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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jobs jobs jobs

Before school, when I was just preparing, I felt aimless because I wasn't working any longer. While it was hard not bringing in any income, it was even harder to feel like I didn't have any purpose (starting school in a month, a week, a few days didn't strike me, at the time, as purpose).

And then I started, and though I became overwhelmed with the courseloads, it seemed like most of my classmates had jobs. It seems like the schedule is very accomodating (to a degree) having a part-time job.

So I got two.

I'm going back to the shelter, to do overnights again, on Tuesdays. I remember what vivid nightmares I had there, sleeping on a Murphy bed a foot from an unsecured window that opened onto a creaky veranda. How I'd fall asleep by entertaining visions of an abuser tracking down his woman and breaking into the shelter through my window. One medium-strong kick would propel him right through. Or a recurring dream about locking the front door yet people opening it up and walking right through. After two years of working days at a shelter that felt like Fort Knox, it will be hard to feel safe in this environment again.

And yet. Going back there to fill out paperwork reminded me why I endured so long last time. Walking into the office fills me with peace. No matter what stressors are bothering me before work, no matter what kind of mayhem I might (and am likely to) encounter at the shelter, I feel like a weight has been lifted and my mind is clear when I am there.

My other job is tutoring once a week at a westside Chicago elementary school. Unluckily for them, they did not ask me if I was any good at it. I suspect I will not be. I tried to help at girl with her homework at my internship yesterday, and it was pretty pathetic. I did not know how to lead her to answer "In what city is the White House located?" after it was clear her little 3-page article on the government did not hold the key. (Because I'm pretty sure just telling her was not a good method. But my "Do you know who the first president was? . . . Do you think maybe they might have named a city after him?" was pretty ham-handed, and besides, the girl didn't know anyway.)

But I think it will be an interesting time. More experience working with kids, at any rate.



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