The other night I was talking with a friend and was asked, "So what do you do?" I thought it was a great question, and had a difficult time coming up with a concise answer. Following our conversation, I kept thinking about the question and thought it would make for a great blog. For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you may remember I did something very similar last year. If you are new to reading my blog check out this link (http://www.tommybfa.blogspot.
de/2011/01/day-in-life.html) to read my "day in the life" as an RA from last year. That blog will give you an insight to what my life was like for the first three years as I served in the dorm.As a guidance counselor my job is fairly difficult to explain. Each day is slightly different from the next - in fact each hour is slightly different from the next. Overall I am a resource for the students - whether that is helping them with class schedules, college applications, an advocate in the classroom, or a listening ear. I am around to interact with the students and help them however I can.This year I have a case load of just over 80 students. We break up the student body alphabetically, so I have students in all four grades with their last name at the beginning of the alphabet. Right now I have 34 Juniors, and I am trying to meet with all of them to prepare them for the college application process that will begin upon returning to school in the fall. Therefore, I've had a constant stream of Juniors in my office throughout the week as I meet with them one on one to help out. This is a snip-it of what my day was like on Wednesday, and what life has been like recently...7:03I like setting my alarm for a random time, so as my watch starts beeping I aimlessly slap around trying to shut it up. I'm still a bit surprised my watch has lasted as long as it has, and am even more surprised that the low volume beeping is enough to wake me up.7:07My second alarm goes off and this time it's time to get out of bed and get moving for the day. I generally aim to get out the door around 7:50 so I'm up and moving around fairly quickly. I enjoy spending time in the Word while I eat breakfast, so I'll spend time reading a few chapters at the breakfast table. It really doesn't take me long at all to get ready in the morning, so after a shower, making a lunch,and packing all my stuff for the day, I'm out the door and on my way to school.8:00-9:00Most of the students don't arrive on campus until 8:30, so I usually spend this time prepping for the day. Well, that's after I've had the opportunity to get caught up on a few odds and ends. I still greatly miss being able to read the newspaper on a daily basis, so I spend some time surfing the internet to get caught up on what has happened around the world. CNN.com, usatoday.com, boston.com help keep me aware of world news, while espn.com and espnsoccernet.com keep me up to date on the sports world. I also use this time to get caught up on some personal emails. Since most of my friends are in the States, if they shoot me an email after they're out of work, I'm generally sleeping. Therefore this is an opportunity for me to write back. I don't always get through them all, but I try.The first of seven periods starts at 9:00am so from this point forward I will walk through the day going period by period.1st PeriodJacob walks into my office for his meeting. I always try hard to make the students feel comfortable and at ease when they walk in my office. At first they usually think they are in trouble, so I'm not opposed to acting like an idiot to make them feel at ease. This morning we saw blue skies for the first time in about 10 days. So Jacob and I talked about the weather and how glad we were to see the sun. For the first 25 minutes of the period we are talking about academics and college. After we finished with college, he mentioned his plan to wake up and watch the NFL draft. So we spent the remainder of the period talking about the NFL and how our teams would do this upcoming year. He strongly dislikes the Patriots, so I was more than willing to make fun of the Pats with him. I'll take advantage of any opportunity to connect and relate with the students, so I'm happy to chill out and talk with him.2nd PeriodJacob leaves and heads to class, a few minutes later Sally walks in for her meeting. She is hoping to go to school in Canada or Hong Kong (I know... real close to each other!) As she walked in she seemed timid - and as she sat she put her backpack on her lap. To me, it seemed like it was a wall to hide behind. In hopes of breaking down the wall I spouted off some jokes my sister recently told me. She didn't fully understand the jokes (sorry Whitney) but I was still laughing, and soon the backpack was put on the floor. The jokes were bad, but it got the job done. After Sally and I finished talking she went back to class and I had about 15 minutes before the next student was going to come in. I took advantage of the free time and visited my athletic director. I'm continually amazed at how much paperwork I have to do, and how many emails I have to send for soccer. I pay a visit to the AD multiple times a day, and in the morning I'm trying to get everything squared away for our away game this weekend.3rd PeriodBack to the Junior meetings as Jacob (a different one) comes in. We breeze through our college information. He recently went on a Mission trip over