyuk said she does not know how long she will keep working at the university. She plans to approach every day with the same positive mentality that has helped brighten the day of countless students over the years.
“I like these students,” she said. “I really do.”