I am a college graduate

Well, it is now official, I am a college graduate. I may not have been able to have a proper graduation but I am able to hold my diploma in my hands, and it’s an amazing feeling, I worked so hard for this.  I struggled so much over the years and because of issues with my mental and physical health, I spent almost 15 years trying to just get a two-year degree. And given the trauma of my brother’s death in middle school and how difficult high school was, I never imagined in a million years that I would have a college degree. In fact, a few weeks before graduating high school at my alternative school, I talked with a counselor and she asked me what my plans were and I told her I just wanted to get a job somewhere and earn a paycheck. She shook her head and asked about me going to college and I told her that I wasn’t sure about it at the moment, she shrugged her shoulders that was the end of the conversation, like at that moment we both gave up on me, college was out of the question.

I took a year off of school and worked at a Grocery store, bagging groceries. A year later, I started college and took a few classes but I wasn’t ready, I was in bad shape emotionally and physically,  I had to get up several times to use the restroom, I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the other students, I felt stupid and I didn’t understand the lectures so, I quit after a few weeks,  feeling like a total failure.

 

I gave up and found a minimum wage job ( one of many over the years) and worked for about three years, just trying to earn any money I could, my emotional and physical problems got significantly worse and it affected my job performance and I was treated poorly at every job I worked at. Finally, my physical difficulties became so bad, that I could no longer work and I forced to stay at home. During that time, I wanted to learn something so I taught myself Spanish by watching Spanish language television, listening to the radio, and reading my dad’s old books in Spanish.

Eventually, I decided that I should take a Spanish class at my local community class and I signed up, I also signed for an English writing course, I took a test and I was required to take a remedial English course to get me up to speed to a credited English course.  I remember the Spanish class well; it was a beginner’s course and I had already learned most of the language concepts. On the very first day of class, I met my teacher, she was pretty with curly hair and she said she was Cuban. My family is Cuban and I excitedly told her my family was Cuban, she looked unimpressed as if I was trying to brown-nose her. And when she heard me speak Spanish, she told me that I didn’t belong there, I belonged in a more advanced class, I didn’t complain.

When I took the English course, they had us write simple compositions about our favorite vacation or just creative writing, I enjoyed it, I didn’t see myself as a writer or have a passion for it yet. One day the teacher told us we could write about any topic we liked but had to have a 3 to a 4-page minimum. Well, I decided to write about the counterculture of the 1960s, a topic I knew a lot about since I watched every documentary I could on the subject.  A few days before the due date, I hadn’t written anything. I sat on my couch and started writing in a notebook every idea that came to my head, it was page after page. Eventually, I was able to mold that into a paper that spanned 10 pages, I just couldn’t stop writing. I turned it in, a few days later the professor talked me and said the dean was concerned because he thought I had plagiarized it but couldn’t prove it, I said sincerely that I didn’t, I just loved to write. The teacher said “I believe you” and handed me back my paper and like the other class, moved me to a credited college course immediately, it was one of the proudest moments of my life up to that point, I felt really smart. After those classes, I took another semester with two classes, I continued the English writing and Spanish courses, I did quite well, I was proud of myself.  As I was taking this class, my family was planning to move out of state, so I have to stay with my Aunt for a few weeks to finish my courses.

 

I moved to another city and took another year off to just get settled, I found another low paying job that I hated but, in my heart, I wanted to be back in school. After a year, I signed for classes here at the local community classes, I now had a school counselor and a set number of classes I needed to take. I started to branch out, I took a communications class and some other class I can’t remember, I did well in those classes, considering I was also working a job that was stressing me out at the time.  During my last year at this job, I missed a few semesters and just lost interest in school, I think my mental health was really deteriorating at this point. Sadly, my job was affecting my mental health so bad that I had a breakdown, I quit after 3 years and I was so distraught that I didn’t know what to do, I came home upset that I lost a job and I also liked a co-worker but she wasn’t interested, I was a mess. I was at one of the lowest points in my life and feeling hopeless. I was on Facebook and I saw a post from an old friend and they were now working with people with disabilities, I was impressed and I was also angry because I had disabilities and I was treated so poorly in the workplace, I wanted to do something to make a difference. I found a book with college programs, I was outside chain-smoking and I saw a program called “Human services technology developmental disabilities” And immediately I pointed at it and said to myself “I can do that”  I didn’t even hesitate.

