As a college senior, my graduation is just around the corner. I will be finishing up my units in summer this year. For most, graduation is exciting; it’s having a huge smile on your face as you’re given your diploma and are sent off into the real world. For me, my emotions are mixed. I’m excited about graduating, yet terrified of what lies before me after it’s over.
School has been my whole life. Nothing but routine: first day of school, homework, tests and quizzes, midterms, projects, stress and studying, and final exams. As a misophonia sufferer, I’ve also had to deal with a lot of triggers, but I’ve also learned how to cope with them. I brought headphones, wore earplugs, and learned the material myself if I had to. In the real world, things are going to be much different. That’s what I presume, at least. I have read how many misophonia sufferers have immense trouble in the workplace. Deb talks about what she has to deal with in her article Surviving the Workplace. She has to deal with long acrylic nails tapping on glass and her coworker’s chewing multiple times a week. She also talks about her coping mechanisms, which seem to get her through the day.
In the Facebook groups, many people also talk about how some of their colleagues mock them after being told about misophonia. I want to believe that this is not going to be my future.
I remember one of my family members telling me that I need to get a job at a fast food place. I hated the idea instantly. Fast-paced working, multi-tasking, dealing with loud noises for long hours, dealing with particularly picky people, being within close-proximity to a lot of workers, and needing to filter out noise? No thanks. Just thinking about this is stressing me out. Perhaps I have the wrong idea of fast food places, but I never liked the idea of working in anything of the sort. High stress jobs are a no go for me. Every job will have some level of stress, and some stress is good because it keeps you on your toes. But a stress level that’s way too high can be damaging, both physically and mentally. The kind of job that appeals to me is anything to do with writing.
I’ve had a taste of the workplace when I volunteered at an organization that works with abused and neglected children. As a volunteer I had to visit the children wherever they were staying. I had to keep a log of how much time I spent there, and eventually write a report detailing what I saw. I also had to recommend what was best for the children after listening to them and being around them. This report would be presented in court, and the judge makes a final decision. That was hard work, but it was something I could do by myself. I had to work with people and children, but not have to deal with coworkers on a daily. I only had to deal with them during the last Wednesday of the month, where people ate and drank while someone from an organization gave a presentation about how they can help he children we work with. This was manageable, and I coped with it by putting in earplugs and headphones if necessary. I unfortunately had to take my leave when school plus volunteering got too overwhelming.
However, I want to work in a similar area after graduating. Helping victims requires empathy and understanding, a desire to help, and a listening ear. I’d rather spend my time both behind a computer researching about ways to help and writing about how to help those in need, and discussing it with those people. I don’t want to deal with coworkers all day long. I want to deal with people in need. And yet, I can’t help but ask myself a few questions: Is this impossible to achieve? What about things you haven’t taken into consideration, things you don’t know about yet? What if you come across someone that no matter what coping skills you’ve learned, nothing works?
This semester I’m going to be taking an internship class, and will be assigned to work at a government organization. This is a requirement for graduation. I will once again experience what it’s like in the workplace, and I’m hoping that I will be so focused on what I’m doing that I’ll only need earplugs. I feel as though I’m barely mastering the coping mechanisms I’ve learned while in school. Wearing headphones may not be a possibility in the workplace. Or if there’s no specific rule against wearing them, they may be frowned upon. Earplugs might not be allowed either depending on the job. Usually, a job requires you to be absolutely in tune to everything around you. No hindrances. I want to make my own destiny while taking this internship and after graduating. I want to be the boss of my misophonia in the workplace. I want to; therefore, I will.