Phone: (917) 699-1284

Being A Father For 24 Hours-Interview

SR: Where/what are you studying?
EJ: I am a Freshman in biology at City college.
I am majoring in biology. I would like to get into the pre-med program. I want to be a brain or heart surgeon.

SR: Are there any doctors or nurses in family?
EJ: No, I am actually the first one going to college in family.

SR: Have you gotten a lot of support? Why did you decide to go to college?
EJ: I get a lot of support and encouragement from my family, especially from my mother. She encourages me do my best everyday. I decided to become a doctor because of her, she was sick a few years ago. I was always contemplating between being an engineer or a doctor. When my mom was very sick, I was always around her because my siblings and my father were away. I felt so useless when taking care of her because there was nothing that I could really do. This was the first time that I saw her the way she was, it struck me really hard. From that episode in my life, I felt as though I could never let anyone die in front of me.

SR: How many brother and sisters do you have?
EJ: I have two younger brothers and one sister.

SR: Do you think that you inspire your siblings?
EJ: Definitely, my siblings excel in school. My brother wants to pursue biochemistry. He really liked studying biology and chemistry. He wants to become and a biochemistry engineer. My sister is one of the brightest students at her school.

SR: Were you born here? When did you move?
EJ: I was born in Mexico City and I was 12 yrs old when I moved to New York.

SR: Was NYC a culture shock?
EJ: I definitely experienced a culture shock. Language barrier was a major problem, I had a lot of difficulty in learning English. I was in bilingual school and it was there that I did well in English. At first though, I wasn’t used to the language, the school and the kids. Everything was different, even the Spanish speaking people I met. They incorporated a lot of language in their dialogue.

SR: How long did it take you to adjust?
EJ: It took me about a year to manage and get a hold of the language. I became one of the best students in sixth and seventh grade. In 8th grade, the teachers loved me. They said that I was great kid, I was well behaved and that I never complained. Even now I am still in touch with my teachers from 6th grade.

SR: How did you get the job at Kitchenette Restaurant in Tribeca?
EJ: My father has been working there since 1998 and when I was fourteen, I told him that I was interested in working and making my own money. In 2004, I began working at the restaurant as a dishwasher, once a week for 6 months. Then I started doing deliveries for about two and a half years. While I was doing deliveries, I watched how they managed the computer over the counter. Often I helped whoever was working behind the counter when they were having problems with the computer. So later, Jill, the manager gave me work behind the counter. I have been doing that for two and a half years.
Dishwasher- started 2004.

SR: Tell me about your pediatrics class in high school. What did you do in this class?
EJ: The class was made up of twenty-four girls and three guys. I was one of the boys who decided to take the course. We received this major assignment, where we were required to carry around and take care of a programmed baby doll. Essentially, it was a faux baby, it cried and you needed to treat it like a real child, rocking it, feeding it and keeping it close to you.

SR: How long did this assignment run for?
EJ: I had to take care of the baby for a full twenty-four hours.

SR: Did you realize what you had to deal with/what you were getting into?
EJ: I heard from some of my friends it is a really hard assignment. The baby wouldn’t stop crying all day. On average the girls marks ranged from 74%-80%. I wanted to do well so I had planned to stay home and just focus on taking care of the doll. The problem was that the same day I got the assignment, there was a parent-teacher conference. I got the baby at nine am. Since we had an early dismissal that day, I got on the train and right away I noticed peoples reactions to the doll I was holding. It looked real and people started laughing really loudly, they must have though that I was a nutcase or something. I got many stares. People asked me questions, I was so embarrassed about it, even when people told me that I looked cute holding it. Every time someone on the train spoke to me, I just turned red. I really wanted them to stop looking at me!

SR: How long were you on the train for?
EJ: I live five stops away from my high school, so I wasn’t on the train for too long.