A few weeks later, I signed for a few classes and I entered the program. I met with the man who was the chair of the program and he became my school counselor, he was kind and really believed in me ( sadly he no longer is working for the school anymore) He was teaching a lot of the classes I was in and I was excited to be there, I excelled, I loved the curriculum and I got good grades without even reading much, I was just interested in the classes, I wrote papers and loved the discussions we had. I especially loved when I had assignments where I had to interview people in the disabilities field, I got so much out of that. I was just proud that I was doing so well. I  was required to take a counseling course, which was the hardest class of them all, everyone feared this professor, she was tough. She would get upset at me if I wouldn’t follow the format of writing she expected. She would tell me that she didn’t care about the content, I didn’t follow her directions and I could do better. But once I was able to follow her format, she started to really like what I turned in and I was one of the few person’s that got A’s on her hardest papers; both required us to write over 10 pages, it was hard work but I love to write. I ended up getting an A in her class, I just jumped for joy.

 

After that semester, I had some financial troubles and I wasn’t working, my parents were retired and couldn’t help me much with paying for classes. Again, I had to stop classes and after a few months. I applied for a Pell grant, which basically gives low-income students an opportunity to finish school without worrying about finances, they paid my tuition and books, I even got money back at the end of the semester, it was a godsend. So, I was finally able to go back and get closer to getting my degree.

I took a few classes and began an internship program at a large agency in the area, it was a day support center where they had classes and art time for disabled adults. I was working at the time, so it was hard at first to get my hours. I really loved the clients and they loved me and I also got to know the support workers there, we got along well. I, however, did not like my supervisor, I could tell from the moment I walked in that she did not like me. I am not sure what it was about me but she had this disdain, she looked annoyed every time I would ask her a question, she never gave me direction, so I ended not doing much except helping teach the classes and interacting with the students, I felt frustrated because I didn’t know what to do unless someone took the time to show me what they needed. I finished my first round of internship and passed but I wasn’t happy and neither was she, I questioned whether or not I belonged in this field.

As time went on, I continued my classes, I slowly but surely got closer to my degree, but one thing was bothering me, I have a learning disability in math and I had been avoiding it until the very end, I knew it would be difficult. I finally had to take a remedial math course and it was this large computer room ( like you see in a library) with a station with 5 or 6 computers attached. The course was done in class and online, I was not allowed to use a calculator and I got so frustrated, I’d go home and just want to scream, I didn’t get it. After a week, I walked out, totally distraught, and thinking that I could never pass. The next semester, I tried again and passed the first remedial course. Oh, and the course was only for 4 weeks at a time, which didn’t give me the time I needed to learn and that only added to the frustration.

Before I took this next math course, I talked to someone at the disability department about getting accommodations, I qualified and was able to have a student write their notes for me, I was able to have more test time and to take it at the learning center instead of the class, I felt like this could help me pass. I was also feeling like I could pass this next math course because I heard that I could use a calculator, that was my main issue, simple arithmetic was holding me back and I could figure everything out if I just had a calculator. It turned out that I could use a calculator only if I passed the first test.  When I attended my first class, I was so lost and I kept looking at the girl next to me, she was so much farther along than me and I felt so dumb, I’d asked the teacher assistant a question and she’d explain it and I still wouldn’t get it, I’d ask again and could tell she was annoyed. I had it, I was cursing underneath my breath, I angrily threw my stuff into my bag and walked out. I called my mom and told her that I couldn’t do this, I felt like an idiot and I was never going to pass, I felt so bad at that time and hopeless. I talked to my counselor after and she explained to me that the class required no calculators and there was nothing she could do about it.

At the time I had started volunteering at a Christian organization for adults with developmental disabilities and I was telling the woman in charge about the issues I was having and she offered to help, there was also a parent of one of the disabled adults and she would sit down with me and go over the math problems and explain it slowly so I could understand, she was kind.  Also being there had given me the confidence I had lost while I was at the internship, volunteering I felt valued and loved and knew that I was capable of being in this field if I had the right guidance and people who cared.

