What They Don't Tell You About Being A Lifeguard

What They Don't Tell You About Being A Lifeguard

It's nothing like 'Baywatch.'

When school lets out for summer, we return our books in exchange for our work uniforms. Some people work seasonally over the summer while others rack up their hours when they resume a year-round position. Regardless, summer employment can make for amazing experiences. In addition to a hearty paycheck, you get to meet and connect with people you may not have had the chance to meet otherwise and make lasting memories.

Water parks and pools harbor many summer workers, including the iconic tall, tan lifesavers from "Baywatch."

Who are we kidding? Lifeguarding is nothing like "Baywatch."

Here's what lifeguards won't tell you:

No more normal swimsuits for you.

I mean, unless you're into the whole "X-and-O" look, then by all means go right ahead. So long to the days of being subtly sun-kissed. Hello, permanent skinsuit.

Stay away from the kiddie area.

Easily detectable by warmer water and parents who only pay attention to their children when you correct their darling little angel's bad behavior.

Ladies, Squints is out there, and he's looking for you.

I'm talking to you, Wendy Peffercorn. Warning signs of Squints include but are not limited to:

"Lifeguard, if I drown, will you save me?"

"I want to hear you blow your whistle. Come on, lifeguard, it'd be funny!"

"Are you gonna give me mouth-to-mouth if I drown?"

Whistles are a nutritious part of a balanced diet.

Nothing is as satisfying as that crunch when the loose piece of whistle finally relinquishes from your mouth, and nothing is as attractive as when you sputter little remnants of whistle all over your post as a result. It is quite endearing, really.

(I should probably stop gnawing my way through my whistles, but it's fine.)

Fanny packs* are cool, and you're wrong if you think otherwise.

*Also known in some facilities as hip packs*

You know how all of those cool kids sport fanny packs at Coachella? You can thank your friendly neighborhood lifeguards for getting that trend up and running. Gone are the days where it was considered "nerdy" to rock a seemingly bottomless storage unit at the convenience of your hips. Need your ID or money? Unzip your hip, and carry on with your life!

The tans may fade, but the memories last forever.

The bonds made between co-workers go unmatched with other friendships. For lifeguards, in particular, you all share a common desire for even tan lines, reasonable break time, a common dislike for sloppily wrapped guard tubes (you know who you are) and rescues in the rain. So strap on your fanny packs and don't forget your shades—another season of fun in the sun awaits!

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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