SR: So how did you handle the baby when you got home?
EJ: When I got home, I put the baby in my bed. I had a computerized bracelet that I couldn’t take off, which detected how far away from the baby I was. I could never really be far away, otherwise I would lose points and it would start crying. My parents and siblings started laughing at me when they saw the baby. What was worse was that my parents wanted me to come to the conference, so I had to take the baby with me too.
At six p.m., I drove to school with my parents and it took fifteen minutes. When I got to school, I had to talk to my AP Environmental Science teacher who started asking me questions about the pediatrics assignment when she saw me holding the baby. As we were talking, the baby started crying and I had to feed it. This is complicated because you have to keep the bottle in his mouth. The girls waiting in line behind me were laughing so hard, it was pretty embarrassing. I was trying to feed to baby, talk to the teachers, and translate some of what they said for my mother.

SR: How long were you there for?
EJ: I was there for about two hours. I wanted to leave at 8 p.m. at that time. But before I left, I needed to go to the bathroom, so I gave the baby to Jonathan, my best friend. I told him to hold the baby carefully. I realized after he eats, he goes to the bathroom. I didn’t want to change him in school because it’s a complicated process and it’s embarrassing. When we left the bathroom, the baby started crying and I tried to feed him, but that didn’t do anything. I ended up having to change his diaper in the main lobby of my school, on the table where the pamphlets for the parent-teacher conference was. People in the school lobby were staring at me, they asked questions because they thought it was real, until they saw it up close.

SR: What happened when you got home? Did it get any better?
EJ: After I left school my family was hungry. But my mom had to do some shopping first. We went to JC Penny and I stayed in the car with the doll for an hour. The baby started crying as soon as we got to the mall. I had to feed him right away. You see, the baby couldn’t cry more than a minute because that takes points. I made a bed with my sweater for baby, and as I was falling asleep, they baby cried and I woke up. I had to burp baby, just like when you need to burp a child after they eat. My parents came back and wanted to go to the restaurant. We went to a restaurant ten minutes away from home. There were seven of my family and friends waiting at the restaurant. At first, everything was fine. I made bed for baby, I was eating. When I was done half my food, the baby was crying, I tried to feed him but it didn’t work. I could see workers in the kitchen laughing and guest at the restaurant looking at me and laughing. My face turned bright red. I didn’t know what to do. I tried changing it, feeding it. I had to hold it in one arm, and keep bottle there. My sister was feeding me as this was happening.

SR: What happened when you got home?
EJ: When I got home I made a bed for the baby. You can hear him breathing and that means that he is sleeping. I fell asleep around twelve a.m. At about three a.m, the baby was crying, I couldn’t believe it, I was like are you serious? I had to feed baby again. He ate for a minute, he burped, and two minutes after I had to change him. After the baby fell asleep again, I woke up at around five thirty. He was crying again because he was hungry. I fed him, put him to bed again, and now it was sixish. I decided to take a shower. I leave school at six thirty to get there for seven. When I finished taking a shower, I heard the baby crying. I grabbed the towel, I was all wet, feeding baby. He ate for 10 minutes. I changed him. I grabbed him and went to school. It was seven fifteen. My first class when I got there was math class. I got to class, there my friends were laughing at the baby. Even the teacher who was a very serious person, started cracking up. Thankfully, the baby was quiet in class. The next period was my pediatrics class where I had to hand over the doll to my teacher. The doll was programmed to turn off at nine a.m. sharp, so by the time I got to science class, the baby was already off. All the other students came into class. The teacher announced that out of everyone, I had the highest grade in class. I was really proud of myself and my teacher was very happy about it too.

SR: Do you feel that when you become a doctor that you would want to do surgery with babies?
EJ: I don’t think so, just because I being a child doctor was never what I envisioned for myself. It’s simply not one of my choices. I am really interested in focusing on heart or brain surgery.

SR: I think you have a big heart. I am wondering how this will serve you as you become a doctor. You will witness painful things, how will you keep a balance?
EJ: I think that it will be difficult, but my dad always told me to remember where I came from, what my goals were. Where you come from, where you are born, these are the basics that keep me focused. My grandmother has heart problems right now, she is very old, she’s 87. She is an inspiration to me because every time I speak with her, she’ll be very happy, even when she is feeling sick. I feel bad because I can’t do anything about it, but I understand that a lot of it has to do with that fact that she is old. I get mad at my father a lot because he’s been smoking for years. I tell him to stop all the time. I am still trying to convince him to stop.


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This entry was posted on Monday, July 6th, 2009 at 6:56 pm and is filed under Industry News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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