Monday, 25 May 2015

FIB, CIA and Other Career Choices for a Latvian Boy

Today I had an 8th-grader tell me that all he really wants to do in his life is to work for FBI in the USA. He's neither the brightest nor the most diligent student, but for now he has a clear goal, and who am I to tell him it will most probably not be as easy and as much fun as he thinks it will. So we went through some of the inevitable steps he must take in order to even come close to doing something like that some day (like getting a student visa or green card in America, for starters!) Then he asked what I had dreamed of becoming when I was 16, and I had to tell him I really wanted to be a rockstar. He didn't even laugh, though I am now as apprehensive of his chances ever getting to work for FBI as I am of my chances of being a guitar goddess - not in this life, dear Diana.
However, I do hope his dream will last at least long enough to help him find motivation to stay in school and to study hard. After all, that's my job - whether he becomes a secret agent or not.

And who would have thought - there is a whole wiki page just on how to become an FBI or CIA agent!

Monday, 11 May 2015

I Made a Young Man Cry

This was a special day for me, and I don't know yet how it's going to affect my work with one 8th grader. I made him cry, and it seemed to be the purifying sort of crying that brings some sweet release and relief. I think it was my first real therapy session with a student, and I really really hope I'm not wrong and will not have to eat some humble pie later on. It seemed I had made some real connection with him, and this was also the first time that I realized I needed some tissues in "my" office. I didn't have any, didn't offer him any, and I could see he was a bit embarrassed by his tears. Oh, I do hope I've gained some ground with him.

I've just returned from a very romantic long walk with my husband and the dog. Everything is in bloom, everything is incredibly beautiful, the world seems new and fresh. The last thing I want to do is translate, but translate I must, for I am a translator. It's hard being what you are and doing what you do when you want to just take huge gulps of life and not think about the mundane, about earning a living and doing everyday things.
I won't fret, all is well.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

I'm on Edge

I can't work, can't really sleep, can't even garden. The clinical psychology practicum is going as wrong as it can possibly go. It's less than three weeks until the deadline, and I don't even have a mentor yet! I'm desperate. I was in a crisis centre for a month, and on April 30 I found out that the lawyer of the crisis centre had found some issues with the agreement and I could not complete the practicum there - due to some technicality. On that same day I managed to find another placement - with the largest psychiatry hospital in the country, and arranged to go there (with that same agreement) this Tuesday. I was so very nervous I drove the 50 km to the hospital more than an hour early, just to receive a message from my would-be mentor saying that he was sick and that I should call him on Thursday (today). I was so high-strung all morning, hesitating to call and waiting for some stupid signs, that I gave up and just sent him a message, asking when I could meet him and if he was OK now. He hasn't replied. It's been two hours, and I still don't know anything.
What's the worst thing that can happen? I might not be able to complete this year and would have to do the practicum next year, and that would mean that I would lose my scholarship. It would mean quite a lot of money, and I would really hate to pay. Moreover, I would feel like a failure.
I don't know why the school practicum went so brilliantly while this one presents such challenges that I'm losing sleep and all motivation to work.

Monday, 13 April 2015

A Tough Day for a New School Psychologist

I arrived at 12.30, half an hour early. I went into the teachers' room and saw what I thought was quite an unusual sight. A teenage boy was standing near the door, and all the teachers were standing up and looked very angry. The scout leader, being the manliest man of the school, was reproaching the boy. The scout leader looked all red and besides himself with fury. I watched as the boy closed in, not looking at anyone, ear-buds behind his ears, hood over his head, all dignified and careless, and indifferent. When all the angry words and accusations were over - it turned out he (and two of his classmates) had climbed out onto the school roof during classes to smoke. "Are you an addict?" the principal asked? She was so mad. "Can't you do without smoking at least until the break?"
The boy didn't say anything. I asked him to come to my office after the English lesson - during biology. I didn't want him to miss English, and the biology teacher was quite willing to send the boy to me.
I worked with his younger brother during that lesson. I found the same indifference, the same lack of emotions, of feelings, of any life in the boy that his brother had displayed just a while ago. I learned about the boys verbal skills and attention span, about his lack of sleep and dislike for his teacher. He left, and I began waiting for his big brother. But he never came.
I intend to see him tomorrow, first thing in the morning, during the first class, but there is no way of knowing whether he will show up at all.
I really hope to make both of those brothers see that the world is not against them and that they indeed can be appreciated and seen for who they are - not as delinquents, but as kids that desperately need care - with no one to give a damn about how they're doing at school or in life, for that matter.
Of course, I'm naive and idealistic to think that I can help those boys, but I suppose newbies have to be that way, or there is no hope at all if we are all cynics right from the start. Oh, I do hope he comes to my office tomorrow.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Planting, Dancing and Bullying

