Adjusting to a New Schedule

            As of right now, I’m finding it easy to balance my internship and everything else. I’m used to working + class + extracurriculars every day, so being here and only having to worry about working has been easier than what I’m used to. Usually, I work 8 hours Saturday or Sunday and also have to plan all my chores, grocery shopping, homework, etc., but this isn’t an issue here. My weekends are totally to myself and for doing/going where I want. This weekend I’m going to Valencia with some people and I’m really excited. Right now, I get done at 3:30pm, which leaves the rest of the day to do whatever I want, which has been great. The only downside is that I have to wake up super earlier because my internship takes an hour to get to, so I’m waking up around 6:30am everyday which has been really tough since I am not a morning person. I’ve had so much time that I’ve been looking around at gyms in the area. Originally, I wasn’t going to get a membership because I didn’t think I would have enough time, but so far, I’ve been wrong. I even bought a couple of books to read on the metro and also while at home since I have the time. The other nice part is the environment of my internship. Everyone is very nice, and it has that Spanish feel to it, in which we eat breakfast together and around 11 we’ll all have a cup of coffee and chat. Although I haven’t really been able to participate much in the conversations since my Spanish isn’t good enough for that, it’s still really beneficial for my growth to be listening in on authentic conversations. Luckily the person who I work with most/am shadowing explains the conversations to me afterwards in a way that I can understand. Right now, the hot topic is the country’s election. It normally takes place at the end of the year, but it was moved to July 23rd and people are really upset about it. A lot of people go on vacations then and won’t be home. It also doesn’t give much time for those who need mail-in ballots or have some disability that requires aid to vote. This is especially pertinent since I work at a facility that helps people with intellectual disabilities, including helping them exercise their right to vote. It’s actually been really interesting learning about the way the company works to bring confidence and personal freedom to the patients. During the local election, the different candidates came to the facility to present about what they’re running for. The staff then went over again the options and allowed them to make the decision for themselves as to who they wanted to vote for. There’s also a lot of little things they do as well to build independence. On Thursday, a patient asked to speak to the psychologist (who I am working with) about something. We went into a private room and asked what was wrong. She was really upset about something in her routine and no longer liked that aspect. It was distressing her, and she needed it changed. Rather than forcing her to continue with the routine her telling her it’s something she has to deal with, the psychologist worked with her to identify why it was upsetting her. From there she worked with her in identifying other things she can do to replace the part of her routine that was upsetting her, as it was still and important part of her time and something relatively similar still had to be there. Another really interesting moment was when she helped identify where one of the patients wanted to go for vacation. He is nonverbal, so it seemed like an impossible task to me at first, but the psychologist got the answer super quickly. She was able to identify where he wants to go, with who, to do what, and when all in a matter of minutes. I was impressed that just because he isn’t able to communicate in a “typical” manner, he was still able to express his wants successfully. Once again, I was surprised by the level of autonomy by each individual at the facility. I haven’t work in with people with intellectual disabilities before, so this is a new experience for me, so my expectations and assumptions were incorrect. I’m trying to change my perspective to be more accurate with what I’ve seen in the last week. That includes adjusting to the varying levels of disabilities. Some people are more capable than others, which requires constant adjustment on my part. Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of it soon.