I ended up having my mom come with me and explain to the counselor the difficulties I was having and how I was at a disadvantage because the trauma of losing my brother really affected my education in high school ( and that was the truth)  I asked if I could waive the math course and she said that usually never happens unless it were extenuating circumstances. She mentioned that the school might offer the option of substituting a class but it would be in science, I was concerned since I was not good at science either and had dropped out of a few of those classes over the years. She said substitution was also rare and I shouldn’t get my hopes up. I walked out feeling somewhat disappointed because this was my last resort and I didn’t get a solid answer but we did request that the class be substituted, I was told that it would take some time for a decision to be made.

 

A few months passed and I heard nothing, I contacted the school several times and didn’t get an answer, I was ready to give up at this point. I finally got an email from my disability counselor and said that they were looking over the decision and I’d know soon, I knew in my heart that it would be denied, I’d never pass this course and get my degree, after all those years of hard work. I was thinking of trying to find another community college to finish up at and see if they could waive this math course, sadly, I was told that it was a state requirement. My last resort was to write a letter to the state board and keep going higher up until I got an answer. One day, I was checking my school email and I saw something from school with the subject “Class substitution ‘  I was nervous and opened the email, it stated that the substitution HAD been approved and they were offering astronomy. I literally screamed for joy and jumped out of my seat. I didn’t know a thing about astronomy but I knew that it was better than math and I had a chance of passing.

 

I quickly signed up and attended class in the fall. I was concerned though that I might not do well but the first class, I enjoyed the lecture and the teacher was really cool. It was both an in-class lecture and online work, that was ok with me. But the best part was yet to come, the professor mentioned that we did have in-class quizzes and exams. When the exams came, he surprised us and said that the exam was online with open notes, everyone was relieved. I ended up passing with flying colors, my heart soared because I knew that I was going to do good in this class. The next exam came and I studied so hard, I made flashcards, I got notes from the professor ( like in the math class), I just focused on that one class. And to my surprise, the next exam was online as well. Most classes never allow exams online so I was ecstatic. It turned out all the work online and I was able to eventually pass.  The last day of class, I was on top of the world, I knew I passed and it was like a huge boulder had been lifted off my shoulders and I could finally rest easy, it was over, I had gotten my degree

After struggling on and off for 15 years and when I saw that I got an A, that was the proudest moment of my life. Me, someone who struggled so much in his life, someone who made to feel he was stupid and not good enough, finally got a college degree, I was a college graduate at last. I never thought this would happen. I never thought it would happen when I was an 18-year-old kid in that class with that counselor, I was just happy to be out of high school. I didn’t think it would happen when I was working low paying jobs, treated like garbage every day, and sick to my stomach. I didn’t think it would happen when I couldn’t solve a simple math problem ( that a child could solve) and I felt so stupid. But it did happen and it could happen to me, I could happen to anyone. If you want something in your life, you have to work hard with every fiber of your being for it, you have to picture it in your mind and never stop until you reach that goal. You can struggle but never ever give up, that is one thing I learned from this whole experience. I am a walking miracle and I hope somebody can read this and be inspired to achieve their dreams just like I did.

 

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Life update

It has been such a long time since I have written an update. I am sorry, my advocacy on social media takes up so much of my energy. I have connected with hundreds of people in so many positive ways, I am amazed actually.  I have been doing Facebook lives and I created a mental health group on there and it is flourishing. I am now flooded with messages and comments and it so difficult to keep up and I just haven’t had time to blog but very good things are happening.

I wrote earlier about trying to get a substitution for the required math class which was the only class I had left. I fought the school and pushed for them to either waive the class or give me a substation, I wasn’t optimistic I’d get either. I have a learning disability in math and I failed the course three times even with accommodations, I was hopeless and thought I’d never get my degree. But low and behold, after several meetings, I got a notice that they were going to substitute my math class with Astronomy, no equations or multiplication, heck yeah.  It was a miracle and a prayer answered. And not only did they substitute my class, but I also have the scholarship to help me finish school, my books and tuition are paid for, by the grace of God.

 

So today was my first class and I was anxious because I have had such difficulties the last few semesters, but I went and got through it. The teacher seemed really nice and the classroom is small plus I was able to get the accommodations I need from disability services. I just know I am going to have to really focus and study this semester, this is it, the last hurray and I really want this degree, I don’t want to piss it away, so I have to be determined and I’m going to study my ass off, that’s what I’ll do.  I am just so proud that I have come this far, I never thought in a million years that I’d be this close to a college degree but here I am, a goal realized.