It's raining now after two days of the most perfect spring weather. I managed to sew a lot of flower seeds as well as some peas and yellow string beans.
On Friday I bought Forsythia x intermedia "Lynwood Gold". The three naked branches leave a lot of room for imagination, and I hope it will grow thick and flower lavishly.
I did manage to finish the socks for Walter's dance recital on Saturday. This is how they turned out, I was rather pleased, even if the project was quite quick and easy.

The dance recital was great, and I couldn't be prouder since it was the first time I saw my child dancing with a proper dance club. I think even Ralph felt a bit envious watching his brother, but I doubt that will be enough to make him join the dance club as well.

I'm at school three days a week - Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. As luck would have it, both on Thursday and Friday "things happened" at school, and I've been thinking about bullying prevention and attendance problems for three days now. I have some sort of a plan in my head that I wish to implement, but I must admit, the task seems daunting.
This video might be a good start - at least to know which methods have been proven to be less than effective, and it is a nationwide problem that has not really been addressed on a national level in my country, so I need to put together my own materials, translating and adapting from strategies that have already been proven to work.

I do hope to make a difference, but I feel sooo new to all of this...

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Oh, Yes, It's All Good!

Yesterday was one of those days. One of those incredible days when everything just falls in its place. I went to school (to work with kids! And teachers! Yay!), I finished my practicum report, I drove to the city, I got there in record time, submitted the report and was back in my home town just two and a half hours later! I don't think I had to stop at any red lights, that was just unbelievable. I even managed to squeeze in some 10 minutes for the library, and I even got two books on autism and Asperger's that I had wanted to read for some time now. And I got back home, and everything went so smoothly I could not even believe it. A group-mate called and said she could help me find the clinical practicum for April-May, and I got hold of the would-be mentor at a crisis centre. She agreed to meet me on Tuesday, and I just can't wait!
Life is getting more and more hectic and busy, so it's easy not to notice that spring is here. But it is! And I'm sure many people would appreciate if their 3-minute walk to work looked like this.

Tonight I will relax with a wonderful knitting work - dancing socks for my son.
And tomorrow... and on Saturday... I will make sure to find some time for some gardening work! Oh, life is so good!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

First Day

The first school day is over, and what a day it was! It was a bit weird, looking through all the materials that the previous psychologist has left, reading the student files and getting to know so many of them...
Everything was new. Going to work in the morning was quite new, but taking a change of shoes with me to work was unprecedented. Learning the ropes, meeting the kids. Hugging some and reproaching some others. Even drying tears.
I really, really like it there. I didn't even want to leave. If I didn't have soooooo much to do (I need to hand in my practicum report tomorrow and translate three hour-long "Top Gear" episodes, and two episodes of a German police drama, and I have to drive to the city tomorrow to the University, and I need to finish knitting socks for my son's dance recital on Saturday, and I need to find someone - anyone! - to take me on for the second practicum.)
Life has never been more exciting and fun.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

A New Job! A Dream Job!

Yes, yes, yes, I've been accepted as the new psychologist in our local primary school!

I'm so happy! I'm doing the happy dance!

Wait, WHAT?!

I start on Tuesday and am feeling a bit jittery, a bit panicky... Happy, yes, but wow, how did that happen?!
I feel a bit like on the day I gave birth to my first-born and was both in awe and in shock about the matters of this world that was so incredibly irresponsible and thoughtless that it gave me this wonderful human being and did not even make laws on how warmly to dress it! I had to figure everything out myself! That was insane!
Yes, it's just like that right now as well.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Life-Changing Life Changes

