September 22, 2008
Everyone has those first day jitters. The butterflies in the stomach feeling, the can not stop thinking about what could go wrong and then the extra couple strokes of deodorant just to be on the safe side because being nervous and smelling of BO is probably not the best first impression to make. Those are just a few of the things that the first day of work did to me. My first job and only job I have ever had, as of now is a lifeguard at the Republic Aquatic Center or RAC obliviously in Republic Missouri.

The first day was not the day that I was hoping it would be. I was going over CPR, back boarding procedures, first aid, and many other things that being a lifeguard entails. The first thing that went wrong was not at the pool itself. It had to be that my mom drove me to work because I had only had my license for about a week and the only major distance I had driven by myself was to my boyfriend’s house about ten minutes away. She was doing her mom thing by being over dramatic about the drive to Republic and the fact that it was pouring outside. So for that twenty-minute drive I got to listen to opera with my mother trying to sing along, the windshield wipers on full blast and in the brief moments she stopped singing she told me to be careful. Then when I finally got there a whole twenty minutes early I had to wait for someone else to come, my boss was not even there yet. So I had to listen to her horrible imitation of opera singing for a little while longer.

The first day started with an in service. The guards just get together to brush up on the necessary skills before the actual pool opens, but because of the rain the emergency action plan demonstration was put on hold. However, one of the head guards, Robert, drew a wonderful picture with arrows telling what each stand was to do depending on where the emergency was taking place. In that meeting we also learned the hand gestures and whistle blowing techniques for signaling another guard. This was a blast because the thunder and the whistle blowing were surprising loud together. That activity has also probably caused some hearing loss in all the lifeguards at that in service. The best part of the meeting was learning that I was going to help Robert and Leslie with the upcoming season of summer swim team at the pool.

The next part of my first day was that finding out that all the new guards would work that day. The new guards started out with shadowing one of the more experienced guards from years before that were still working at the pool. I however got stuck with having to work at 4 o’clock and it was only one so I had to call my mother and wait.

She picked me up, but instead of taking me straight home liked I hoped she made me go to Lowes with her and look at dehumidifiers. For one thing I despise going into Lowes because the smell of it gives me an instant headache and two I was tired and a little hungry. She finally made up for making the trip by taking me to Taco Bell, which made me somewhat more awake and fulfilled my hunger. I got to drive myself back to the pool at four, which was amazing because that was the first time I had really driven by myself for a long period of time and could listen to whatever music I wanted to.

When I got to work I learned that I was to be shadowing Kanya. We started at the bottom of the slides, which was an experience by itself because a wasp almost stung us and there is just no way to kill those little suckers with a lifeguard tube. At five I took over Nathan’s stand, which just happened to be the good old diving boards. The first ten minutes were fine, but then a little four or five year old decided to go off the high dive. I could somewhat feel the tension in the air as the boy jumped, but I did not want to start out the summer with thinking that every little kid would get scared on the high dive. He got out to the edge and just jumped, and the real drama began when he popped his head out of the water and I thought his eyes were going to explode right out of the sockets. The mother did not help for the good in this situation; she decided to save her son instead of waiting for me, a certified lifeguard, to save him. She screamed “Lifeguard!” but then just went for it and jumped. This was not a smart move on her part because she almost jumped onto her son and drowning him more with her splash. So I got off my stand and helped the little boy out of the water, he was fine just a little shook up. I will never forget what she said to me about her son; “He did it a million times last year.” That phrase was what echoed through my head every time a little boy jumped off the high dive this and I hoped that it would not be the million and one time that scared the other little boys or girls jumping.

So my first day started out with opera singing and rain, but ended in a mother screaming and jumping in the water fully clothed. All in all I liked my first day of work and the only other save I made all summer was a little boy too small for the slide needing help out of the water. That job gave me the opportunity to meet new people and taught me to live life however I want to live it because it can be taken away in a flash. That summer I learned more about myself then I thought I could ever learn in a lifetime.

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