Like I stated earlier, my advocacy has really grown by leaps and bounds, I am reaching more people than I could have ever imagined. I am connected with therapists. Authors, therapists, advocates, entrepreneurs and through networking, my mental health advocacy is growing every day and I feel I am making a huge difference. I have hundreds of people tell me how my words have resonated with them and I am so humbled.  I even am going to be on a mental health podcast and possibly volunteer for a mental health radio show including being a guest, I mean it’s crazy, this wasn’t even possible 4 or 5 months and here I am., I couldn’t be more optimistic.

My volunteer work has also been going well but I won’t be able to help as much because I have school on those days but I will see them at church and will visit when I can, I am so incredibly grateful for all the wonderful things happening in my life at the moment, I pray it continues. And I am going to make more of an effort to update my blog. Thank you as always for listening.

 

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Getting my college degree

Things are so good right now; I can’t believe it.  Well earlier, I had made a post about how I was struggling with my math class at college, it was the only class keeping me from graduating.  I have a learning disability in math, which doesn’t mean I am stupid or that I don’t try hard enough ( For those who judge me), it means that my brain is not wired to understand math concepts. It’s similar to someone who has dyslexia and struggles with reading the most basic things. In fact, I am not ashamed of my disabilities, they make me who I am and I use my experience to help others.

 

Anyways earlier I had to drop out of my developmental math class, I just didn’t get it despite my best efforts. I had actually taken the course multiple times and it caused so much emotional distress that I couldn’t sleep at night, I was having angry outbursts and anxiety attacks, I was in bad shape. I assume a lot of people with learning disabilities deal with frustration. People without learning disabilities fail to understand that we try really hard and the issue is not that we are lazy or dumb, it’s just that we learn differently and the traditional way of the classroom doesn’t work for us. We need to find our own system of learning; we all have our own learning styles and learn at our own pace.

 

So, we require accommodations, which can include longer tests times, testing in a quieter space, extra tutoring, frequent breaks. I had talked to a disability counselor prior and I had all my documentation, which had al long history of learning disabilities and emotional issues that impeded my learning, including the trauma of losing my brother to suicide when I was 14.  So, I was given the accommodations and even with that in place and putting all my energy into studying, I failed my midterm even though it was an open book quiz, I was so frustrated.

 

I was also fortunate  to volunteer with a disabled ministry at church and the lady who created the group offered to find me a tutor and some other people looked at my math with me. I am so blessed to have so many people who support and care about me, people who take a vested interest in my life. I don’t know where I would be without this support

 

My mom and I decided to have a meeting with the disability counselor, we brought all the documentation and discussed the issues I had with math particularly the fact that I went to 5 or 6 alternative schools while dealing with the death of my brother.  The meeting went well I asked for them to either waive the class or give me a substitution but she is insinuated that a substitution was very rare, so I wasn’t very optimistic when I left the meeting.

 

I was told that I would be contacted about the school’s decision. I waited and waited and heard nothing. So, a week later I emailed the counselor and she told me she had sent everything to her boss and I would receive a call or email. Again, I waited 2 weeks and heard nothing so I was losing hope. I mean, all of that hard work and it was a brick wall.  I felt like my dreams were crumbling. It just seems like there are so many obstacles and its hard not to want to give up sometimes.

My mom who is my best advocate wrote a letter on my behalf, asking what the hold up was.  And before anyone makes a judgement, I am so grateful that my mom advocates for me. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to confront people or seem pushy and she is really good at fighting for me and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.  She was able to get their attention when I couldn’t.

 

Almost immediately, we got a response saying that the substitution had been approved, I couldn’t believe it, I was  so excited because I thought it would never happen. I wasn’t expecting for them to approve it. I am going to take astronomy and that is much easier for me than math. It will require studying but I know I can pass this. It also means I will finally have a college degree, a life long dream of mine. I couldn’t have imagined this 10 years ago when I was struggling so much.

 

The lesson I learned from all of this was preservice, never giving up, and to have faith.  I thought about God an how he is always working in my life and always answers my prayers.  It’s funny because I am assisting a special needs Sunday school and the theme this week was perservance and not giving up, I mean how much clearer could God’s message  to me be?

