Summer So Far

Last week had some major highlights. Monday I had the opportunity to speak briefly with one of my professor’s after class, I wanted to make him aware of my name change so when it changed on his roster he was prepared. After letting him know he asked me how I felt about the class so far, I told him I was enjoying it. He leaned in knowingly and said he watches my face and can see my reactions as classmates share.

I was mortified. I wasn’t really sure where he was going with this. I felt the need to explain myself but in truth I was not aware I was doing anything observable in the first place. I admitted sometimes I felt triggered by what some of my classmates say, like the person who completely misgendered a transwoman. I told him I am not judging the person sharing, I understand we are all at different levels of understanding, but that some of what is said is still a bit cringe worthy and I guess I don’t have a great poker face.

He laughed and told me I was okay. He seemed to be impressed by me and my level of cultural competency so far, although I still feel I have a lot to learn. I got the impression that he is keeping an eye on me and that is maybe a good thing.

Tuesday myself and three classmates met with some school leaders at a local high school to discuss a partnership our class is proposing for the summer. The meeting went well, it was eye opening and I am very excited about working with the school this summer on our class project which involves fundraising and a supply drive for the school.

Wednesday my classmate and I met withthe director of the entire social work program to discuss our community assessment paper and our proposed next steps in the community. She was very impressed with the work our group did in a short period of time and is supportive of our continued efforts in the community. She asked our permission to share our paper with the Dean of the COHPA (which is the name of our college at the university) as well as the directors of all of the other programs in the COHPA.

When my classmate and I left the meeting we were dumbstruck. We could barely form sentences. We did not expect our paper to go this far. It would have been very easy to get lost in the excitement of all of this but we agreed that we had to keep focus. We are not doing this work to gain accolades at school, we doing this work because we felt it was the right thing to do and we have to remain focused on the task at hand, continuing our work in the community.

Now that we have met with the director and gotten some feedback about our paper we have agreed it is time to reach out to the local senator and request a meeting.

In the interim there is a event coming up towards the middle of the month that my classmate and I are excited to attend. It is a play that was written by the senator  about the history of voting rights for African Americans in Orlando. Coincidentally it is being performed at the high school we are working with this summer on the supply drive.

Aside from school things are going well at Hospice. I love my new role in the bereavement department. I am enjoying making the one year follow up phone calls. The opportunity to engage with family members and listen to their stories feels meaningful to me.

I am excited going into this week. The end of the week is the NASW conference and I am a volunteer. I have not been given my job assignments yet but in training last week it was made clear that almost everyone will be responsible for introducing a workshop presenter. As of tomorrow I should my assignments so I will know for sure what I will be dong. This is my first conference and I am looking forward to all the information it will give me access to. While I am a volunteer I also get to attend the workshops. The majority of workshops I signed up for deal either with end-of-life topics or ethics (my two favorite areas). I am sure I will have much to report by the end of next weekend.

This weekend Todd and I joined my family on a mini vacation to the beach. The skies were clear and the ocean was warm and we even managed to make it through the afternoon without being hit by one of Florida’s trademark summer thunderstorms. The beach we stayed at is the same beach Todd proposed at two years ago so this vacation was an opportunity for us to reminiscence as well. We had a some alone time talking over pre-dinner drinks on the nearby pier then when had a nice dinner with my family. After dinner we swam in the ocean and watched the sunset, we got a stunning sunset. Isaac kept saying “isn’t the sky beautiful”.

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It has definitely been a busy summer so far but there have been plenty opportunities to step back and enjoy time family/friends and Todd as well.


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