Monday, November 3, 2014

Professional Student? Seems Like It

So the EMT program has been in full swing for a few months now. I’ve been in school for too long. I’ve taken a lot of classes. Of course there are people who have taken more classes than I have, and been in school longer than me. But this class, this class is hard. It is frustrating. Sometimes I hate it. There’s not much direction or instruction given, it is very much a “learn on your own” class. Multiple times this class has challenged me with the decision I made to withdraw from the athletic training program.
            For so long all I wanted to do was be an athletic trainer, with Olympians, with football teams; athletic training was what I wanted to do. When I withdrew, I wanted to be an athletic trainer, now I just want to help people, save people, make sure they get the care they need.
            I learn by doing, athletic training is an active profession, being an emergency medical technician is active also. Trying to learn everything by sitting and listening to a lecture does not seem to be the smartest way to teach, or the best way to learn. There is very little time to apply the techniques we learn.
            Despite this, and despite the difficulties in how the course is being taught, the decision to go into EMT training couldn’t have been better for me. I had the opportunity to spend some time in the ER as part of the class last weekend and while I was there I knew that, when I’m able to work in this profession, that this is where I’m supposed to be. EMT’s do not spend their careers in the ER, it’s a transition place, but when I was there, I felt more confident than I had since I withdrew from athletic training. It’s exhilarating. Encouraging. I like it.
            All the decisions I made have led me to here. Some have been good, some easy, and some difficult. Everything changes and I’ve tried to adapt as well as I possibly could. Things change, but one thing has always stayed the same. God has been with me through it all.
No matter what decision I have made, He has brought me to this, and He will bring me through it. God is always there, and allows for me to be where I am, He is constant, and He has a plan for my life.

Trusting in Him with every aspect of my life will always be the best decision I can make every day.

Monday, July 7, 2014

I LOVE Football!

This post has almost nothing to do with football, but the title is true none the less. I do love football. I think its a great sport. If there was only one sport I could work with for the rest of my life, it would be football. I never get tired of it. I think the athletes are great to work with. Its exciting. It is a great sport.

When I made the decision to withdraw from school, I automatically disqualified myself from the internship with the Green Bay Packers. Having already sent in my application, cover letter, and resume; I now had to send a "hey I'm withdrawing my candidacy" letter. Do those even exist? How do you even start one of those things? Believe me, you cannot google a template for that kind of letter like you can a cover letter. But I wrote one, from scratch, tears forming in my eyes as the letters formed on my computer screen. When I hit send, one by one they rolled down my face. Sometimes I choose not to feel or care about things, it's much easier. Knowing that I was essentially giving up on my dream was heartbreaking. This was something I had cared enough to focus 7 months of perfecting my resume and cover letter for, and just like that, the opportunity was gone. People have told me I just gave up, or stopped trying, my decision to withdraw was a long thought out and calculated decision. It was a difficult decision, but there was a lot of conflict throughout the process, but like I said before, it was the right decision. Although, at the time, sitting in front of my computer after sending an email to the Green Bay Packers, crying; it did not seem like the right decision.

But life continues on. I still work as a waitress at the North Ave. Grill. It's still a good job. I still like it. There's no time to stop and look back and say well I should have done this, or that would have made this better. Nope. I made that decision, its done, move on, the day doesn't pause for you to look back and rearrange things so that everything is the way you wanted. You have to continue on when plans don't work out, when all your plans, goals, and expectations are tossed in the trash, you can't stop and wonder why it didn't work out the way you wanted. Believe me, where I am now in my life is not where I ever anticipated I would be. I wouldn't even have anticipated being here four or five months ago. My life had been moving, had been going somewhere. Then I stopped. Life didn't stop. I stopped. I got comfortable, I stopped challenging myself, I stopped dreaming or making goals. I didn't care. It is what it is, I'm a waitress….thats it. Theres nowhere else to go and I didn't care enough to change it.

Now…I'm trying to register for EMT courses, which is proving more difficult that I thought it would. But I'm excited. I want to be in these classes. I want to get my EMT licensure. Because I LOVE football. Because I LOVE to help people. That is what I do. I can put aside anything thats going on in my life and focus all my energy in helping another. Thats ok with me, and I LOVE to do it. Theres an adrenaline rush that comes from fast-thinking and fast-acting skills that would be necessary for an athletic trainer or an EMT. I want that. And I want to help people.

So I can't work with the Green Bay Packers as an athletic trainer. Nobody said I can't move to Green Bay and work as an EMT. An EMT that covers the Green Bay Packers football games. This is what I want to do…help people…and watch football. Lots of football :D

Friday, February 14, 2014

Life Chances and Life Changes

Well since my last post a lot has changed in my life. Over the summer I worked in the UWM athletic training room, inconsistently, but I was there working on my skills and enjoying athletic training again. When the fall semester started I began working with the Brookfield East High School athletics. I absolutely loved working at the high school. There was an energy there, and I absolutely enjoyed it. I was excited to be there and looked forward to each day I got to be.

