Tuesday, March 21

Snapshots and Immersion Wrap Up

Greetings. For those that may not know, "snapshots," are what I call memories of specific things, incidents, or events. Here are some of the snapshots of immersion, in no particular order: my various experiences in mobility; some of the dishes I made in cooking and rediscovering the confidence in making those dishes; the home maintenance part of shop; buying my toolbox and some tools at Lowes; successfully running the table saw; going to places independently in and out of mobility (such as to the NFB meeting in February); my first day; telling a former caseworker, when asked what I was doing at the Center, "I work here."; seeing the many people that I've known from prior times at the Center, and seeing that they're still there; getting and depositing my first pay check; exploring a strip shopping center near my apartment on mobility one day; and many more.

There have been so many things in such a short amount of time, that its hard to recall all of the neat things that have been snapshots. Probably one of the most exciting things though is, that was only the first part of my time at the Center. In other words, its not the end, but rather the beginning.

I've also discovered other things in immersion. One relates to my goals in mobility. When I started immersion, my goals were two fold: to regain the confidence of independence that I once had, and to get to know all of the various systems and layout of Austin. One day though, I was talking with one of my coworkers, and he admitted that even though he's lived in Austin for a long time, he doesn't know all of the bus routes and systems. It then occurred to me that if he's not worried about not knowing everything about Austin, then why was I worried? So, then my focus shifted to building my confidence. That was a key point for me, since it in essence took away some of the extra stress I was putting on myself, of having to learn a lot in a short time. And, as I've written here many times before, the stress was at times more than enough. Anyway, after I realized that and shifted my focus, mobility became much more enjoyable. Not all of the experiences were fun, such as trying to problem solve your way out of being lost when no one's around, but I think I did accomplish the goal of getting my confidence back. Or at least I'm on my way to doing so.

Another big realization for me was the people I met in immersion. As I finished with certain classes, like Braille or shop, I would feel a little sad that I was done with the class. But then I'd remember that just because I was done with that class, didn't mean that I wouldn't see the person(s) again, since we worked together. This has been a constant back and forth with me. For those who may not know this yet or have figured it out, I bond with people really well. So some of these little changes can get to me. Case in point, after observing a computer class yesterday, I left and wanted to turn a corner and go to mobility, even though I knew my immersion was over. I was a little sad, but then I realized, "Hey, wait a minute, I can talk with them anytime."

I've also been constnatly amazed at just how many people work at this agency. At my last job, there were only 9 other people, not counting myself. This one has over 100. I find that cool.

I've found it interesting to observe interactions between teachers and students in different classes, such as Braille, keyboarding, and others. For instance, when on mobility, I would listen closely to how the instructor handled different situations with other students. One of the most valuable methods that teachers love but students hate (I've been on both sides, even before now), is when the student asks a question and the teacher asks a question right back, instead of answering. Even though I might have sworn to never do that, at one point many years ago, I now find myself doing it. As I say though, teachers love this but students hate it.

Over all though, it was a great experience. Now that my daily activities are returning to normal, perhaps I can relax a little, :) As I say, it's terribly exciting though to think that this is only the beginning, ...

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