Best of 2020: Sofia Guzman

Looking back on 2020, many people’s lives were changed as a consequence of the pandemic and the corresponding newfound time: while some procrastinated, others found happiness in the little things, such as junior Sofia Guzman. After passing her lifeguard certification before the pandemic hit, she devoted her time to being a lifeguard.

Since she had started working before the pandemic started, Guzman was one of a few people who still had a summer job working for the Jewish Community Center.

After hours of classes, a strength test and a written test, Guzman became certified as a lifeguard in February 2020. She explained that becoming a lifeguard was her proudest moment during the past year.

“When I was taking my written test, my hands were shaking and I was so scared, so when I found out I had passed, I was ecstatic,” Guzman said.

Guzman was convinced by a friend to become a lifeguard, and while she hadn’t previously considered it, she now loves the job. Even though it initially took a lot of training, she believes it was worth the hard work.

“I’m really glad I decided to sign up for the classes and become a lifeguard,” Guzman said.

Guzman added that working as a lifeguard during the pandemic has been strange for her with mask guidelines and social distancing, but she still enjoys going to work every day.

“When I go to work, it gives me a sense of normalcy,” she explained. “I can see my friends and coworkers.”

She said that working during a pandemic is very different, causing her to always be mindful of her health on top of normal safety concerns for lifeguards.

“When you are in the lifeguard chair, you are expected to be safe for other people,” Guzman explained. “If you aren’t safe around the other lifeguards, then you are putting other people in danger.”

Even with the added stress, Guzman has made many new friends and looks forward to going each week.

“It’s more time with people, which is hard to find during the pandemic,” Guzman said. “When I go to work, I feel really happy.”