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Make a Wish

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

Despite the chill night air, I opted against putting on my shoes or socks; I prefer bare feet whenever possible. The thick fleece of my MC hoodie protected my arms, neck and head from the prickle of the overgrown grass while my baggy jeans did the same for my legs. I stretched, breathed in a lungful of cold, mountain air and exhaled a deep, satisfying sigh. I settled into the grass and gazed at the stars.

            My peace was not one of solitude. I shared the moonlit plateau with fourteen other Montgomery Scholars, some of whom were playing a raucous round of “The Ninja Game” while others, like me, had chosen to lie contemplatively in the grass.

             Last Friday night, when I lay on a mountainside stargazing, I was participating in a weekend retreat to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia as part of a “bonding experience” for Montgomery Scholars. There are twenty-five first year Montgomery Scholars all together – I among them. The point of the scholars program is inter-disciplinary education. (To learn more about the program visit )  Yet the purpose of giving 25 students a team-taught crash course in “the world” is not to make the Scholars feel smarter.

As Dr. Furgol, the head of the ten-year-old program puts it, “If you say to me, ‘Professor I used to think I knew a lot, but now I feel like I don’t know anything!’ then we have done our job.”

Instilling awe of the sheer vastness and complexity of the universe into the thick skulls of twenty-five teenagers may seem like a lofty ambition, especially since brianiacs get a bad rap for being pompous. Yet, I have reason to believe that the other Montgomery Scholars are some of the sweetest, humblest human beings I have ever met.

As part of their diabolical scheme for our enlightenment, our professors sent us to spend the night in a Victorian House that overlooks historic Harper’s Ferry. Friday afternoon, we trudged two miles up a mountain as (almost) complete strangers. After spending the better part of an hour basking on the rocks and enjoying the view, we skipped two miles back down the mountain and played in the Shenandoah River as friends. By midnight, we had divulged our deepest secrets to each other and at four in the morning, we fell asleep, huddled on the front porch like sardines in a can with our laughter and periodic cries of “I love you guys!” permeating the night air.

            As I lay on my back, a shooting star darted so quickly across the sky that if I had blinked, I would have missed it. Time to make a wish.

            I listened to the laughing of my new friends as they dove in the silver moonlight to hit each other’s hands and so win “The Ninja Game”. The cicadas gossiped about us from their trees and the cool breeze brushed up against my toes like a lovable pet cat.

            I inhaled again, more deeply this time. The corners of my lips turned up of their own accord. I sighed, content.

            Why wish for anything, when right at the moment the meteor passed, I had everything I could ever want?

A Roast to Summer

(Brittany Sullivan) Permanent link

             Since summer is winding down to an end, and the dreaded sighs of children heading back to school can be heard in the distance, I felt that it was only appropriate to give one last tribute to summer. People chose to spend their summer in various ways. Some travel, others participate in community service activities, while some just sit around and do nothing.  I spent my summer before starting my freshman year at MC working as a lifeguard.

            Now I must agree that having worked in many different work environments lifeguarding is definitely one of the more tolerable jobs. However, please note that I say tolerable and not easy or enjoyable. They say that to respect what one goes through you must walk a mile in their shoes.  So I have compiled a list of the top ten things that pool patrons do on a regular basis that are simply annoying. Yes, a majority of our job consists of sitting in a chair all day, but maybe you will have more respect after reading this.

10) Complaining about how dirty the pool is

            Our pool is one of the many beautiful pools that are located in an outdoor setting. So when you inform us that there are bugs or leaves in the pool, please note that we are well aware of this. Mother Nature is one of our biggest sponsors who has contributed countless trees, grass, and various crawly critters. If this is an issue for you please consider becoming a member at one of your many indoor pools in the area.

9) Adult Swim (aka Rest Break)

            Rest break or more commonly known as adult swim is designed primarily to give children under a certain age a break from swimming so they can rest and recoup. So please refrain from asking us if this rule applies to you just because you’re the only ones at the pool or from “accidently” slipping in. We understand that parents use the pool as a tool to tire their children. But at the same time continual intake of water also leads to children vomiting in the pool; which we as lifeguards extremely enjoy cleaning up.

8) Asking if we are open during a storm

            For obvious precautionary reasons our pools close for a period of time if there are certain weather occurrences such as, but not limited to: heavy rain, thunder, lightning, tornados, hurricanes, hail, etc. Please refrain from calling the pool during times like these to ask if we are open. If you feel the need to call and ask, we most likely are not.

