The Reality of a Summer Life-guarding Job

  • by: Aidan Huckestein

Wall with a hanging life preserver at a life-guarding stationOnce school is out, most teenagers decide it’s time to get a summer job. Like every other bored, broke teenager, I was ready to indulge in bathing suits and tan lines with the perfect summer job― lifeguarding. We’ve all seen the movies and tv shows where the tanned lifeguards are spending hours laughing and talking with their friends by the pool before taking a break to play beach volleyball. I wasn’t expecting quite as much of a picture perfect experience, but I was ready for that perfect tan line. I was already certified in CPR, AED, and first aid, so I figured it shouldn’t be too hard. $220 later and I’m at the pool to get certified. I don’t think it quite registered until then that in order to be a lifeguard you have to safely get the person out of the pool before doing anything else. I can swim just fine. I will say, however, that I am not in any way, shape, or form an athletic person. This class was a bit more difficult than expected. I am a hardworker and was able to complete the tasks without letting anyone else know I was probably going to be sore for a few days.

It also didn’t seem to register that I am not invincible.

Eight hours in the sun without sunscreen will in fact give you a sunburn. I then had to come back to the pool for another two days of training with that sunburn.

After the peeling and avoiding tight clothing, I did get that summer tan I wanted. I also realized that there is a reason people tan in different swimsuits than they swim laps in. I have had the same awkward one-piece tan for too long. After I am certified, I’m ready to become one with sunscreen and awkward tan lines. Although the idea of sitting in the hot sun and watching a bunch of people splash around for hours seems like a hoot, it is not the reason I’m spending time writing up a resume and filling out applications at country clubs and the local YMCA. Originally, I was ready to sit around tanning by the pool and have something to put on my resume.

After the training, the idea that someone could actually drown became very real to me.

I have seen many people struggle a bit while swimming, but I have never seen someone drown. That wasn’t something very real to me. One of the most important things I learned was how to prevent people from drowning. It is important to notice that someone isn’t the best swimmer or that they are playing in a dangerous way. All jokes about buckets of sunscreen and hours without a phone aside, I want to be a lifeguard to prevent accidents from happening and to help when they do.

About the Author:

Aidan is a 16 year old Torch & Laurel Scholar, from Alabama where she is homeschooled. She prefers to learn about what she loves by doing and reading, rather than watching. She’d love to one day travel the world and help people.

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