Days of Their Lives: An Intern’s Experience as a VOH resident (AM)

One of my greatest desires since I’ve started contributing to this blog has been to familiarize the “outside world” with what goes on at Vision of Hope. I’ve decided the best way to help others understand VOH is to understand it better myself, by becoming a “resident for a day.” I turned in my keys, my iPhone, and my privileges as an intern to experience a small taste of what it’s like to be a resident. This post is the beginning of what I learned.

Six o’clock in the early morning, an unfortunate lack of light bombardes my bedroom window. An obnoxious alarm screams a commanding, “GOOD MORNING… GET UP!” It takes me awhile to agree, but I eventually slither out of bed and make my way to the dining room where I know the group of residents meets before heading to workout.

I handed my keys over to the on-duty intern (Liz) who informed me she could not put my things away for me, but would assist me in putting them away myself. I glanced at the clock, I had enough time, so I bolted to the phase two cabinet and waited anxiously for Liz, who was walking casually, as if this wasn’t a crisis.

6:15am-7:30am = Morning Workout: “Sweaty. Wakening. Peachy. Fun. Rejuvenating. Tiring. Jubilant.” These are a few descriptors the residents use for morning workout. This particular morning, the workout was basketball. Much to my chagrin, the intern leader, Laura, decided we needed to run two suicides (aka ladders) after warm-up. I apologized to my fellow residents, believing it was my fault we had to run extra. After all, I reasoned, the interns are just trying to give me the fullest experience! Somewhere toward the end of workout, my shoulder popped out of socket in a scuffle for the ball. Though it was encouraged I sit out and rest, the intern didn’t TECHANICALLY ask me outright to stop playing, so I continued. I compensated for my lack of physical strength with a stubborn determination to participate fully in every activity I could. After all, this is what I would encourage a real resident to do, had I been an on-duty intern, right?

Even this early in the morning, I was battling (and losing) the choice to believe what I wanted vs. believing the best of others. I was also being challenged to either pursue my own agenda, or willingly submit to the leadership of the interns. Did I mention I was losing this battle?

7:30am-8:15am = First Morning Transition (Team A Eats Breakfast; Team B Gets Ready): When we arrived back at the house, I waited patiently to be let back into my room. Ok, maybe not so patiently! You see, a normal resident’s room is not locked, but the intern suite (where I live) is. Since I didn’t have my personal keys on me, I had to wait until the intern was available to let me into the suite. The time is ticking away on my shower time, I thought selfishly… At this point, I realized what I blessing it was that I was the only person getting ready in my suite. For most residents getting ready in the morning, the 45 minute time slot is divided between at least 2!

Pause for story time: At this point, I was walking back to my room to get ready. One of the residents pointed out a spider of gargantuan proportions! Thick. Black. Poised for action. Ok, maybe he was just chilling on the tile, but he COULD’VE been poised for action! Here’s what the intern thought about the interaction, recorded in her End of Shift (EOS) report:

Rachel- Very dramatic in killing a spider this morning (it was huge).   When Rachel went to kill it, it stuck to her shoe, and she screamed and backed up, stomping her foot on the
ground to get it off.  She started to walk away, but I asked her if she was going to pick it up.  She did without arguing.  I overheard her telling the residents later that when it stuck to her shoe, she was afraid the spider was going to overpower her.  In my opinion, this fear was very irrational.

Now in my room getting ready for the day, one mantra best describes my relationship with the clock: “Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer.” There was no way ON THIS PLANET I was going to be late, if I could help it. With a little effort, I was ready with 3 minutes to spare and spent that time throwing up a “flare prayer” to God that He would be my strength in weakness for the day. Then, I grabbed my bag and hurried to the dining room for breakfast.

When I got to the dining room, there was Intern Julie with an incident report for me to fill out about my shoulder. She was in the kitchen doorway and handed me the form. I looked around for a flat surface. My eyes fell on the counter beside me. It was splotched with coffee spills from Team A breakfast. “Can I fill this out in the dining room?” I asked. Julie’s reply was calm, but unwanted, “I’d like you to fill it out here, please.”

And here it was, my first real chance to humbly submit or pridefully rebel. With my best smile (which I found out later came across as a “smirk”) I obeyed and filled out the report on the coffee counter, though inside I thought I knew better.

8:15am-9am = Second Morning Transition (Team A Gets Ready; Team B Eats Breakfast): My biggest morning dilemma was choosing to drink coffee or refraining. I wanted something to diminish my dragging, but coffee gives me the urge to go to the bathroom all the time (and all bathroom breaks during a typical day at VOH are scheduled and monitored)! One of the residents offered me her wisdom: “You have a lot more opportunities for bathroom breaks than you do for coffee; drink the coffee!” She was right, and I enjoyed the pick-me-up!

Breakfast conversation was typical. I remember telling my fellow residents that I was missing my phone. One of the residents lamented with empathy, “I kept sticking my hands in my pockets searching for mine the first week I was here!” Yeah, I may just have an addiction to technology!

Before I knew it, cleanup time had come. One of the residents simply advised me to practice saying yes with a smile. She said this has really helped her develop a true joy for submission and placing herself under authority. The line dwindled, my turn for a task came: garbage duty. Might I add, this was another chance to believe the best, or believe the worst. I smiled and obeyed, putting the advise of the resident to good use.

“Does anybody else feel the desire to walk around the pond instead of coming back to the house from taking out the trash?” I asked once back inside. The residents assured me this is normal, and it usually goes away after a few days.

9:15am-9:30am = Room Checks: As the group transitioned to the bedroom wings for room checks, my eyes were inextricably drawn to the message board by our secretary desk. There MUST be something for me! Is there? Is there?” My mind raced as my eyes scanned the surface of the board for one letter, “R.” Alas, there was nothing. I couldn’t have left the group to grab it anyway, I thought, justifying my disappointment. I sat outside my bedroom door as the intern inspected my room. Was my bed made well enough? Did I de-clutter my dresser and bathroom vanity? Were my drawers organized? Was my closet acceptable? Was I a good steward of my belongings? The intern walked out of my room with a smile:


9:30-11am = Morning Group: Walking upstairs for group, I first noticed the coffee was taking effect. Hooray for timely bathroom breaks!

Up Next…. Days of Their Lives: MID


Rachel Bailey
I began my internship with Vision of Hope in January 2013. In my current understanding of God’s will for my life, I am pursuing wisdom and experience to one day work with women with eating disorders. My desire is to plant my feet in truth, while reaching my arms as far as I can toward the broken and hurting. With God’s help and guidance, I hope to become a godly woman and counselor to provide Truth-based counsel rather than “evidenced-based practice.” My life verse is Ecclesiastes 5:7 which says, “For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God."