I am an Antiochian. I don’t eat kale, and I generally don’t protest. It just isn’t my way. That said, I am motivated to change the world. That is why I decided to work for Bounce Day. “Bounce Day aims to improve community resilience through an integrated disaster response experience that provides opportunities for education, collaboration, and innovation. Bounce Day is put on by a collaboration of Mayo Clinic researchers, educators and students, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Military medical personnel, local medical alliances, theatre groups and lay community members. Actors simulating illness (zombies) and those affected by the crumbling of society will interact with participants learning both medical and non-medical response protocols ranging from vaccination and treatment to refugee camp management and security.” I’m not entirely sure if I’m supposed to quote myself but I wrote that, and I’m proud of the organization it stands for.
Bounce Day was started by a small group of doctors from the Mayo Clinic in order to train the community on how to handle extreme disasters such as epidemics, pandemics, biohazards, and mass casualty incidents. The ‘bouncer’ refers to the resilience that one should have after a crisis. Bounce Day has no external funding even though the program was started within the Mayo Clinic. It funds itself by using leftover grant money from other projects that were already completed under-budget. Since its start a few years ago, Bounce Day has grown from a one-time a year event with 20 people to a major event every year with up to 300 people, as well as smaller workshops during the year. My job is to help with the transition from a small 20 person program to a 300 person program –designing information in communication protocols and building resources so that the Organization can continue to grow.
On the day to day, I answer phone calls, which have become ever more prevalent as this year’s event draws nearer, write code for the site bounceday.org, and assist in the planning of next year’s major project –the integration of emergency Coding programs for patients into phones as an app so that the simulation becomes even more realistic with the same tools that emergency services would have in the field. Over the next month, the website and its management need to be turned over to rest of the team. I have started training my boss, Dr. Robin Molella, on how to manipulate the website.
One of the things that I really miss is working with people. Sure, I get to meet people and I talk with people on the phone all the time, but because my job can be done from just about anywhere, it does get done from just about anywhere and thus, I don’t see or interact with people I know on a day-to-day basis. Unquestionably, however, where I am currently feeling I need to grow is in my ability to manage on all fronts. I personally have found most jobs to be relatively simple once the basic skills have been learned. What makes an experience difficult is the fact that it isn’t the only thing going on. In addition to showing up to work, when one comes home the work doesn’t stop. That is especially true of my experience here. In addition to co-op, I am studying for the LSAT, working 36 hours a week, and budgeting my own money. Furthermore, my family is currently out of country and am managing their lives as well. One life was difficult enough. This, however, is an important skill to learn, as it is unlikely that for the rest of my life I will only have to manage my own life. Should I have kids, they will be unable to manage their own lives for significant length of time, and I have heard marriage isn’t particularly simple either.
I have also come to realize that how messy my room is a direct example of how cluttered my mind is, and I can unclutter my mind by a significant amount simply by cleaning my room. I have also finally reached the 500 mark on LinkedIn, which completes one of my co-op goals. Reaching 500 was not easy, but it was an important step in my career goals, as once one hits 500 on LinkedIn, his or her profile no longer shows a number but shows 500+. It is at that point where no one questions whether you have a significant presence in your professional community. All of these things have brought me to a funny conclusion and that is: I knew nothing about resilience.
As an Eagle Scout I thought I knew what it meant to “be prepared” and had done everything in order to be prepared for an emergency, for example, my car has flares, glow sticks, emergency cash, and everything else I might need. I even have an emergency go bag. Even though Bounce Day teaches about resilience in a crisis, this experience has shown me that resilience isn’t just about the crisis; everyday life requires significant resilience as well, such as how fast can I get back on my feet when my car breaks down, or my computer hard drive fails. And it isn’t only about resolving life’s everyday problems, it’s about how fast one can get back to the normal flow of life after having spent significant time managing those tiny problems.
We say at Antioch that co-op is our students experiencing real life. That is absolutely, unquestionably untrue. Co-op students do not experience real life; co-op students experience something so much harder than real life. Students on co-op not only live a real life, but on top of that simultaneously go to school. Sometimes, students go to school, live life in the real world, and have other obligations (I know some of my friends are studying for the MCAT right now). Real life is so much simpler because it doesn’t have so many different facets. Many jobs require continuing education, such as for lawyers it’s around 15 hours a year. Even if co-op went year-round, it is a one hour a week class and therefore would come closer to 40 hours a year. Most people I know who have to do continuing education, set aside one day a year where they just do continuing education. But an Antiochian can’t do that; when we take a vacation off from our jobs we are not on vacation from school. We never reach a point where we are truly off the clock. That is why resilience is so important for us, because inevitably at some point we will get a little bit behind and have to catch up. That’s why it’s a good thing that co-op is so much harder than real-life, if it was easier it wouldn’t prepare us for the real thing.