I always enjoy seeing these posts in other blogs that I read, so I thought it might be fun to take all of you through what a typical work day for me looks like right now. I chronicled my day this past Wednesday, January 24th, just to give some context to the rest of this post.
I will say…it’s busy. Very busy. So you might want to grab a drink or a snack before you go through this because….my days are packed, all the time.
As a little background, in case you don’t know what I do with my life: Along with maintaining this blog I am a High School Counselor in my 9-5 (well more like 7:30-3:30, on good days) existence. I work right outside of DC, in Rockville Maryland, at an all girls catholic high school. It’s a challenging profession to be in especially as the state of education changes constantly, but I absolutely love what I do.
Because of the nature of my job, there’s a lot of aspects of my day that I can’t readily share for privacy reasons but you can still get a pretty good idea of a typical day for me from what you can see.
A perk of Devon and I being in the same profession is that we have almost identical schedules. For mornings, it’s nice because it means we get up at the same time, so we don’t have to worry about someone waking up earlier and disturbing the later riser.
We both wake up at 5:30am every morning; today being no different. Neither of us are particularly chatty in the morning so most of the time our morning routines are spent in silence just trying to wake up and get ready for the day. At this point in the year, we have our morning routines down pat and there is usually very little deviation from them.
As soon as I wake up, I go into the bathroom to do my skincare routine (and normal morning bathroom things) so that it can have a little bit of time to really soak into my skin before I do my makeup. Then I head back into my bedroom to get dressed for the day and make the bed (aka just straighten out the comforter so it’s not in a ball at the end of the bed).
Doing all of that usually gives Devon time to get washed up in the bathroom so that by the time he’s done, I’m ready to head back in and do my hair and makeup. I keep it all pretty basic for work, so both things take me 15 minutes, max most days.
By this point, it’s time to fill my tumbler with ice and water for the day, throw on a cute scarf and my coat and head out the door. (And yes, Devon and I also leave at the same time every morning).
I always try to leave for work between 6:30-6:40 since it takes me so long to get there and I want to have a little time to gather myself before students come in. We don’t have to be in the building until 7:30 but I’m almost always there by 7:15.
As any other day in the life of a school counselor, my day is filled with meetings with students about various things (like why they have a D three weeks into the semester, why having a fight with their best friend isn’t the end of the world or their friendship, looking at possible schedules for next year, talking about college and their futures and sometimes just general “omg, hi, I haven’t seen you in a week, how are you living” chats) as well as some chats with other faculty members about some of our lovely girls and an occasional parent convo about the same lovely girls.
This particular morning I HAD to be in the building by 7:15am because School Counseling (one of my departments) and College Counseling were co-hosting a breakfast for the sophomore parents to introduce them to the College Counseling Department; and the breakfast started at 7:15.
I also had to talk for a few minutes in front of a large group of people, which I don’t like.
So, I arrived in the nick of time and then I had to speak for a few minutes to a room of about 60 parents. This morning is already stressful. Then I had to dash out at 8am for a parent meeting with administration.
I already need a nap by 9am.
Not possible, however.
Around 9:30am when I do finally make it to my office for the first time since my arrival at 7:15am, I have a student crying that I need to calm, two parent phone calls to return and more student scheduled check-ins. Not to mention the mountain of emails that I see but have not had the chance to deal with yet. Those will be dealt with eventually.
There are many days that I don’t stop and actually eat my lunch, calmly, like a normal person. More often than not, I’m eating it at my desk, over my computer, or while talking one of my students through some major life crisis.
Today, though, I felt that I deserved 15 minutes of adult time and went downstairs to the faculty room to eat. It’s nice to catch up with some of my co-workers from time to time. I had lunch with our athletic trainer, our admissions department, and our school nurse. Eclectic little group and just enough adult interaction to get me back upstairs to finish my afternoon.
(Adult interaction was so nice I didn’t even get a picture like I had intended.)
After lunch the school department met to talk about a club we’ve been “asked” (my fellow educators can read between the lines) to implement this semester regarding mental health awareness. That meeting was cut short, as most are, when one of the other counselors had to go take care of a student emergency.
It was around 1:45 that I finally attempted to read my emails, look over next year’s course catalog so that we could start registration next week, schedule appointments for the next day and catch up with my Resource Program partner (along with being in the School Counseling Department, I’m also the counselor for the Learning Differences program -hence why I am in two departments) that I had actually yet to see all day despite our offices being across the hall from each other.
Dismissal is at 2:45 and is usually rather chaotic. My office usually has about 10 people in it (not including me) and is filled with students either asking random questions, telling me something that happened that can’t wait until the next day, or just asking if they can dig into my Smarties jar (I do keep a jar of Smarties in my office, I find it hilarious).
Normally, I’m a bit more relaxed with this many people, but today is a faculty meeting day. So, I’m answering questions quickly and ushering those “just chillin” out so that I can get downstairs by 3:00. Don’t worry I’m nice about it, and they are high schoolers, so they can take a hint, for the most part.
Before I worked here, I didn’t know faculty meetings could last an hour. Most of mine typically were about 30-45 minutes before. Ours here are an hour on a slow day. And of course half of the meeting is talking about course registration (which as a counselor, we already have engrained in our brains so much that we dream about it night) so I am riding the struggle bus hard here. Luckily they provide snacks and caffeine, so that will keep me at least looking awake while everyone asks 1,089 questions. Some of these people have been here 20 years, they should know these answers by now.
(By the way, I haven’t finished responding to emails yet.)
On a really REALLY good day, I can sneak out by 3:30; which is great because I won’t hit any traffic going home. On a good day I leave around 4:00, so traffic is fine, but getting a little congested.
Then there are the days I leave at 4:30….
I don’t like these days.
So, I didn’t get home until about 5:30.
I mentioned I made it to school by 7:15 this morning for breakfast, right?
Devon had already been home for about an hour since Wednesdays are a bit lighter for him, so he was playing…something on PS4 when I walked in. He also greets me with “It’s about damn time you got home” (don’t worry he was being his normal sarcastic self).
I gave him side eye while throwing my things on the couch and proclaiming the faculty meetings are really just exercises mental fitness.
I quickly shower and put my PJs on because regular clothes are overrated at home.
Around 6:00pm I finally get to sit down to a “gourmet dinner” because…long days mean I just want food but don’t really feel like making anything. Plus….it IS gluten-free…yay…. And when I say “sit down”, I mean on the couch; there’s nothing fancy here. It’s basically just Devon and I hanging out in the living room regaling each other with random stores of hilarity or annoyance from the day.
We cue up the DVR to watch the Chopped episode we recorded the night before and The Young and The Restless episode from earlier that afternoon. Tonight we’re feeling rather rebellious against sleeping, so we also watch the Jeopardy episode from earlier that evening.
While doing all of that, I’m on my computer, attempting to respond to some of the emails that were ignored earlier and check out the blog post I’m publishing tomorrow morning. Really making it a priority to focus on my blog content on weekends has made this so much easier. Before I would have created an entire post the evening before I published, which would have meant an even longer evening for me today. A little social media perusing thrown in there and by the time Jeopardy is over, Devon and I are both falling asleep.
Also, it’s only about 8:50pm.
But close enough for bedtime in this household.
We get ready for bed and then take a little time to read in bed before finally falling asleep at about 9:30.
Thursday’s schedule is crazier than Wednesday’s was….so…..sleep is needed; like a lot.