There I sat, stunned and bewildered, staring blankly at the computer screen. Why wouldn’t it accept my application? I’d done everything the paper had instructed me to do!
Just a few short days before, I’d finished my EMT practical exam. Anxiety had squeezed my chest as I followed the director into a side room to hear my results.
“So, you finished the 7 stations.” He paused before sticking out his hand. “And congratulations, you passed!”
The thrill that had raced through me started to diminish after 2 failed application attempts. In that moment, I realized how woefully unprepared I was. According to the program director, applying to take the NREMT was a simple and painless process. Not true! Clearly he hadn’t been on the phone with the company like I had!
The moon has to be .67 degrees west, with a north wind, and your computer angled towards the sun’s rays…I’m kidding. But it certainly can feel like that!
I watched as classmates shared their successes and failures on Facebook. At least they had taken the test! I was playing telephone, and emailing my program director in an effort to get that far! Eventually, I received an answer from the NREMT.
Answers, it turned out, I didn’t want to hear. Wait until your 18, give us more money, and apply again.
If I could’ve gotten my certification without the hassle, would I? Nah. This whole process has taught me how to communicate; a skill I badly needed to learn!
Do I like waiting? Not even a little bit. But my hindsight is clear enough that I realize, in the midst of late nights and stressful phone calls, when my confidence and commitment were tested, that I learned to hold my own. I had to find solutions. I had to make decisions and stick with them; something anyone who knows me can tell you I don’t do well! I pushed through anxiety so bad my hands trembled and sweat greased my palms.
I peeked at emails through my fingers; afraid they’d carry bad news. I paced the kitchen and gripped armrests and ran late into the night; trying to leave my nerves behind.
Everything I wanted to do in life started with this step, and I couldn’t seem to do it right.
So here I am, at 18, applying again. I have email conversations with 3 people, and I’ve sent in for my certification via snail mail. Currently, we’re waiting for the state office to get back from their weekend vacation and attend to their inbox long enough to assure the NREMT that I passed my EMT practicals, and am eligible to receive certification.
Right now, I am waiting to hear back about a grant for medic school.
Right now, I’m waiting for a different bureaucracy to get their act together and approve me for a physical for Coralville’s FD Candidate Academy. As I repeat the same process in different avenues, I’ve come to realize that some things never change, and never will.
If nothing else, I’ve learned to let things go. It’s out of my hands, and if it’s going to happen, it’ll happen. Nothing I do will make it happen any sooner!
Can we appreciate the fact that I got accepted into a Fire Academy? As I write this,
I donned my gear for the first time in class tonight. New people, new gear, new town.
A FF1 class, and I’m a student. It’s amazing to feel that you are making a difference, and pursuing your dreams in the same breath.
So yeah. It’s an exciting journey. An absolutely amazing journey. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. Is that a good indication you’ve found your passion? I’m thinking so.