…and the rewards that come with it

In my previous article, I mentioned the challenges of being a professional caregiver. Now, I will be discussing how rewarding being a professional caregiver is. In the midst of all the ups and downs as a professional caregiver, I was able to work on my personal development. Since certain clients tried to take advantage of me, I had to set boundaries. Setting boundaries allowed me to gain self-confidence. Another factor that contributed to my self-confidence was the fact that I had to advocate for my clients. As I advocated, I interacted with social workers, health care professionals, and institutions. Because of the interactions, I was also able enhance my articulation.

In addition to being a professional caregiver, I am also a full-time student. This enabled me to gain another reward, which is developing time management skills. I must admit that there were many times when I wanted to crack. Sometimes I had the chance to brush up on homework at work, but if my client ever wanted to go outside for a walk, I was screwed. At those moments I was so frustrated and couldn’t wait to get back indoors. Okay, maybe I was being selfish. I mean I was there to work and not to do homework, so I reminded myself multiple times that it’s not about me, rather it’s about my client. I still struggle with these two commitments, I definitely don’t have it all figured out. I practically stay up till midnight studying and reading, which gives me five hours of sleep. The thoughts that races through my head almost every single day is “oh my goodness, why are you doing all of this…you are killing yourself.” I oftentimes wish that I did not have to work but how will I support myself?

As a Sociology student, I focus on theories and the population at large, as a professional caregiver, I help individuals who may have chronic illnesses, mental health issues, and physical disabilities. I also assist the elderly. Although, in my perspective, these two commitments seem different from one another, I have thought it out and I realized that they connect in a few ways. The connection exist because I have learned so much about society and how it operates. For example, I have learned that certain populations struggle to obtain resources such as food and shelter, which results in depression and anger. I took a Sociology course last year that touched base on the elderly population. It was interesting to learn that many of the elderly feel isolated. Due to this isolation, the elderly are more likely to move in with a family member. I also learned the concept of ageism and I see how my clients challenge with that. This usually occurs when strangers state offensive comments pertaining to age such as “move old man.” Thanks to my knowledge, I understand why such situations occur and I know how to respond to them.

Aside from those two commitments, I have a wonderful social life. I have friends that I truly love to spend time with. But since I have such a tight schedule, I hardly have the time to see them. Many of my friends are college graduates, so they have a lot more time to hangout on the weekends than I do. Whenever I get invited out, I just cannot make it with the overwhelming schoolwork that I receive. However, I do make it to special occasions such as birthdays and big celebrations.

During my commute from work to school, I map out in my what readings and assignments should be done next. Then I note it in my phone. If I’m lucky enough to get a seat on the train, I take naps, which gives me a boost.  Being a full-time student and a professional caregiver is a double-duty. I must say that it is not easy at all but I’m sticking it out.

Written by Guest Author
The Caregiver Space accepts contributions from experts for The Caregiver's Toolbox and provides a platform for all caregivers in Caregiver Stories. Please read our author guidelines for more information and use our contact form to submit guest articles.

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