 

I also find it interesting that at this time, I would get a troll, saying that I was stupid and lazy and couldn’t even pass a math course and this miracle happened immediately after. Like the devil trying to trip you up or something.  Things happen for a reason and this troll attempt only gave me confidence and got me more connected with others and propelled me to write even further. So, I am grateful for the troll comments, gives me motivation.

 

So, I wanted to share the wonderful news with you and to thank you for all of your support. I will keep everyone updated

 

 

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Volunteering again

Today was such a great day; I started up volunteering again with the disabled ministry; after losing my job and feeling rejected I really needed this. As usual it went great; they were so happy to see me and I missed them so much.  I have written about it several times I love this ministry. The disabled ministry is a Christian organization through the church I attend.  They do bible study, do community works and go on trips; it such a wonderful organization.  On Thursdays they help serve lunch at church to those in community; it’s incredible. The volunteers and young adults all set up, prepare food and serve an average of 80-120 people; and it’s run very well.  So anyways I showed up and apparently they are taking a trip to Disney World; which makes me smile because I know they are going to have the time of their lives.  The young adults kept asking me why I couldn’t make the trip; it’s hard for them to understand that I have no money coming in and therefore no trip.  To be honest; it less about me and more about them having a good time.   It just made me smile to know they were so excited about this trip; they deserve to have fun. And they are some of the kindest sweetest people you are ever going to meet.  My main job is to help this young man dry dishes while he washes; we are a great team; we joke around a lot and just have fun; sometimes I just as unfocused as he is; which I guess is sort of a problem but I am working on getting us both on task. Overall this is really good for me and I have grown to care deeply for the young adults ( and their parents), the volunteers,  and the leaders; almost like an extended family.

We finished and I sat down to eat and sat by this woman who was a parent of one of the young adults who  says she likes to write; she’s really smart and wise and has a lot to say. Every time I see her; I ask her how writing is going and she gives me a big smile; I love it. Anyways I was talking to her mom about losing my job and how I was happy to be back. But I was also excited to be getting this scholarship to finish my degree. Then we started talking about writing and I was telling how therapeutic it was for me and how I’m connected with all these writers on my blog and Instagram.  She was telling me how important it was for me to tell my story because it gets other people to open up. And also when we write; we realize that others feel just as we do; we’re not alone; it was a lovely conversation; I usually don’t get a chance to have conversations that like much; which is an incentive to continue to be part of this group.   I just so feel so blessed right now to be back volunteering and giving my time to help others. I just wanted to share this joy with you today.

Thanks for listening,

Dave

 

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What I am listening to at this very moment

Things are getting better

Anyone who has been reading my posts knows that I’ve been struggling since the loss of my job and feeling depressed with nothing to do.  I managed to get this woman’s number at work and we texted a few times but soon after; she just stopped responding and I felt rejected. It has happened so many times that it was just a sad deja vu; it just reminded of all my dating failures; I just can’t connect and it hurts really bad.  A few days ago during a windy storm; the power went out in the middle of the night and the house was pitch black. I stumbled through the dark; trying to find the light ( a metaphor perhaps) and I had nothing to do but to sit in the dark. I thought about being unemployed, trying to go back to school, what to do with all this free time, why this girl I hardly knew wasn’t interested in talking to me.  I felt the need to just pray at that moment and ask God for guidance ; when I am at my lowest point I always turn to him. I know a lot of people aren’t religious and I respect other people’s beliefs but God is a big part of my life.  I don’t use religion to judge others or moralize; I use my faith in God to have compassion and love for everyone; especially those with disabilities and the downtrodden.

Anyways I decided that I couldn’t sit in the dark all night so I went to Walmart to buy some candles in the middle of the night; it was scary, the traffic lights by my streets were off; so it was really dangerous.  What’s even crazier is that the next traffic lights worked and all the business’s were lit so it seemed like our neighborhood was the only place in the area out of power.  After Walmart; I just drove around; trying to charge my phone and just thinking; it was eerie; no cars on the road and I was trying to think about the direction I was going in my life; alone; just total loneliness.   I drove almost to where my college was ( about 30 mins); sat in a parking lot and sat for a few minutes and drove back home.  I got back to my neighborhood and to my relief the power was back on; I could finally get to sleep.  I had planned to go to bed earlier but all the stress kept me up plus I cannot sleep in complete darkness or without my air cleaner.

