Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I know someone…

Someone who began earning her own income by age 15. Someone would leave high school and walk to work most afternoons. She did this until graduating high school. During the summers, she would work more than one job. One summer, she worked three jobs - two part-time and one full time job, and she usually walked to all them unless a ride was offered. Someone finished high school, had a decent social life and boyfriend. Someone got a small scholarship to college that did not cover her expenses or allow her to live independently.

For a full year after high school, someone worked two full time jobs. She worked at least eighty hours per week and sometimes overtime at one job or the other. She would get up at 5AM to be at work by 6AM, work until 2PM and then walk to the second job for 230PM and work until 1030PM. As the schedule was always changing, she rarely got a full day off unless it was requested for a special occasion. Someone saved her money to be able to attend college comfortably.

Someone started college. Shee was a full time student who worked 30-40 hours per week all through college never calling in sick for one shift. Someone took five years to graduate in order to spend the entire last year finishing a research project, which truly broadened her view of the scientific world. Someone attended college over an hour and a half drive from their home. So on top of school and work, she spent 3 hours a day in the car because she was determined. Someone started with a work-study job 15 hours a week tutoring children to read. She also worked at an apartment complex for two shifts every weekend. Work-study ended, and someone moved from the apartment complex into a house. Someone had to get a new job. She began working at a bakery, and the owner was willing to work around school because he saw the potential in her. He taught her how to be an entrepreneur and the hard work that it takes to run a small business. Eventually, the bakery closed. Then, someone went to work for the hospital. She worked two 15 hours shifts - one on Saturday, one on Sunday. Someone did this for five years. She took extra shifts every time they were offered that they fit into her school schedule. Someone worked every Easter, every Thanksgiving, every Christmas and Christmas Eve, and every New Year and New Year’s Eve for five years. Sometimes working 15 hour shifts on these holidays for the overtime pay and because other employees wanted the time off, and the extra shifts were available. During this time, someone graduated college - third in the class. Someone received many special honors. She had the proudest day of life after finishing the last final exam. Before graduating college, she opened her own business. Someone poured her time into this business each weekday evening. Someone worked until she ached at night. Someone failed as a business woman this time, but gained even more respect for small business owners.

Someone continued to work at the hospital after graduating. Someone took the MCAT (medical college admissions tests), and someone lost a home to Hurricane Katrina. Someone spent a good six months of hard work trying to get life back together at home while working 30 hours a week at the hospital and taking on a second job traveling five to ten days at a time away from home. Her hospital job worked with her to ensure she could keep both commitments. Someone felt bad taking handouts from strangers. Then, a stranger told someone that if there was ever a time to let others help you, it is now. Someone learned to be humble and thankful. Thankful for the meals she ate from the churches. Thankful for the Red Cross. Thankful for the MREs and water from the soldiers. Thankful to the soldier who offered her his boots when he saw her without shoes on. Someone found shoes in the mud and wore them because she found that everything that was gained from working was lost. During lunch, someone was letting those shoes dry out in the midday sun after rummaging through the water to salvage her things and had to go barefoot while eating meals with strangers and soldiers. Someone is thankful to all the family that provided for her, who were proud of her. Someone is thankful for the mattress she still sleeps on given to her by the Salvation Army. Yes, the Salvation Army bought her a new mattress and gave her a box of cleaning supplies and a Bible that she holds dear. A little paper copy that she didn’t think was precious until much later. Thankful to the church that quilted her blanket that she still sleeps with today. Someone has never met the person who quilted her blanket, but often wonders about the love put into a blanket that she cherishes. Thankful to the family who gave her a place to stay for several weeks immediately after the storm. Thankful to NAVO for helping her get into a FEMA trailer. Thankful to NASA for giving her a place to put the FEMA trailer before she moved onto her aunt’s property with the trailer. Thankful for being able to share a FEMA trailer with her significant other bringing them closer together than ever before.

Someone’s life became normal again. Shee interviewed at medical school and was accepted a few weeks later. Someone was torn between helping the home she loved and beginning the life she had longed for. She left her hospital job and worked full time traveling weeks at a time until just before medical school started. Someone began medical school and was a mediocre student at best. Someone left school and went home and Christmas time to leave medical school until the following school year in August. Throughout the month of December and early January, someone got medical attention and worked out her medication to get back on her feet and start enjoying life again. By mid-February, someone decided to go back to work traveling. Someone worked one to two weeks on and one week off totaling sixteen 90-hour weeks of work traveling the country alone before she took eight weeks off to get ready to go back to school. Someone took the time off because she started a new medication that would be more in line with her school work. This medication caused her to sleep - a lot. She was warned that it would cause her to sleep. She couldn’t fight the sleep and spent 12-18 hours a day in bed. She knew this was necessary to be able to build up her awake time to be able to go to school and function all day. She did not just simply sleep. She visited also visited with her father and family in Texas. After this time, she dedicated her summer to taking care of her family’s children. This wasn’t so much a job or a chore as it was an act of love. Love for the children that forever changed my outlook on life. Love for a child is different than any other love you will ever experience.

Someone’s significant other knows how much she labored over the decision to take the traveling job instead of a steady paying job. He knows how guilty she felt when she wasn’t contributing and staying home for eight weeks. He put her at ease. Let her know that she had worked so hard for so much of her life that she deserves to take time off. Someone used the money saved from working and bought a small fixer up home around from the school. Someone was nervous about returning. Someone didn’t know if she was up to the task. Someone returned and has felt more successful than she has ever felt in her life. Someone feels like she is part of a team at school. Someone is more than a mediocre student because she is happy. Someone shines with above average grades in her favorite classes because she has passion. Someone has found joy in tasks that allow her to feel like she is contributing to her schoolmates’ success. Someone works about 10 hours a week preparing materials for her mates. She doesn’t do it for them. She does it for her. She does it because it gives her purpose and brings her peace to believe that she helps others. Someone still works while in school. Someone still brings in a small income to feel as though she is contributing to her household’s needs. Someone dedicates no more than 65 hours a week to her school life. Someone crams as much of those 65 hours into four to five days a week in order to spend her other two or three days with her significant other - either being lazy together, or helping with the remodeling on the fixer upper. Someone spends a minimum of twelve hours a week volunteering with two different groups. Someone also spends 7 hours a week at extracurricular activities that she enjoys. Someone would spend more time doing these types of activities but her medication makes her sleep much more than the average person. Someone’s doctor told her to stop fighting the sleep, and when she did even though it limits the things she wants to do each day. Someone has a lot more to say, but two pages is enough.

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