Coming back from Colorado I have noticed that I am significantly more stressed. Even though I had the weight of a camper’s life in my hands at camp I still felt at ease, however, back at school, it’s a different story. I’m bombarded with deadlines, papers, activities, classroom research, projects, emails, and early morning classes. I found it a lot easier to wake up when a camper was there holding out their arms and saying, “Good morrrrning” with a big smile on their face. It’s hard to go sit in fluorescent lit classrooms with whiteboards that blend into the wall. It’s hard to sit in chairs that don’t feel right with tables that often move too easily when you rest your arm on them. It’s hard. Somedays, I feel miserable thinking about it but I quickly try and change my mindset.
I’m going into a field where misery is not an option. No matter how stressed I am, how many worries I have in my personal life, as soon as I walk into the classroom the students come first. It is their education and it is their life I am affecting. It would be unfair for me to let my stressors get in the way of my personality, attitude, and overall class management.
I am lucky enough to be going into a field where positivity is practiced and well rehearsed.
Throughout my recent travels to Vermont I have learned that not every job allows that. I’ve thought about it before: all the jobs that make people miserable. Whether or not a parking enforcer is given an expired meter a ticket, a cop that is pulling over someone who is speeding, or a debt collected calling for money, those are jobs that cause stress. Now, I’m big on the whole empathy thing so I can’t possibly see how people can go day in and day out ruining moments of other people’s day. I just don’t get it.
I once worked with a boy who needed to be directed in a very matter of fact way. He didn’t do well if I made things a suggestion or a light hearted direction. He needed to basically be scolded whenever he was supposed to complete something. It drove me crazy. Not only because that’s not how I like to interact with people, but because when I left work I would feel so mean and miserable. It’s true that when you smile or laugh you start to begin to feel happy. Well, I think the same goes with frowns.
When I was crossing the boarder into Canada only an hour or so into my 10 hour drive I encountered one of the rudest authority I have ever come across. First, he scolded me for not stopping at the stop sign in “his lane”. Let me just mention that there was NO ONE in line, it was my first time crossing the border while driving, I was overwhelmed with all the signs and “to-do’s” they list before entry, and yes, I did slide through a stop sign before his lane. No one got hurt, in fact I don’t think anyone else even noticed. After giving me a hard time about that he continued to talk down to me when I didn’t understand what he meant when he said, “What’s your port of entry?” My response?
Me: I’m entering Canada right now…
Border Patrol: What is your port of entry? (In a more harsh voice than the first time).
I’m sure I looked flustered when saying that I didn’t know but he continued…
Border Patrol: Listen to my question…
That’s what I got mad. I was clearly listening. I had responded with what I thought was the correct answer. Didn’t he ever learn in school that there is no wrong answer to any one question? It’s clear he’s not going into education…
After he finally got the answer he wanted from me (New York is where I was entering back into the U.S.) he troubled me to give a specific place in New York because “There is about eight entry spots.” At this point, I was flipping through my maps, looking at my directions, and zooming in on my GPS when I finally just mumbled, “Maybe Buffalo?” My answer sufficed because he threw my passport in my car window and said, “Bye.”
Now, I understand that he is in a position to grill people. What are you bringing over the border? Do you have any guns? Where are you going? Why are you going there? Basically, he’s a nagging girlfriend. But why, why does one have to put such a negative tone to everything? It makes me wonder if he’s a miserable person because of his job or was he a miserable person before his job and that’s why he wanted to do it?
Either way, I hope to never bring misery into my surroundings.