So coming to the realization that this is my first real professional job, I feel I should write about it since its coming to the first couple of months on the job. Pointing out the do’s and do nots. The noticeable and the unobservant. The mishaps and salty comments.
The Chills (better known as the negative nannies)
1) Living Paycheck to Paycheck. Hm. They were not lying. That is totally accurate for a in-debt college student living in a two bedroom apartment by herself. Speaking to the girl who likes to take two showers a day and must have the lights on when it is dark. But I do save water most times by doing my dishes instead of running the dishwasher. One Paycheck = Rent. Two Paycheck= Water Bill. Car Insurance. Electricity Bill. Internet Bill. Food and Gas. Repeat cycle every single month. Its your birthday this month?! What?! Yay! You get a ………..can of soup and a dollar tree birthday card 🙂
2) Big City Girl to Country Bumpkin. Now don’t take this personally. I love the country. Its amazing. The sunsets are beautiful and the sight of horse and cow pies in the fields surrounding my school make me smile everyday but the culture shock is one to remember. From being surrounded by over 15,000 students in a student body to living in an area where your town only holds less than 5000 people is quite a change. Looking for some fun? Try hitting up the movie theatre with 4 movies. The high school students have fun by smoking hookah (oddly strange actually) and everyone knows everyone except the new girl.
3) High Expectations never exceeding. Every week seeing how bad your school is doing is not uplifting. Knowing your school hasn’t met growth. Knowing your school isn’t meeting its goals. And knowing I only have two years to try and turn that around is very challenging and stressful at the same time. My expectations when first going here have drastically changed but sadly, I won’t them to be higher knowing that’ll be hard to achieve in only two years of my contract.
4) My status as a College Advisor. Yes. We are amazing. I will say that. But you are pretty much a stick in the mud when you are not employed by the school or county. Attempting to do anything will result in a big fat negative and a sad walk back to your office. Want to volunteer? Nope. We want to pay you…not allow you to do things for free. Want internet access, a new phone? Hm, you’ll have to wait a couple weeks while we process that. It can be quite challenging but then again, they technically cant fire me right? Thats my “go-to” for the other guidance counselors. Its okay, you won’t be fired. Not sure whether I should heed that advice but they always say its better to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission. I don’t grovel for anyone!
5) Not being / looking seasoned. This might be a new term for some. It pretty much means older, wiser, and been around the block a few times. The fact that I look like a freshmen in high school doesn’t help my rep-a-tware. The teachers who don’t me will most likely ask me for a pass and the students who don’t know me think Im the new girl who transferred from the beach town (I guess they don’t use tanning lotion where I live….). This can be very frustrating at times but I think with time and persistence, I will become a tumor they won’t be able to get rid of 🙂
The Feels (aka the perks of being a CA)
1) All the feels of helping someone. Helping just one person gives me the feels. The fact that I am helping pretty much an entire student body is pretty darn phenomenal. I cant even begin to fathom knowing what these young minds are capable of.
2) The Added Responsibility. Is that strange? That I like having more responsibility. Ever since I remember, Ive always had to do things on my own. I was never handed anything and I worked hard for what I got. I have always looked for a challenge because I always felt that I could do more with my life and make a difference. With this position, it has made me a better person. It has made me live in my own place, pay my own bills and live the real world life that I didn’t think actually existed.
3) When students wave or say Hi to me in the halls. OH MY GOSH. THEY NOTICE ME. The great thing about working in such a small area, the difference you make and the people you help….those are the people that will remember you. Those are the people that make you enjoy your job. No, they may never be able to spell my last name or even pronounce it correctly; they may not get why I have a Wildlife Degree and am now working behind a desk helping high school students…..no, they won’t but as long as they acknowledge me, that is one step further to happiness.
4) Im the new assistant Softball Coach. I would never have gotten this opportunity in real life….well maybe I would have but still, the fact that this option is now mine is incredible seeing how #4 above was the reason I couldn’t do anything in the schools. Helping students. Playing a sport I love. Coaching athletes. And possibly getting paid for it…..say what? And the softball coach actually had a vent session with me. That doesn’t happen. Ever. I think we instantly became best friends. She just doesn’t know it yet.
5) The amazing CAC people I work with. So the people I work with are like a quote. They are like fudge. Sweet with a little bit of nuts mixed in. I love every single one of them. Each personality is different. Its almost like high school clicks all over again. Where you have the introverts. The excited cheerleaders. The advocators and drama queens. The jocks and smarties. I just cant handle all of them in one room. Its just too great. Summit was a can of exploding happiness all in a canned Megabus of closed awkwardness about a chant that we never did. We will put that behind us…..for now.
50 Yard Line (The things I just don’t know how to feel about)
1) The staff meetings and counselor conferences. Sometimes they make me angry. Other times they make me laugh. And then you have those ones where you don’t know if you should laugh at the jokes in the Sexual Harassment Trainings. I know they are supposed to be beneficial. But sometimes you have training that makes you think a certain way so you don’t offend people and then you have people who give you another training who haven’t had training on how to be sensitive to other peoples needs. How do we go about making the awkwardness go away? Im pretty sure I’m the only one who feels it staring me in the face.
2) When students give you random hugs. Ekk…….I don’t like hugs. I don’t like personal contact. But they are happy and want to give you hugs. Of course, no male hugs. That would totally be inappropriate. But this hug wasn’t about work. It was about personalities. Not sure how that happened. So the awkwardness set in when it was a lifeless hug from a zombie college advisor. Next time, I might just wear a sign that says “Hugs. $1.” But hugs are okay sometimes. I guess. Im not a total heartless hugless person 🙂
3) When you love your school and some staff hates it. Is it because Im new? Or blind to see what goes on behind the scenes? Seems like everyone on staff is quitting and transferring. Seems like Ive heard a lot of complaints about certain people and absentee rate for teachers has reached an all time high. Its a little shocking when everyone tells me to “COME BACK ANOTHER YEAR!!!” when later they are telling me that they are looking for another job. Makes me not want to make meaningful relationships when they are walking away but I need to. One of the reasons why I love this job….the staff at the school.
4) Office location. Furthest from the bathroom and refrigerator. Closest to the exit and secretary. First door closest to the entrance in where everyone and their mother (yes, i literally and figuratively mean their mother) has to stare into my office. The sunlight that always tends to shine right in my eyes during the middle of the day (even when the blinds are down). But then again, my office is pretty tight. Lined with all of the college decor. Beautiful view of the open woods out front and the parking lot. Plus I have access to see all of the students skipping class and pizza deliveries that are made.
5) Not knowing what my future holds. Yes. We were told at Summit to not plan your future….but that seems pretty impossible to me. Accidental weddings and unplanned babies don’t seem to be high on my top list of things to do. I love this job but I also love wildlife and balancing the two is the hardest thing for me to do. I feel like I’m being quartered by horses every time I think about my future and what it could possibly hold. Military. Grad School. Non-Profit. Reckless Adventurist. Its just very all mind consuming. I was always horrible at making life decisions. But this life decision that Im in right now is one I would do all over again.
Just a few statements and lines that must always be remembered:
Guidance Counselor: We are a team! You have to go with us everywhere.
Other counselor: There is no US in team.
Counselor: Be sure to spray the febreeze in the bathroom when you get out.
Other counselor: A whole can wouldn’t even save you from that smell.
Person A: She was pretty salty.
Person B: She’s a GSH. That means Greedy Student Hoarder. Side effects include bursts of emotion, stealing of students and occasional glares into offices.