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.
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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

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Fiction On Odyssey: Meet The Madwoman

So she's not a homicidal maniac, but a mad scientist? Katrina meets the new lady of the "haunted house."

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Author's Note: For more context, go here first

It was weird that the door to Bespredel was open for once. I thought for a moment that I shouldn't be doing this. Maybe I was going to be experimented on, or murdered... Nah. Cate Tesla seemed pretty trustworthy from what I dug up on her. Either way, people at school would be hounding me about the inside of the house, and whether Miss Tesla was the spawn of Satan or a lonely, gorgeous misunderstood genius that needed young company (Pluto's words, not mine. I swear, the kid's obsessed with older women, I should probably probe his computer later...) Still, I made an obligation, and I have to fulfill it, or I'd never hear the end of it from Dad about responsibility.

"Come in, come in!" I heard her chirp, "In the office on the right."

Great. Now I couldn't turn back. Even if she couldn't see me, she could hear me. I had no choice but to follow her orders and wander into the "office" that seemed to have been converted into a workshop. And there she was. Much to my surprise, she looked relatively normal, aside from the aviators on her head and goggles around her neck. She was a redhead like me, although her hair was unstyled and slightly disheveled. I honestly expected her to have messed up peepers like most blind people I knew of, but her big green doe eyes looked fine, even if they didn't work. Yet... Her smile seemed weird to me. It wasn't creepy or anything, but it looked... real, like that of a child. With the late war, most people her age never smiled like that. Everything was always slight or fake. I can't even remember my own father smiling as she did.

"A waltz," she muttered.

"What?"

"You walk in a waltz," she said, "That's how most people with canes walk. Not me. I only tap mine for sonar when I'm not sure. My own invention."

"Yeah... I know," I said uneasily.

"Why do you have yours, if you don't mind?" she asked.

"Spine problems. I used to not be able to walk at all, but I had surgery about a month ago."

She shifted a bit in her stance.

"Why? What do people think?"

This lady was as nosy as me. That could be both a blessing and a curse.

"I don't really care what people think, and with the war over, it's not like I'm going to get killed if I didn't have it," I replied, "But it's convenient to walk. I guess some people are mad at me for not being "proud", but really I don't care. They're mostly idiots anyway."

"Aren't they? I hate those damned elitists." Her tone darkened slightly, but wasn't all that intimidating. "Perhaps I want to invent something to fix my eyes... I used to see, you know. All I want is to see my home, my family, my loved ones again. I don't give a hoot about being normal either, I mean, I'm already a kook, I'm an inventor, after all. But since I'm sentimental, all I hear is 'Cate, you don't need to hide yourself, we fought this war for the right to be alive, be ourselves, why can't you embrace your blindess?!' You're right, Katerina, idiots."

I knew she wasn't right in the head, but I expected her to get my name right. Maybe she has a faulty computer. I could probably fix it if she asked.

"My name's Katrina, Miss Tesla."

She simply shook her head and laughed, as if I were the crazy one.

"Katrina, yes. Means 'pure.' How ironic, since some people come to know it as 'destruction.' At least it's better than Katherine... Which Fievel seems to think your name is."

Fievel von Petrov knows my name. He's just a wad. Dad says he's just displacing, but I say he's a wad. He doesn't have any good reasons to be angry with me after all, it's all supposedly on Dad.

"Anyway," she continued, "Katerina sounds prettier if you'd allow it. And none of this 'Miss Tesla' business. It makes me sound old, come on, I'm not 40 yet."

"If it makes you feel better, you can call me whatever you like except for 'hey, you' and 'cripple'," I sighed, "And sorry, that's just how I was raised. My father always taught me that manners always paid."

"Oh, you city dwellers, always having to be so formal," she said, letting out another laugh, "But then again, I used to be one of you. I guess I've been gone for way too long. If you absolutely must stick with all that, call me Miss Cate."

I shrugged. "Fine." At least she's lively, and for the most part honest. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad. Surely my classmates would be disappointed there's no crazy old witch, and while she's a mad scientist, she's not THAT mad. However, now that I've got a clear picture of the woman, who was fairly pleasant-looking, I doubt Pluto was going to shut up anytime soon about someday tagging along and "comforting" Miss Te- Cate. Gross. She should be around the same age as Dad. Speaking of which, I should make a mental note to keep one of his business cards on me, just in case. She's an utter and complete lunatic, but at least she knows it, and may want help.

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