7) Asking obnoxious obvious questions

            I am a blonde so I understand the occasional dumb question, but there are certain ones that push it to far. Please do not ask us what time it is when there is a clock sitting over top of our head. Please do not ask us if it is kid swim if there are already ten children in the pool. And please do not ask us if the water is deep when it is labeled right where you are standing. 

6) Running

            Yes we understand that the ice cream man is very exciting but he will wait for you to bring him your money, don’t worry. As lifeguards we are certified in First Aid, but that does not mean we wish to patch up your head when you do a face plant into the ground tripping over your own feet.

5) Not Flushing

            As the old adage goes, “if you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and clean the seatie”. Our job as a lifeguard also doubles as a janitor. So all the goodies that you leave behind for us, just remember that we get to clean it up.

4) Not wearing a bathing suit

            If you were unaware of this before, clothes that become wet stick to you and become see through at times. So we advise that you stay away from certain colors, specifically white. You may be comfortable with your body, but that does not mean that others at the pool wish to see certain parts of you. 

3) Pool Rats

            Our pool is open 6 days out of the week from 12-8. This does not mean that you are required to be here for that period of time. If you know all the lifeguards by name, your skin is starting to resemble leather, and/or you eat your lunch/dinner at the pool you are spending way too much time here, and should consider finding a hobby.

2) Not watching your kids

            Unless you wish to pay us under the table, no we are not a babysitting service. We understand that you as parents are busy, but the pool is not a place to conduct your business, catch up on your reading, or listen to the latest jams if your child does not understand the concept of swimming. Children are not buoyant in water, and will sink. In addition if children barley listen to their parents, as I’m sure you are well aware, what makes you think they will listen to us?

1) Being the only one in the pool

            It doesn’t matter if you are two years old or ninety-nine. It doesn’t matter if you swim like a brick in water or were an Olympic swimmer. If you are in the water we are up in the chair, watching you! So the best way to become best friends with your neighborhood lifeguard is to make sure you get in the water when absolutely no one is in. And if you really want to make them happy you should just stand in the water like a floating duck.

This is my roast to summer. The 90-100 degree weather still dwindles in the air, and I must say that Labor Day could not come soon enough. 

Woah! First Blog Post! Craaazzyyy! :D

(Marcia Myers) Permanent link

“I'm sorry this isn't a show or a ride, It's actually a playground”

These are the words that I get to repeat a million times a day at my job. I currently have an internship at DisneyWorld. I get to work at Hollywood Studios over at the  Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Playground Adventure - lovingly shortened to “Honey” by those of us that work there. That's the reason my bio picture is different, because I'm already down here in Florida! Yes, that super-mega-foxy-awesome-hot outfit that I'm wearing is my uniform. Though in Disney we like to call them “costumes”.

On my first day of training I wasn't particularly excited. I mean, working at DisneyWorld had me pretty pumped, (Can you say Free Entry to all the Parks?) but when I found out that I was working at a playground and not a ride or a show I was a little bummed. I wasn't too upset – I mean two of my roommates work at Custodial but I had been dreaming of performing and really being a part of that magic.

After training, that was no longer an issue. I won't lie – it's not the most exciting job in the world. I shift between making sure kids don't climb up the slide to counting how many people are coming in for records. But after seeing literally hundreds of kids (We see about 500 people an hour) running, screaming, crying and mostly playing, I realized that even in my little section of the park there's a magic to it.

Now this may seem silly to some, but to me there's just something about a true smile from a little kid. I'm talking about the genuine joy and excitement that you don't see on adults as much. Maybe it's the fact that behind the smile of an adult there are always background thoughts about the future or how you'll perceive them, but the kids? They can get caught up in the moment of going down a slide over and over – each time laughing and smiling like this is the only thing they need to be happy. Telling them a simple “Happy Birthday” if they have a birthday pin on their shirt or remarking on their shoes covered in sequins can make that child ecstatic.

I have to stand outside in the heat and supervise kids play. I have to give countless directions to the bathroom, or another attraction. I get to hear adults complain about not having food in the playground, another attraction that's closed or the oppressive heat. But you know what? I also get to pretend that I think little Suzie is the real Snow White when she comes in wearing her dress – and Little Suzie's excitement and smiles and thank-you's make all that other crap worth it.

Though I'll have to remember to keep that in mind in the upcoming months because I'm sure it will continue to be pretty non-action packed. Don't worry though I'm a pretty good rambler. I'll also let you all know how the classes and things are working down here too since it's all linked to Montgomery College and anyone can apply to get an internship!

Thanks for reading! I'll be up again on next Monday and look forward to any and all comments!  



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