Thursday, October 7, 2010

Regaining Confidence & Energy

I can't believe it's October--not only because I can't believe I've been here almost two months, but also because it's been so warm these past few days! Luckily I've been able to take advantage of the sun with long walks and outdoor activities.

On Monday we had Oklahoma Training (named so because it was developed at the University of Oklahoma), which basically amounted to a discussion of leadership styles, how to alleviate stress, and other practical things about working in a residential facility. It's a very useful training, and once I've completed all the sessions I will be a licensed youth care professional, so it's also resume-building.

I spent my day off on Wednesday boosting my confidence by making a dentist appointment, figuring out public transportation to get myself to the Museum of Science and Industry (two transfers for a total of three different L lines), and popping in to program to find out that the morning checklist I made for my advocatee the night before did indeed help get him out the door on time. Okay, so none of these things were really that challenging, but I'd been feeling a little incompetent at work so these little things helped.

There were tons of school groups at the Museum since it was a free day, and they reminded me just how different my childhood/education is from the youth I work with. I've been to the Museum before, on a family vacation when I was in third grade, but Chicago schoolkids go there for field trips (depending on what schools they attend). Sometimes at work I marvel at the opportunities the guys have--even just the opportunity to attend good schools.

I know I probably didn't appreciate my education while I was in school, but after learning about the education system in general in my different classes, I feel like a part of my job is pointing out the blessing of a basic education to the guys. In so many ways they tend to think day-to-day--homework, reading, assignments--instead of seeing the bigger picture--high school diploma, college, living independently. I know they have a lot on their plates besides school (past traumas, behavioral issues, family stressors), but because of where they are now, the hope is that they have the support and resources to better handle these things. At least that's how I understand it.

Processing all this stuff is overwhelming sometimes. That's why they preach self-care at all the's hard to help someone else if you aren't taking care of yourself. That being said, I will feel no shame for watching Tremors and taking a nap on the couch today.

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