Through out my life, so far, all I've ever wanted to do is make a difference..........
As a kid it was very different than now but I still want to impact someone and change their life, it may sound naive since all I wanted to be until I was 18 was an actress but it's true.
I mean think about it when you leave a play or a movie or even just after watching a TV show....it stirs something inside you. Good or bad usually you feel something whether you can relate or you know exactly what you would do differently it all makes you think. Certain types of shows stir people in different ways as I found out in my senior year as I participated in one of my last plays at school called the Laramie Project. Our class was so excited to do a play that was real and made people really think about how they felt about the play. We even had protestors that thought it was inappropriate that high schoolers were putting on a play that revolved around homosexuality. It was my first true eyeopener that even the little things like high school plays could make a difference. As people left the theatre some were touched and exited with red puffy eyes and a balled up tissue in there hand, some left enraged that it was something that actually happened, and others left not sure how they felt along with the mix that were appalled we performed it in the first place. My point is though that one play made a difference it made people think and honestly all the protestors did was give us publicity of our message.
Slowly I was forced by the people around me to give up the dream (although it's something I'll never leave behind, and will always want to do deep down), I was encouraged to choose something "practical" a career that some told me "wouldn't lead me to waitressing for the rest of my life since my chances of making it were slim to none". So I sifted through my options, still wanting to make a difference I thought about teaching, but was told "not enough money", later it lead to maybe being a Pediatrician which got the response "too much school and money until you get there....if you get there", so nursing it was and we drove through Cali looking at colleges with nursing programs that I would like.
Eventually as we all know I ended up wanting to just get away from everything and I joined the Army as a medic. I felt good about my choice....while originally I used it to get away I knew that in the Army there was NO WAY I could fail at making a difference....right? Wrong....while some still tell me just being in the service I made a difference I feel differently about it. I mean I didn't go anywhere or do anything GREAT, I passed out meds and started IV's and helped with a few minor surgeries, but other than that I didn't make the Big difference I wanted to make....
Now in nursing school all I've done is focus mostly on me and just surviving which has consisted of working as a tutor during school and lifeguarding over the summer. Now the lifeguard job came last summer when I need something for rent money while not in school and that was one that was available. Nothing crazy happened to me that first summer except a learning experience or two and some crazy friends I will NEVER forget. It also became a no brainer this summer that I was going to lifeguard again....how can you pass up great friends, a great tan, and well making money?
One thing I didn't expect this summer though was to make a difference, but I have. It wasn't a big thing it was something small (and it was part of my job) so I didn't expect to feel so great but I do. A few days ago I was working at the pool and on stand in the deep end, kids were jumping off the diving boards and getting out of the water just to scurry back to the board. It's amusing sometimes though how the kids find that way to do this walk run thing where they hope you wont blow a short loud whistle and tell them to walk because they are walking still just not quite the way we want them too. Anyways, a child had gotten onto the diving board and slowly made her way to the edge of the board and sat down. I wanted to laugh because they were very cute about it but I blew a short whistle and said "you need to stand and jump please" At that moment the child never got up but bounced into the water as i watched the child go under and pop back up to only see a forehead and kicking legs. I blew 3 short whistles and jumped in the water. That's when I started to feel my heart pound and everything else around me slowed down.......I wasn't far away and I know I was swimming fast but in the moment the child seemed just out of reach with each frantic stroke I took. Along with each stroke of never getting anywhere I was watching the forehead in the water slowly inch under. I finally got there and the child started coughing immediately and I felt relief come over me (never thought I'd be happy to have a child cough in my face though, but I was).
As I got out of the water my fellow guards on break were right there to congratulate me, although at the time it felt weird, I now realize how amazing it all was. The mother was called immediately and was there before I even made it to the guard station. I took a report and the angry (at her daycare who brought her daughter there) but thankful mother left and took her daughter home. Later that day the child's grandmother paid a visit to the pool to give the daycare a piece of her mind (which I feel was appropriate in this situation) apparently the child's mother was at home crying about what had happened. In this 5 minute (probably less) situation her life was turned upside down and everything was put into perspective of how important life is and how quickly we could lose someone we love....to ANYTHING. Before the grandmother left she thanked me more than once for what I had done.....it was hard to know what to say. I mean do you tell them your welcome, but its my job? (which is actually some version of what I think I told her) or do you act like you deserve the thank you?
Either way I was still running on my rush of adrenaline and can't quite remember how I responded, but I know how I felt. For the other guards this save won't stick in their mind forever, it's our job, that's why we are there. And for the spectators at the pool the memory will fade because they were unaffected and drownings happen everyday. But for that family this memory will stick with them and be thankful for what a did for a long time, it may not be forever, but they are forever in my heart. What I did may not last very long but I know that that day I made a difference in that family's life and it will forever stick with me.