I had an alarm set for 7 am and woke up even earlier than that out of excitement. It was my first day of school, sort of. I was going to be attending 1st grade for a little boy that I was shadowing. My lunch was pre-packed, my outfit was pre-picked, and one 4-minute drive later, I arrived. I drew the boy a star chart so that he could earn his prize at the end of the day. “Beware of recess” was not a memo that I received, although I wish someone warned me! Seven-year-old boys on a playground were an unanticipated danger. Here is a list of injuries from day one:
1. Two paper airplanes, one hitting each of my eyes
2. A handball to the groin
3. A frisbee flying full force at my left shoulder
They are very active, and the kid I’m shadowing certainly keeps me on my toes, but I’ve been having fun. During recess, I’ve played tag with them several times. I think the other aides didn’t peg me for a runner, but workouts hit differently when you’re chasing four energetic kids around a playground. I have been buying my boy prizes to earn (thank you, dollar store), which motivate him quite well.
I’ve been driving to the school on Tuesdays and Thursdays so far. I was substituting for another aide, but the family said that I seemed to hit it off with their son, and that they’d like to rehire me. The one drawback of this job is the dress code; it’s a religious Jewish school, and I can’t tell you the last time I wore long-sleeve shirts in the blazing sun. That kind of outfit is wildly incongruous with the weather. Not to mention the knee length skirts… I may have to stop running with the boys, because I don’t like being uncomfortably sweaty for the rest of the day.
I am still trying my best to respect the dress code, but am running out of appropriate clothes by the minute. It’s a small drawback for a job that is so awesome, it doesn’t even feel like work.
Another change is the way that we celebrated Purim, which is a Jewish holiday. A bunch of us piled into a synagogue, masked. Outfitted in costumes, and with plenty of entertainment, the story went by quickly.
My intitial costume was a barcode.
In my friend’s car, I realized that a mask would cover the barcode. An emergency makeup remover wipe and some ingenuity on her part helped me come up with a last minute costume.
The final result was a black and white ensemble, with a lacy eye mask to match.
Besides celebrating Purim, there have been more mundane tasks. This past Saturday, I spent 2 hours at night applying for the most tedious scholarship known to mankind. Tax returns from 2 years ago and FAFSA screenshots were only the tip of the iceberg. But I knew it was worthwhile, because I got this scholarship at the start of Fall 2020, and was invited to reapply for a second year.
The scholarship was hard to fill out alone, but my mom was nearby to decode some of the legal-ese. Also on Saturday, I drove both siblings to Petco. This is a bold feat, and not because of the location we drove to. Having both siblings in one car inevitably leads to some kind of verbal sparring, which is a headache and a half for the driver. And in this case, the driver was me. “Two rules,” I said immediately. “No backseat driving and no fighting.”
They agreed. We were out of dog food, after all. That was how I found myself at Petco, 30 minutes before closing. My brother emerged carrying a bag of dog food almost larger than he was. We completed this errand and came home in good spirits. In general, I volunteer to run errands so I can gain experience behind the wheel. One of my 2021 goals was to feel more comfortable driving alone, and I am getting much closer to accomplishing it!
I have also been interviewing for practicum. Practicum is the way that psychology students gain clinical experience. So far, I’ve interviewed for three sites, and have a fourth one scheduled for next week. I have one offer (and one rejection), but am waiting to hear back from the other two before I make a final decision. It makes me feel excited and hopeful to be arranging such a crucial part of next year’s education far in advance.
Life has been really, really good lately. Only one thing is missing. Unfortunately, because I’ve been working at the school, I haven’t been able to see my boyfriend. It’s hard, because I have finally been able to branch out in my work, see friends, and do so many things that were impossible pre-vaccine. However, the data on people with vaccinations transmitting Covid-19 is still unknown. And I would have to go 10 full days seeing no one but my family members before we could meet up in person again. It’s not ideal, but we’ve made do with phone calls and zoom dates.
That’s been my life so far: a combination of work, school, practicum-prep, friends, and zoom dates. How have your days been going?