The light at the end of the tunnel…

This is what the office desk looks like when I'm on duty

I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The end of the school year is only two weeks away, but it still feels so far. The next week is completely insane. There is a significant portion of my brain that this telling me to just bury my head under the covers and only come out when it’s all over. Another part is telling me to drop out.

Fortunately, the rational part is telling me to put a smile on and get through it, because I will be so proud of myself when it’s all over.

I’m currently studying for my DRI certification exam, which is tomorrow. This exam will certify me as an Associate Business Continuity Professional. Even though I’m not sure business continuity is the direction I want to go it, I know having this certification will be valuable if I do. Unfortunately, it feels as though there is too much to study and not enough time. I love my index cards, so I’ve been spending the last couple of days furiously writing out definitions and notes on the 10 professional Practices. Needless to say, I’ll be glad when it’s all over!

Tomorrow night I’m running another Therapy Dogs program. Everyone is stressed, and it seems even worse now that we only have two weeks left. It’s also getting to the point where some people realize that after this year, they probably won’t see each on a daily basis. This makes people either really sad, or really disrespectful, depending who you’re talking about. Hopefully the puppies will make everyone feel a bit better.

On Tuesday, we’re finalizing the business continuity plan we’ve been working on all year, and next week we will present it to our client. It’s been such a long time in coming, it’s hard to believe it’s almost done!

Wednesday is the most hectic day. Along with my group, I’ll be facilitating a tabletop exercise at an Ontario Ministry in order to test one of their emergency response plans. Our exercise is fine, but we need to practice the presentation aspect of it–definitely not my favourite thing to do. As soon as we are done at the Ministry, we’re heading back to school to deliver a public education program to our class. I’m doing mine on how businesses can help prevent terrorism. Again, my presentation is done, but I’ve been waiting until after DRI to practice it.

For those of us that are in the EM program as well as working in Res, we will then hurry back in order to get ready for the Student Leadership Banquet. I’m actually really excited about this, as we get to dress up and watch our colleagues receive awards for leadership. It should be a nice way to end a crazy day!

On Thursday I’m handing in the After-Action Report for the exercise I designed and controlled last week (more on that in another post), as well as starting work on the AAR for the Ministry exercise. Friday will be used for finishing everything up, and then Saturday is the school open house. Some of my classmates will be on the main campus, telling prospective students about the EM program, but I’ll be giving tours around the residence.

Let me tell you, I can’t wait to go home and have a break! I’m a little disappointed that I don’t have a job lined up, but I plan on spending the whole summer applying and volunteering, so I’m sure I won’t get too bored. It will definitely be nice to read books for fun again!

Casualty Sim and Therapy Dogs

Monday was the most fun I’ve had in a classroom in a long time. Don’t get me wrong—a lot of the things I do for this program are fun, but yesterday was exceptional.

Our program coordinator gave us the opportunity to attend a Casualty Simulation Course that was offered through the local fire department. Casualty Simulation is used during emergency exercises in order to make the situation more realistic for first responders. I didn’t really know what to expect out of the day, but when we arrived we were given a tool box full of what was essentially stage make-up, and spent the day simulating various maladies—cuts, burns, illness, shock…it was basically awesome.

Here’s some of my handiwork:

It was incredibly satisfying to spend the day doing something. As practical as this course is, there is still a fair share of sitting in a classroom learning theory. Either that or sitting in a classroom discussing our group projects. Being in a classroom making your friend look like he has a sucking chest wound wins every time.

Last night my fellow RA and I also organized a Therapy Dogs program for our residents. I was so happy with how successful it was. We had 8 dogs from the community come in and the residents all had a chance to come and sit with the dogs, to pet them and play with them.

It’s a scientific fact that simply petting a dog can lower your blood pressure, and Therapy Dogs are most commonly used in nursing homes and hospitals because they help relieve stress and make people happy. With midterms coming up, all of us are trying to come up with ways to keep the residents from getting overly stressed.

And lets be honest…we both wanted to play with puppies as a part of our job. In fact, the people who stayed from the start to the end of the program were all staff members.

We had paper outside of the room so that people could write down how the dogs made them feel. A lot of people said it made them miss their own dogs, but mostly it made everyone really happy. I definitely had a smile on my face the entire time.

One of the best things about this program was getting to speak to the people who volunteer their time to bring their dogs around. Many of them said it was good for their dogs to get to spend time with not only a large group, but with young people as well.

With this job, sometimes it can be hard to feel like you’re making any difference at all. On Monday night, I felt like I’d done a good thing by bringing those dogs in.