Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why do I do this?

For the past several years, benevolent people have been giving money to BYU for the purpose of me getting an education. The first five or six years, I wandered around from class to class, major to major, wondering where I would find some sort of fulfillment. I tried sociology, psychology, elementary education, and a few others I don't remember right now. I left school twice, once to go to China and once simply because I needed a break. Each time, I got pulled back into it. BYU became this inescapable vortex that I can only leave by moving though.

When I got my job at Heritage, I found my calling. I was outside, working with horses and teenagers, and I could relate to them. I've had several tell me I am one of their favorite staff, in a place where they don't have much reason to like anything. I figured out how to give them both structure and freedom. Not all of them like me, it is true, but I believe there are very few who actually dislike me.

Because of this job, I decided to major in Recreational Therapy. I had taken a class in this during my first stint in college, and I thought the people were wierd. The teachers, in particular, were really wierd. It didn't seem like a serious major, and I passed the class and discounted it as a possibility. Then, when I came back with the intent to major in RT, I came to grips with the fact that my teachers are, in fact, truly wierd. Often my peers are relaxed and easygoing. It is, really, a good major. I remember consciously thinking that this major was relaxed enough that perhaps studying it in school would not completely kill my enjoyment of learning.

I will say, I have gotten much farther in this major than I did in any other. I have done some very good things here.

Recently, my job changed. I am still at Heritage, still teaching troubled youth how to ride. But now, there is much more structure, I am much busier, and I feel rushed, both during the day and througout each semester. I am a school teacher, now, responsible for grades and everything. Before, I only had to write a small note on how each client did in each session, and that was the end of it. The other system had its flaws, to be sure, but I had so much more fun with the system and with the clients. Now I feel as though my job is not so much to care about but to monitor the clients.

Perhaps it is that, or perhaps it is my classes, but I am tired of it all. So far in my major, my classes have focused on not so much how to care for or relate to my clients, but how to assess what is wrong with them, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. I have learned how to do paperwork, and research, and evaluate scholarly articles. My teachers have been very kind; I will grant them that. Perhaps they believe we all have the skills necessary already to be compassionate and kind and empathetic. Perhaps they don't believe that those are not necessary in Therapeutic Recreation. After all, I have never seen a scholarly article written on the benefits of compassion given by RT's to clients, and the noticeable, clinical differences it has caused.

Quite frankly, I don't care about the paperwork. I understand that, to some extent, it is necessary. It helps with communication. It helps to know when the overall goals are achieved. It is good to know how to do which tests when. But it just seems to me that the paperwork and such should be very very minimal. The point of this whole thing should be to build confidence, good habits, skills, and relationships, both in the clients and in ourselves. I feel that I have learned so little about that. Therapeutic recreation, at this point, is neither therapeutic nor recreational for me. If I have the view that it is not fun, how on earth am I going to communicate any sort of enjoyment to my clients?

I do realize that there is more to RT than academia. Thank goodness, or it would be no better than... well, I don't want to impune anybody's taste. :) But this is my other problem. I don't plan on doing any professional work in Recreational Therapy. Beyond my internship, I don't even particularly want to get my CTRS certification, which is just a really expensive test that says, "Hey! I did school! I can therapize recreationally!" So, because I have no goal that I'm working toward, I don't have any motivation whatsoever to learn the theories and assessments.

I'm in a pickle, really.

Ah, well, I just have one month left of this class that has prompted this particular rant, and then just a few classes after that. I just don't want to hate what I'm doing every day anymore! I've done that once already in my life, and swore I would never do it again. It's only slightly better, this time, because I'm the one that got myself into it, rather than being forced by "the system." Gah.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Little Bit of Love

So, while this is not so hot-off-the-press, and several of my friends already know, I figure it's time to make the official announcement. Really, I don't know why or how people so often wait for months to tell people. Maybe when I've lived longer I'll know better. For right now, I'm just really excited.

So yes, if you haven't guessed, the "little bit of love" is about 1/8 of an inch long after approximately 4 weeks of growing. "Itty Bitty," as we refer to him/her weighs less than a gram, which doesn't explain why my clothes are already a little tighter than I'd like... Just eight months left to go!

Impressions so far: So tired!!! So tired! The repository of all knowledge known as the Internet says that my heart is beating an extra 15 beats per minute. That's an extra 20,000 beats per day! No wonder I'm so tired! Add to that the fact that I'm still working out at the barn and going to school, and when I come home at night I'm just exhausted. I think I've been working hard enough that I made myself sick. I took yesterday off completely, and today all I have scheduled is a test, so by Friday I should be doing okay again.

We're so excited, though. It'll be so fun to have a little family, to take care of a baby and to watch him/her grow and develop a personality.

Sometimes it seems completely unreal. I have a hard time believing that this is really happening. I'm gonna be a Mommy!