When I got home, I wrote a poem about rejection and went to bed.  The next day I got a message from a fellow writer on Instagram; she tweeted my poem and suggested I joined Twitter. I was weary because of all the political bullshit and bullying but I found she was part of a really positive writing community and through the pain of writing ; I found a lot of support; which is what I needed. So things happen for a reason.  I can use twitter to find support, support others and promote my writing; what a blessing.  In fact all of my social media has been growing; I am getting constant supportive messages and comments and connecting with so many writers and disability advocates; it’s been amazing. So while I felt low; all that support made the difference; I realize that that girl not liking me is pretty insignificant compared to all the people I’m reaching with my writing; I don’t have to feel alone  anymore; I have thousands of people i can reach out to; that sounds amazing when I think about; surreal; it’s hard for me to wrap my head around it. I even found out about this writers group in the area through Instagram and I will try to attend this weekend; I hope to meet fellow writers and creative people.

I also got an email this week from my college; stating that since I only had a few classes to graduate that they were offering me a full scholarship; they’d pay for my class,books and any other fees. It couldn’t be real so I met up with someone today and he confirmed it; all I have to do is sign up. I am beyond excited and blessed right now; school is so important to me. God is handing me all these opportunities and I don’t know how to express my gratitude.   I just can’t wait to be able to call myself a college graduate and get a job in the disability field; it’s my passion.  So even though my job didn’t work out; it opened to the door to this great opportunity and I am going to take it.  I think God has a calling for me and this is it. Oh and speaking of that; I am going back to volunteering with the disabled ministry this week; I missed them so much and I am sure they’ll be happy to see me. I went to church on Christmas eve and one of the young adults was there; she was excited to tell me about everything I missed.  All those young adults make my day; they are all so kind and sweet and just wonderful people who I refuse to define based on their disabilities.  So yes, things are getting much better. All I had to do was ask God for help and have faith he would take care of me and he is., I thank all of you for your wonderful support. This blog is my life at this point; I cherish it and I will continue to blog and update everyone on how I am doing.

Thanks for listening,

Dave

 

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My thoughts on social media ( video)

Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting with others but it also causes a lot of anxiety, depression and we end up comparing ourselves to others. And I find myself believing the highlight reels when I know in the back of my mind; it’s not reality. So social media is great when it’s used in the right way and used in moderation. What do you think?

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I hate the sound of my own voice

Have you ever made a video or heard yourself on tape and said to yourself “I sound like that, really?) I think most people here see themselves and recognize how different they sound when they hear their own voice recorded; and it never sounds good to them. I just started making videos because I want to express myself to my follower not just with text but so that you can hear how I feel in my own words on video; I am trying to gain confidence and the more videos I make; the more comfortable I become. At the same time ; I am very self conscious of my voice and mannerisms; my voice is very feminine and I have a slight speech impediment from childhood; I hate it. I know you shouldn’t hate parts of yourself but I wish I sounded like other guys; I really struggle with being too sensitive and how I am perceived by others. I am not fishing for compliments but am just expressing my anxiety in seeing myself on camera.

But a lot of people are camera shy and I am finding that I am a work in progress; I am just proud of myself. I am learning how to be more comfortable in social situations; I have actually started having conversations on the phone ( which is really tough for me) and now I am making video; I am pushing myself and I hope that it will all be worth it; to reach out to others and make a difference with my story.

Edit- As I was writing this; one of my friends from childhood asked if she could share my videos about disabilities with her students and other schools. I am so honored that someone thought enough about me that she thinks my videos could help young people; amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

Job update

I have not written a full blog post in quite awhile; I have been focusing on making videos; and it seems that the more I see myself on video; the more confident I become being on camera; I am learning how to speak clearer and slower and just be calmer while I am making the video and I appreciate all the likes on comments on the videos because I am pretty self conscious and making videos for me creates anxiety; so those videos are me facing my fears. I also lost the internet for 3 days either due to the snow storm or the fact that Spectrum has terrible customer service and doesn’t care enough about their customers to promptly fix their internet; but that’s off the subject.  I didn’t have the chance to write much but my wifi is back and I wanted to update everyone on how my new job  is going. Oh yes, and having a new hectic schedule has kept me from updating my blog as much as I’d like but hey this job is more important at the end of the day.