I also began a new job after having hours cut at my previous job, I began waiting tables at the North Ave. Grill. I absolutely loved it. The job came at just the right time after losing hours at my other job. I still work there and have enjoyed getting to know the staff and customers. Its a great place, and much better than my other job.

The semester and classes dragged on and soon I felt the same feelings I had experienced the previous semester. The excitement was gone during classes, I did not enjoy going to classes, I began to feel anxiety going to class. The only aspects of the semester I enjoyed were seeing my classmates and going to the high school for their sporting events. My grades again began to decline and I soon began to wonder if I had made the right decision to continue on.

Over the summer I had worked with one of the faculty members at UWM in order to apply for an internship with the Green Bay Packers. I soon began to realize that my reason for staying in school was solely to get the internship with the Packers. As much as I wanted that internship I questioned how much worth the internship had if I was completely unhappy with the route to get there. I was so set on the Green Bay Packer internship, but through a series of events I was informed that I was expected to have almost 2 extra years of schooling before I could graduate instead of my anticipated half a year. There was very little explanation and after already completing a 4 year degree in a related field, I believed it to be unacceptable to go 6 years for a second degree. Especially in one where I had experience and a degree currently.

Halfway through the semester I made the very difficult decision to withdraw from the program and the university. I finished the semester but after much prayer and consideration of my future this was the best path to follow. Now my classmates are in their last semester before their internship and I am working as a waitress. I enjoy my job a lot, I am happy with my decision and believe it was the right one to make.

Now my sights are set on getting my Emergency Medical Technician certificate next fall and working as an EMT. In addition to that I plan on becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist as well as Functional Movement Specialist. Until then, I am enjoying my job, as well as my freedom from school.

The difficulty now is to not second guess. My goal was to work with the Green Bay Packers, and eventually go back to the Olympics. Now that is on hold, whether indefinitely or not I don't know. It's hard knowing where you want to be and not achieving that goal, especially after having success with others, such as going to the London Olympics and working there. Its hard to know what your goal was, and see others who are able to stick through and achieve a job that once you believed was the only thing you wanted to do. Certain dreams are fading away, or rushing away, without the chance of catching them, and new ones are hopefully developing. Theres still difficulty knowing that the dreams closest to your heart are gone.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Update 2: April 2nd, 2013

I can’t say that what you will read in this blog has a lot to do with my previous post and how I felt about Athletic Training. I began to feel like that prior to the events that I will share here. That being said the two are not mutually exclusive I’m sure.

I have a close family. I love my family with all my heart and would undoubtedly do anything for them.

Two months ago, I lost a man very dear to me, and although at the time I did not realize it, he had a big impact on my life.

My grandfather passed away in April after a long battle with lung issues. It was not unexpected as these problems had been long lasting, but losing someone you love is never easy. I had visited him a few times when I was able to over the weekends as he lived in Minnesota. The last time I visited before he started to quickly decline, he was able to walk to the kitchen and speak with us. The very last time I visited he was bed-ridden and could not carry a conversation.

He was a man I looked up to and respected. He was my grandpa. He was a big man with a loud laugh, lots of opinions, and stubbornness. But he was the best big, loud, opinionated, and stubborn man I know!

It’s nice to have someone who supports you, someone who follows your life and knows what is happening. Everyone wants someone who will ask you questions because they remembered your conversation the last time you saw them. That is the kind of grandpa I had, the one I knew that, if I called him, he would know what it was about, he would be able to encourage me without trying, because he just knew, and he believed in me.

When I told him what I was going to school for the first time he was nothing but supportive and even looked up what kind of career paths I could have. When I told him I had an internship with the USOC he looked up where it was and what kind of contacts he had, if any, and who was involved in the USOC. When I told him I was going BACK to school he was again extremely supportive, asked if I knew some of the people that he knew at UWM, and always talked about me getting in touch with his old professors. UWM was one school he went to and he said a few times to me how he would have liked to visit again. I can’t imagine how our conversations would have gone if I could have walked the UWM campus with him.

When I told him I was going to volunteer for the Summer Olympics he looked up what London was doing to provide security and safety, where the Olympic venues would be. He wanted to know where I was staying and how I would get to my volunteer venue. When he found out I would be working with wrestling, he looked up what wrestlers from the Midwest would be competing in the Olympics. He saved newspaper clippings for me to read about wrestling, he gave me names of wrestlers specifically from MN, just in case I ran into them. Despite his age, he was the only person I did not have to repeat myself to regarding my volunteer position and my anticipation as well as things that I was pursuing in my life. He always told me he was proud of me, he always told me I could make it, and he always always told me he loved me.

Now he’s gone. While I know he is praising his Lord in heaven, and I’m extremely happy and excited to see him there again, I miss him. Now when I talk about my life, even to family members, I have to repeat things frequently, and I have no one to talk about my plans with who understands. About this time I would be calling him to “check in” and let him know how classes ended up. No matter how my semester went he would say, “You can do it toots.” I had plans and goals that he was a part of helping me to create.

