My name is Boshra Zawawi. I am the Metro DC Chapter's Director of the Communities of Practice. I oversee our four CoPs (i.e., Leadership, Government, Independent Consultant, and Instructional Design). I am responsible for supporting the CoP leadership team in accomplishing their tasks and deliver monthly learning events. This is my second year volunteering for the Metro DC Chapter. In my first year, 2020, I was a co-leader of the Instructional Design CoP, in which I worked with two other leaders to plan, develop, and facilitate monthly events that explored trends and cutting-edge technology in the field. I also was one of the board members that launched the Chapter's first virtual conference. I so much enjoyed the volunteering experience that I decided to continue with this lovely and lively Chapter.
In addition to volunteering for the Chapter, I am an Instructional Designer working at Cybermedia Technologies Inc. (CTEC), conducting contract work for the Department of the Interior (DOI). My work as an instructional designer and the Ph.D. degree I have in Learning Technologies Design Research from George Mason University has provided me with significant exposure to expand my knowledge, skills, and abilities in learning and development.
5:30 AM: Morning Routine
I always start my day with a meditation by praying and thanking God for all the blessings He bestowed upon my family and me. This brief meditation helps me go through my day and address any possible issues or challenges. Nonetheless, my day officially starts at 7:00 am by taking a quick shower and a good breakfast. I wake up craving for my Nespresso cup of coffee with added milk and some eggs. After breakfast, I am ready for the day! I then make breakfast for my kids and pay special attention to my ten-month-old son, Abdullah. By this time, I hand off the responsibility of taking care of Abdullah to my husband.
8:00 AM: Work Focus
Around 8:00 am, I usually shift my focus to my full-time job as an instructional designer, in which I sit at my desk with a candle by my side to fill the room with a relaxing aroma. I also play some jazz music while working to spark the innovative part of my brain. The nature of the work I do for DOI requires lots of data analysis using excel spreadsheets. After spending one or two hours with spreadsheets, I take some time to relax my eyes and enjoy a cup of tea. I also take a break from the data analysis and learn more about the new version of the learning management system that DOI is upgrading to help them prepare for the new features.
9:45 AM: Multi-Tasking
When the clock ticks 9:45 am, I start multitasking as my 6-years-old son joins me in my room to begin his online classes. I would continue working on data analysis and sneak peeks at my son's laptop to make sure he is on task with schoolwork. Usually, around 10:00 am, my work meetings start, and headsets find their way to both of us to help us contain the noise and distraction.
2:00 PM: Lunch
Around 2:00 pm, I stop working and swap shifts with my husband to take care of Abdullah. During this time, I also multitask to preheat and serve lunch that I started on the weekend. Since I started working full-time, I would cook full meals on weekends because I did not have enough time to cook during the week. I found this a helpful alternative for working moms.
4:00 PM: Back to Work
I usually go back to work at about 4:00 pm when my baby takes a nap. By this time, work slows down, and I can pay some attention to my volunteering work for the Chapter. Multitasking also continues as I help my middle son with his homework.
6:00 PM: Getting Fresh Air
When my baby wakes up from his nap, I am ready to escape the work pressure and go outside for a one-hour walk under the warm sun. This is the best time of my day; I get to enjoy the outdoors, and my sons get to enjoy some mommy time. I also take this time to do some light exercise, such as playing soccer with my son or playing tag. On some occasions, I share the walk with a friend to have some social bonding time.
7:00 PM: Dinner and Clean Up Time
My day at this time focuses on preparing dinner, helping kids go to sleep, and tidying up the house. I might as well help my daughter with her homework and chat over a new dress she wants or an artwork she is painting.
9:00 PM: Tying Loose Ends
On many days, I find myself opening up my work laptop around 9:00 pm while relaxing on my couch to finish up some work tasks or send emails. I take this time also to enjoy some time with my husband to watch a comedy show.
11:00 PM: Battery Runs Out
With all the multitasking and trying to satisfy family needs, my battery runs out around 11:00 pm. I end my day with a brief meditation thanking God for a wonderful day and asking His help for a new day to come.
My workdays are filled with various responsibilities that are competing for my attention. I have been asked many times about managing a full-time job, volunteer work, and family responsibilities. All I can say is I am blessed with a caring husband and children who are going above and beyond to make this work during the difficult times of COVID. I am sure, however, that the worst has passed, and we are heading to a much brighter future. Although life challenges might slow us down and prevent us from doing what we love, they formulate stronger wills and help us discover hidden strengths. In the two years I have been volunteering for the Chapter, I found myself surrounded by great people and opportunities to grow personally and professionally. I am forever thankful for working with such committed and talented board members.