break so I asked him how it went. For the next 25 minutes we're talking about his trip and the different lessons he learned and the way his heart was moved. Definitely a cool conversation.4th PeriodMadison, one of my soccer players comes in for her Junior meeting. She's a solid student with a clear vision of where she wants to go, so the conversation doesn't take nearly as long. We spend the rest of the period discussing soccer. I like talking with my players and hearing their opinions and getting their views on how things are going. I don't mind tipping my hand and explaining why we're doing what we're doing and why I feel certain drills will be most beneficial to our team. Maddy recently rolled her ankle pretty good so we spent some time trying to figure out the best way to get her on the field as soon as possible. She'll probably miss our game this weekend, which is a huge blow to our defense.LunchI'm a "Junior class sponsor" which means I am helping with all the junior class fundraisers and functions this year. Next week we're having our "Junior-Senior Banquet" (JSB) which is our version of the prom. Lots of planning has gone into JSB already, and during lunch I am meeting with the other class sponsors to discuss all that needs to happen over the next week. I'll be thankful when JSB is over and I can cross that off my list.5th PeriodBrian is a little late for his meeting, so I try to take care of a few work related emails. Gotta check in with a few teachers about students' progress in class. Brian comes in, and is looking to go into aviation. Knowing very little about the process, I have fun asking him questions. He doesn't stay the whole period, but as soon as he leaves Krystal walks in. She's overwhelmed with all her work and needs help getting organized and prioritizing her work. I hope she leaves a bit relieved.6th periodAnna comes in. She isn't quite as prepared as the other students, so we spent a lot more time going through the nuts and bolts of what is on the horizon for her. Honestly, at this point in the day I am starting to get a little tired from the constant conversations. Thankfully, I get several devotional emails throughout the day that help me keep my focus and allow for me to take a little break. Around 10am I get an email from a Max Lucado devotional, around 1:15 I get one from Chuck Swindoll, and around 2:00 a third comes from my grandparents.7th periodI pull out some paper to jot down some final notes to prepare for my upcoming soccer practice. As soon as I do that, Asher walks in to chat. He doesn't have anything on his agenda, he simply wants to shoot the breeze. He is one of a handful of students who are my "regulars." They come to my office in their spare time to hang out and talk. He sticks around for a while but eventually realizes he forgot to sign in to study hall. He needs to jet over to study hall before he gets in trouble. As he leaves Tina comes in for her meeting. She is late (but it really didn't matter because Asher was hanging out) so I tell her she has to tell me a funny story to make up for being late. Her story wasn't very funny, but it helped her relax so it worked.We met until the final bell rang. School is over, time for soccer.As soon as the bell rings I quickly change and head out to the soccer field. Those blue skies I was rejoicing over in the morning? Gone. As soon as I step outside it starts to rain. Unbelievable. For the next 80 minutes or so I'm on the field coaching. I absolutely love it (minus the rain). I always get filled with excitement and energy as I step on the field to coach. Unfortunately injuries and field-trips have forced over half of the girls out of practice, so I hop on the field to join in the drills and have some fun. Jumping out on the field again, makes me feel like a little kid. I love it.
The season has been challenging, but I love interacting with the team, and love being on the field with them. They constantly give their best effort, they continually encourage one another, laugh together, and have fun. While we're not finding the net, or keeping the ball out of our own net, like we would like, we are still having a good year. It's been a challenging year...very challenging. But I love it.
By the time I've cleaned everything up from practice and finished up it's around 5:45 and I'm back in my office for one last round of work emails, getting ready to head home.Each weeknight offers something different - so it is hard to sum up. On Monday/Wednesday I try to be more low key. That doesn't always work out as it seems like something usually comes up. I love to cook and find it to be a real relaxing way to finish a day - it's great to turn on some Lady Antebellum and make some grub. On Tuesday/Thursday I play soccer with my German team - so I take off for that shortly after getting home from coaching, and don't return until 9:30 or 9:45. Those are long days. During soccer season, on Friday/Saturday I'm traveling with and coaching my girls. We will have a tough game this weekend, I'm praying that I, and the girls, do not become discouraged. As a team we continue to discuss the characteristics of Esther, which has turned out to be really cool.
After an opportunity to perhaps read, write and relax at night, it's off to bed and time to get ready to do it all over again!
It's busy. There is a lot happening - at the end of the day I'm pretty tired, but I absolutely love it.