If I'm allowed to wish for something (and I most certainly am), then I really, really, really hope that my potential internship mentor turns out to be my actual internship mentor. And I need to know that tomorrow.
I've done so much this year that I am quite amazed at myself and even consider patting myself on the back. I've done my school psychology internship (I still have to write the "report", though, and it's not going to be easy), I've learned so much, and I have even applied for a job at the local school. It's thanks to the economy and the fact that the psychology law is still in the making that I can do that at all. But I can, and I'm going to take advantage of the situation.
On Thursday I will sign a contract that will allow me to work and learn, and hopefully to do some good - albeit for absolute peanuts. But there are other perks - like a chance to be away from home (and the fridge - you work-from-home moms surely know what it's like. Or not.). I will have my own office!!! With furniture, books, file cabinets, folders and staples!!!
I will be one of the teaching staff!
I will be allowed to sit in the teachers' room during breaks! And to talk to actual teachers like I'm one of them! (This might be a bit naive, I know - a psychologist is never one of the teachers, she's more like "help".)
The first internship (or "school psychology practice") is over, and tomorrow I'm supposed to go to a clinical internship, watch a psychologist at work, do some testing and interviewing, and evaluating on my own (quite a lot, in fact - at least 80 hours), but I still don't know if I will be taken on or if I will have to look for another place rather frantically.
So, please, the Force, make that person pick up her phone tomorrow and tell me she's willing to take me and teach me, and work with me. Because I will be the best student ever, I swear I will. Or at least the best I can be.

Yeah! I'm a school psychologist!

Test and scramble, test and scramble...

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A Fitness Cult

I went to the BodyArt workout today - for the first time since New Year. For some reason I could never get to workouts during these two weeks - either they had been cancelled or the time had been changed, and I didn't know.
But I went there today, and the body had almost forgotten the movements that I thought it new by heart. Anyway, I felt such a high afterwards that I applied for a masterclass in a couple of weeks, a 3-hour-workout, 20 euros, in Riga. And I came home and told my husband that I really really really wanted to go to the BodyArt summer camp (220 euros).
- Wow, - he said. - That's a lot of money. Are you sure you're not in some religious cult?

Oh, I do hope I am. I want to be a part of that fitness cult so, so, so much...

(P.S. And also, last Friday in a counselling lecture the professor told us that it was actually the standard way of battling addictions - to replace them with socially acceptable addictions - most frequently sports and fitness. How I wish to get rid of that sugar addiction and replace it with workouts... What's keeping me from really doing it? If I only knew.)
(P.P.S. A psychotherapist whose group counselling I attended used to say, "But you do know. Don't say you don't. A person always knows.")

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

It's Winter, and It's Hard

I've gained weight. It's so hard to admit this, but I've beaten my PW (personal worst), and I really don't feel the resources needed to deal with this.

I'm almost done with the first semester of studies. I feel I'm well on my way to become a psychologist, but the real career and goals seem rather unattainable right now.

It's all due just to a couple of things that will be over by the end of this week, but for some reason they seem so hopelessly huge that I feel a bit helpless. I need to finish translating a book (Minecraft Blockopedia, no less!) (311 pages, no less!), I need to do three episodes of X Factor UK (and one of those is 98 minutes, hopeless, I know). And then there are two term-papers for school. Due this Saturday.

It seems I don't get to do the things I want to do, and partly that's because of the weather. It's winter, and the roads are just dreadful, there is no other word. They make me dread going anywhere. I got in a bit of an accident on the road a couple of weeks ago. No one was hurt, but I got so scared that I don't get any pleasure from driving any more. Just dread. And last Saturday I got pulled over by the police and had to pay 40 Euros for running the yellow light. (Yellow! And they even reprimanded me for driving so slowly, below the speed limit! That's a first for me.)

We're redecorating Walter's room, and by "us" I mean Arthur. I just provide the money. Lots of it.

I don't  feel the new year has begun. Just the opposite. I'm feeling old and stretched - like Bilbo Baggins in "LOTR".

Sort of stretched, like... butter scraped over too much bread. I need a holiday. A very long holiday. And I don't expect I shall return. In fact I mean not to. 

Yes, that's what I mean. I need to get rid of all things "Diana", and start anew. Afresh. 

This is what I saw yesterday. It's in the middle of a city, just by a highway. I envy this man so much. I want to be him.

See you tomorrow, I need to go to a Parents Board meeting at school. I have no idea what I'll be doing or (God forbid!) saying there.