Anyways, how is my job going.   Well it’s been a bit bumpy; like I think more new jobs are but I am improving and feeling more confident.  I work in the front end; assisting the cashiers by loading carts and putting back go backs; I also gather carts; pick up trash etc; I like my job; actually.  There are moments when I get frustrated or anxious but my stomach isn’t in knots and I don’t feel like pulling out my hair. I get along well with all of my supervisors and most of my coworkers; I try to be friendly; I say hi to everyone and smile and ask them how their day is going and a lot of people seem genuinely nice; which is something I rarely have experienced in my previous job. I also enjoy talking with the customers and most of them are also nice.  I try to work hard and at a fast pace and just be the best worker I can be.

About a week ago I was asked if I was comfortable moving to the bakery; I was a little concerned because I thought they were transferring me because I was doing a bad job at front end but then I found out another guy; who was with me in orientation was also moving there and I felt a little better about it. A lot of people told me how hard the bakery is and how tough  they are. I have worked 2 or 3 days and so far I actually prefer it. I like to be away from the crowds and being watched the whole time; it just makes me nervous; even if I’m doing good. I am in my own space and I am not bombarded by noise from people; although the machinery is really loud; we have ovens that beep really loud and huge fans that go the whole shift and a big washing machine; just a different kind of noise.  I will mostly be setting up for the next day and cleaning.  Set up is pretty simple; you take the frozen premade goods; place them on a rack and you throw it in the oven; pretty simple. After that we take the dirty pans; throw them into the washer and the rest is like washing dishes and cleaning and drying the floor.  I also degreased a huge walk in oven yesterday; which was pretty cool.  And so far I like the people in the bakery; they seem chill.  The bakery  manager seems easy going and the guy who was training me yesterday seemed nice and was patient. Although I sort of felt he was talking to me as if I was stupid but maybe I am just hyper sensitive about those things.  Today I mostly worked with this young girl and she was pretty nice too; we did some huge cookie orders. And I found the more I did the task; the more confident I became and I can work quicker. I was actually end of the break room towards the end of my shift and I was talk to one of the cashiers and told her they moved me to the bakery.  She sort of chuckled; like she knew how rough it was. But she told that moving me there was a good thing. If I show them how hard of a worker I am; they might keep me ( because I am seasonal) and that was exciting news; I am determined to the best I can because I really want this job.

The main problem I have is that I am just slower than others and learning disabled; I process things differently and it takes me longer to learn. I also get more mentally exhausted than most; due to all of the noise and activity of Costco; it is a very busy place; I have never worked in a place like this. The one thing I noticed is that is non-stop at Costco; from the moment I walk in until I punch out; I am constantly on the go; I don’t slack and I never see anyone slacking; which again is a first.  Right now I am so tired but also proud of myself; I am doing really well overall

Yesterday I had a 30 day review and they had some good things to say and noted some ways of improving.   They said that they could see that I was a really hard worker and I maintained the outside well, got along with my co-workers and customers. I come in on time and haven’t called out and I act professional; good things.  They noticed that I wasn’t moving quick enough and part of that is that I was sick for quite awhile and I am just getting over my cold but I am slower and I am going to work on just having a “sense of urgency; as they call it.  They also said I engaged in idle chit-chat; which means I have conversations just standing there; which is not something I noticed. Maybe I did that and didn’t realize it; like talking to the cashier and not engaging with the customer; which is surprising to me because  I am always chatting with customers and asking if they need help.  I had a review with two supervisors and one of them said they had no problem with me; and even though I thought that was good; I also said to myself ” does that mean other supervisors DO have a problem with me”  That old anxiety.   But they also said that everyday I was improving. At the end one of the supervisors said that there was a new store opening and there would be some vacant spots at the Costco I am; they might call me in March; which is semi optimistic; I guess. I just knew that they wouldn’t keep me at the point but you never know.

I just pray to God that whatever happens; he’ll protect me. I am fortunate that I have family and friends who are real supportive and are rooting for me; that makes a huge difference.  I am just a real determined person and I refuse to give up or let my anxiety get the best of me.   I am blessed to be at this job right now and out of Sears and getting paid so much; I have nothing but gratitude. And whatever happens happens; it’s all in God’s plan at this point. With that I bid you a good night.

Thanks for listening

Dave