So school has started, and with it my internship and 2 regular babysitting jobs. Fortunately for me, I find most of those things enjoyable, so even though my life has gone crazy in the blink of an eye, I'm not freaking out.
Well, not entirely.
I've been a little overwhelmed with everything lately. I don't think I went through this stress last year when I started school because I didn't know what I was getting into. I was really excited about everything, and that was about the only emotion I remember having.
This year, I'm both completely excited for my internship and classes, and also completely terrified. This internship is a huge deal, as I'm the first person from my program to ever have an internship working with patients at the hospital I'm in.
Now, after a week of my internship, I am still both excited and terrified. Every day, I walk into the hospital and am filled with this amazing feeling of knowing it's exactly where I'm supposed to be. At the same time, I'm thinking, "I can't do this!" There is so much to learn (finding my way around the hospital, learning the heirarchy of doctors and nurses, and God forbid my pager ever goes off - I won't have a clue what to do!) and some of the family situations I've seen are just tragic. I escaped working with (or seeing) any really hard cases last year, and I have more than made up for it in my first week here. Just reading a case report about the abuse of a child is hard, but then when I see the adorable helpless baby I just read about, it makes it sickeningly more real.
That said, I know that I have the skills and support to do the work I'm there to do. My supervisor is incredible and even though it's only been a week, I trust her completely not to put me in a situation I can't handle.
My uncertainty is a funny feeling to have, because I came off of last year so self-confident across the board - in classes, in my internship, and in life. Now all of those pieces of my life are being re-set in this new school year, and I'm still getting my feet under me. I know it's going to be an incredible year and I definitely feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be - I just need to be patient and trust in that feeling.
And so I remind myself to breathe, because really that's about as much as I have control over in the end, and I try to make sure to notice the happy stuff, laugh at the silly stuff, and to do familiar things that make me feel like me (instead of like the half-crazed alien-me that keeps sneaking in and trying to take over).
This summer at camp, I spent a lot of time working in the office, and it was easy to forget the bigger picture (that there were hundreds of kids running around and having fun right outside). My coworker and I used to share stories of camp moments with each other to help us remember why we were there.
One day, we were walking down the path together and heard a little 11-year-old boy say to his friend "Cool!" and when his friend said, "What?" the boy said, "I just burped and farted at the same time!"
Another time, there was a group of kids headed to dodgeball, and their counselor led them in a chant: "What do we want?" "DODGEBALL!" "When do we want it?" "DODGEBALL!"
These were moments we couldn't have scripted, and we never knew when they'd happen, but they were the highlights of our summer.
So I was walking into the hospital the other day and starting to have that "I can't do this!" feeling of panic, and I stepped onto the elevator with a little girl who was with her mother. The girl was probably 9 or 10, and had a scarf covering her head. She ended up standing near the elevator buttons, and a man asked her to push "8."
"Certainly!" she said in the most cheerful voice I've ever heard in my life.
Man: "Thank you."
"You're welcome!" (again, super-cheerfully)
Woman on elevator: "You are a very polite girl!"
"Thank you!" *pause* smile and look over at her mom, "My mother taught me well!"
Woman: "Well, you are lucky to have such a good mother!"
Girl (smiling): "I know - she's wonderful!"
I walked off the elevator with a huge grin on my face, and a feeling of cheerfulness to replace my panic.
It's gonna be quite a year.