The Struggles of Being a Student and a Caregiver

When I was only 20 years old I began my first job as a personal caregiver in the home caring for three children. As if this wasn't difficult enough, I simultaneously attended my degree course of Bachelor of Secondary Education. In other words, I was a full time working student and a caregiver at the same time. I entered caregiving because I wanted to pursue my studies however, I did not realize the pros and cons of doing so.

Journey  Final  Why?  Tips

The Start of My Challenging Journey

I learned to be independent as a young child and was determined to continue to be as I grew up. I had a strong determination and trust in myself. I used this as my weapon and shield to face hardships and difficulties. It also taught me how to live life alone.

Being a caregiver and a student at the same time was a very tough and challenging part of my life. As an average human being, I ran into many struggles at school and in my work. I had to face the fact that I can hardly serve two masters at the same time but I didn't have a choice. I had to follow the flow of every challenge that came my way.

I had many projects and homework that were due sooner rather than later. I often couldn't bring myself to focus in one specific place. When the deadline was announced, I thought to myself, “Oh my! I have to finish all of this at home!” I didn't know how I was going to finish everything. But I came to realize in order to get it all done, I had to work late at night. I would gather all of my things, place them in a corner, and finish all of my assigned tasks one by one.

This caused me to become extremely exhausted! My brain wasn't functioning well at all. I was always thinking to myself, “How am I going to finish all of my projects and homework?” I couldn’t help it. I decided finish everything I could early in the morning before performing my daily duties. This would cause my body and mind to become numb until I fell asleep the next night.

For the longest time, this was the unfortunate reality of my life. Though it was very hard to face such a responsibility at my young age, I had to be tough and strong. Luckily, I did not forget to keep my faith in God. He was the one who gave me hope and strength. He helped me to love and appreciate the children as if they were my family. As the years have passed, I have felt more and more comfortable being with them.

My Final Year

My life’s journey continued until I reached my fourth and last year in college. I had stayed with my employer for almost three years which showed my loyalty and good service to them. At this point, I decided to resign from my work. I thanked my employers for the last three years of support because they contributed so much.

Since I was a graduating student, the school gave me a very hectic schedule. Even though I was already overloaded with classes, they allowed me to take all my subjects at the same time. My teachers also knew my current situation and wanted me to finish within the semester.

I talked to my parents about this matter and they understood. They made the sacrifice to finance my expenses until I finished all of my schooling. It took two hours by bus to travel to school from my parents house. To fix this, I rented a cheap house that was closer to the school for a year to avoid arriving late.

When comparing this year to the three previous years, this made such a big difference. I had much more time to do my projects and homework including my thesis. That year passed so quickly. At last, I had graduated from college! Thank you God. I give all of the glory to You!

Why Did I Put Myself Through This?

Some of you reading this article may have a lot of questions you would like to ask me such as: Why at my early age did I decide to tackle this serious responsibility? Or maybe you are wondering why my parents allowed me to accept this job while going to school.

I also asked myself these same questions. In fact, there were a lot of “whys” that I kept to myself. The main reason I could think of was because of my experience living life in poverty. I belong to a big family and my parents couldn't afford to send us all to school. However, I believe in the saying, “Poverty is not the hindrance of success.”

I based this article on my true experience as a caregiver. I want my story to inspire others especially those who are facing frustrations in fulfilling their dreams in life. Because of poverty, there are many people who don't see a chance to reach their ideals. Always be hopeful and have a strong determination to reach the unreachable. If there’s a will to do something good, there’s a way for a better change.

The Struggles of Being a Student and a Caregiver

Tips to Become a Good Caregiver

These are some tips I've learned over the years on how to become a good caregiver for children while satisfying your employer.

Family  Worker  Honest  Loyal  Responsible  Respectful  Patient  Cheerful  God fearing

Treat Your Employer as Your Own Family

As a caregiver, you should treat your employer as your own family so that good deeds will follow. Allow yourself to be comfortable around them and try to have a good relationship between everyone you work with especially if it includes members of their family. Most importantly, you should also be easily lovable and likable in the eyes of children.

Be a Hard Worker

It is very important for you to be hard working. Your employer will have high expectations of you so you have to show good performance every day. Your mission is to perform your duties and responsibilities in and outside the home. Don’t just focus on the household chores alone but also their needs as members of the family including assisting them with their personal needs. Give your employer a reason to give you good feedback for your performances.

Be Honest and Trustworthy

One attitude of caregiving that employers like the most is simply being honest and trustworthy. This is especially important if the employer is working outside the home. They are looking for a trusted and honest person to stay in the house and perform the work they would normally do. Not only does this mean doing the household chores but more importantly in taking care of their children. If you possess these characteristics, your employer will have peace of mind while they are away.

Be Loyal and Sincere

A good caregiver should also be measured by their loyalty and sincerity. Avoid doing unnecessary things that your employer doesn't want you to do. If they prefer a task to be done differently than the way you normally do it, don't argue with them. Just do it their way, of course as long as it is still safe. If you want them to value you, do your best to have a good and harmonious relationship between them.

Be Responsible

In all aspects of being a caregiver you should be responsible enough to face all challenges. If you accept this job, expect to perform all responsibilities that are assigned to you and even some that are not assigned. You may have to challenge your capabilities during emergency situations. Always remember to stay with the patient if these situations arise. You should know how to apply first aid treatment while calling for help. You should always be on alert, calm, and with presence of mind in emergent times.

Be Respectful

If you want to gain respect, then you must first learn to respect others. An employer deserves to receive full respect from you as the caregiver. There may be some situations where you don't agree with the decisions of your employer. There may even be tasks given to you that you simply don't like. But you should do it willingly because you have respect for your employer. That is unless it is against to the well-being of you or your patient.

Be Patient

Patience is a virtue. It is the ability to endure and wait on something. A caregiver should have it because without it you will gain nothing. Patience and hard work fit together like a puzzle. This means you have the ability to always remain calm in every task that is assigned to you. This is also the key to have the endurance to stay in your job for a long period of time.

Be Cheerful

Being cheerful in your work makes everyone around you happy too. Employers love to have cheerful workers inside their house. This will oftentimes allow you and your employer to have a better connection with each other. If you share an experience that makes you laugh, it may make them smile too. This will allow them to get to know you better and can make you closer and more comfortable with them.

Be a God Fearing Person

This is the most important attitude you should have as a caregiver. A God-fearing person is applicable to us as well as our job. In all things that we do, we should put God first and place him in the center of our heart before we start working. We can’t sincerely do our job if we don't commit ourselves to Him first. He is the one who gives us strength to perform our duties and responsibilities. He is the one who guides us during our struggles when we face difficult challenges. We should always thank Him for giving us life to help and serve others.

Thank you Faye Galicia for contributing this article.

Guest Articles Written for Caregiverology

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