What It's Really Like To Be A Lifeguard

What It's Really Like To Be A Lifeguard

Having the lifeguarding title comes with only perks.
160
views

I have been Red Cross Certified in lifeguarding, CPR, AED, and First Aid since my junior year in high school. I have worked on and off ever since at private pool parties, camps, and private pools ever since. It might look like a simple task, however, it's a very tedious job. One needs to be alert and active at all times on the pool deck.

Being a lifeguard comes with a lot of responsibilities. At the end of the day, having this under my belt really captures my character and the kind of person I am. On the other hand, being a lifeguard entails a great amount of reliability and stress at times. Although extremely rewarding, the lives of these infants, children, and adults are in your hands. What a scary thought!

I have worked at Driftwood Day Camp, a camp on Long Island, for the past three summers. I know many think the job is easy: "Watching the pool is so easy, anyone can do it" or "why do you need to be certified for this" is all I hear from whispers on the pool deck. It's the exact opposite, unfortunately. How would you feel if you were the reason for a child's death?

Not too great, right? That's a lifeguard's worst nightmare. This is why we take our job extremely seriously, and can't interact with anyone but the pedestrians utilizing the pool.

Waking up every morning at 7:00 a.m. was a struggle, as we had to be there by 8:00 a.m. every morning. It was a very long day at Driftwood. Starting at 9:00 a.m., I wouldn't get home to nearly 5:00 p.m., and on good days it would be 4:30 pm. It's a very long but worthwhile day.

As well as being a lifeguard for this amazing camp, I was also a swim instructor. At this day camp, like many others, the instructional swim is in the morning for all ages and free swim is in the afternoon after the camp eats lunch. I would say the mix between these parts of the day was a happy medium. I worked with ages as young as four years old to as old as 12-year-old boys and girls. The age difference was very interesting, as I learned how to teach both young and older ages. It was very fun having the opportunity to experience teaching both of these ages.

All in all, being a lifeguard and having these responsibilities can be very difficult at times. It's always important to ask questions if you are not certain about doing something correctly. You don't want to regret something you could have done to prevent an injury or life-threatening condition.

To be completely honest, lifeguarding has changed my life for the better. I have so much more respect as I aged over the past few years and experienced things the normal person would not have. This specific job entails a lot, however, it's always very rewarding to know that you're the individual who can save someone's life.

I am getting re-certified this summer in both lifeguarding and CPR/AED and First Aid and can't wait to hopefully get a job at the gym facilities at the University of Delaware this fall!

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

Popular Right Now

To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
1301340
views

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

How To Survive Your First Flu At ISU

Being away from your parents can be tough when you get sick, but here's a short how-to guide of what to do when you catch the flu.

180
views

Going away to college can be tough, especially if you're used to being at home and having someone to take care of you when you get sick. Now I don't know about the rest of you but when I get sick I turn into a needy childish mess of a person who wants her mom to make her soup and bring her juice and medicine. But, being about a two-hour drive away from home I can no longer rely on my mom to take care of me. So, you would assume that my first option is to just lay in bed and sleep all day until I don't feel sick anymore. Unfortunately, I have tried that, and I can assure you that it's not a valid way to get better anytime soon. So, in this article, I am going to explain how you can get healthy quicker and skip fewer classes.

Step one to any sickness is staying hydrated, you should drink a lot of water, tea, and juice. The water helps flush toxins out of your body, the tea helps soothe your sore throat, and the juice provides vitamins and antioxidants. You will need all of these things in order to feel better as soon as possible.

Step two is to stay in bed and sleep, getting rest can help your body heal a lot quicker than you think. It's not a good thing to skip classes but if you can skip a class and use that time to rest and heal you won't have to skip as many classes in the future because of a sickness that lasts for multiple days or even weeks.

Step three is to remember to eat, when you feel achy and sore from being sick and laying in bed you will not want to go get food but it's important to remember to eat when you're sick especially things like hot soup and crackers. Even if you feel absolutely terrible you have to remember to eat, which might mean asking your roommate to bring you a to-go box and offering to repay the favor at a later time.

Step four is to take a nice hot shower, the steam from the hot water can help open up your sinuses which will relieve your runny or stuffy nose as well as relieving your sore throat.

Step five is remembering to email your professors and let them know that you are sick, this will help you to keep up in your classes and prevent your grades from dropping due to absence. Another helpful tip is to text a friend from your class to get a copy of the notes from class.

Hopefully, this short article will help you to handle your first serious sickness away from home, and if you're still feeling sick after trying all of these things make sure you schedule an appointment at the student health center located in the student health services building across the street from the Bone Student center.

Related Content

Facebook Comments