I love him with all my heart and will miss him with all my heart. Despite him being gone and not having his unfailing encouragement, there are things I need to achieve because they are plans that he and I made together. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Long Overdue Update: Part 1 (It's a long one)

The last time I wrote a post was during the fall semester in 2012. Now the spring semester of 2013 has finished and although I cannot say a lot has happened there is a lot to say.

I have always been someone who likes to push limits. Growing up, if my parents said no you can't I would test them just to see how much I COULD. I always did the opposite. My parents knew that if they wanted me to eat my broccoli all they had to say was "Shayla, don't you dare eat that broccoli." Being the child that I was I would "defiantly" stuff all the broccoli in my mouth while looking at my parents with a satisfied and, what I thought to be, rebellious face. 
This characteristic has stayed with me, although some days it is repressed and intentionally put away compared to other traits I have. However, this particular characteristic is what I contribute much of my experiences to in my pursuits in Athletic Training. If my professor had not told me originally that my internship had to be in state I would not have pursued the internship with the United States Olympic Committee. If I had not been told that I could not volunteer for the Summer Olympics of 2012 for the US, I would not have pursued other options to be involved in those Olympics.

So with all that pursuit in advancing my career and “pushing the limits” what happens when there are no longer any limits to push? Do you make new goals when all your efforts focused on one thing? Where do you put your energy?

From an academic perspective this semester was difficult. My motivation disappeared, and, although the semester is finished I do not think it has come back yet. I was not struggling early in the semester, but once spring break came and went so did my semester. I began to struggle with focusing, studying, and doing homework. I did not want to be working in the athletic training room, but enjoyed talking to the athletes. Despite enjoying talking with them I did not really want to be helping athletes and “putting in hours”.

Eventually I made an appointment with one of my professors and as I walked down the hall to meet him, I had every intention of dropping out of the program. I had my reasons and they made sense, ultimately I was burnt out and did not want to put the effort into my recovery. I have a degree in kinesiology and could get a job, anything would have been better than constantly being tired, unhappy, and having anxiety as soon as I pulled into the parking lot at UWM. When I reached the office of my professor all of these things had run through my head and I was determined. The conversation ended up going in a completely different direction of course. My professor and I spoke about the future, something I had not thought about and did not want to think about. My class schedule for next semester, my rotation assignment for the fall, and internship possibilities were all discussed during this meeting. Leaving the office I had said nothing of what I had planned, I was still in the UWM Athletic Training Education Program, and had minimally restored motivation.

I now had goals. When thinking about things that I had accomplished I realized that although I hate making goals, I work quite well when I have something to strive for. These goals are not pushing any limits, that I can see, but they are things that I will have to work very hard to accomplish. I still do not want to be in school, I still do not want to go to classes, so good thing its summer, but I do want to be in athletic training, despite my current unexplained apprehension towards it.

Sometimes we struggle, sometimes there are barriers, and sometimes we doubt everything we have ever done. There are no clear answers, no yellow brick roads to take us to where we want to be, and for some people; there will be every possible obstacle placed in front of them just to prove how strong they are, how much they want something, and where they place their faith. The result, goal, or final destination will not always be the thing to get to. How we react to these obstacles and situations will either benefit the end result or deter it.

I have been taught that in everything I am to lean on God. While I firmly believe that with all my heart, it is not something that comes easy for any person who believes in God. It’s a daily decision, a conscious effort, and a matter of the condition of the heart. So many times already this year I have failed, and have chosen to fail, in relying on God for all my needs. I see and feel the difference between when I trust God and when I do not. This is not something that suddenly I realized or something that hit me “like a bolt of lightening”, I have known to place my trust in God my whole life, and during this time of questioning and doubt I knew to do this, I also chose not to. I was tired of trying and tired of failing. I know and have experienced the difference between relying on God and dismissing Him and it is much better for me to rely on Him.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. FOR WHILE WE WERE STILL WEAK, AT THE RIGHT TIME CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY.” Romans 5:1-6

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Busy Times

Now that I have been back at school and the Olympics are long over, maybe it is time to update everyone on what my life has been like post-Olympics. In my head I created a "spin-off" blog that focuses more on the profession of Athletic Training and things that stand out to me in my coursework, but after evaluating the amount of time I have available to blog versus study and work I realized that the idea would have to wait.
The UWM ATEP certainly keeps you busy, especially if you want to succeed and do well. I'm taking 18 credits this semester, which seems to be a lot to people, but in all honesty one course is a Ballet class which does not require much else than dancing. My athletic training courses keep me busy. I constantly need to be reading my textbooks, which I fail at more often than not, as well as practicing what I'm learning in class, which I do. I am much more interested and motivated to do the hands on side of my courses than anything else, which is not always a good thing.
Since my return from the Olympics I have done 2 more interviews for UWM and one little "blurb" for my work; the Milwaukee Ballet. The UWM interviews were for the Alumni magazine, as well as the website. For the website I did a video interview where I worked with an athlete and answered the questions of the staff who were interviewing me. I was nervous but overall I think it turned out well. If you are interested in seeing it you can follow this link:

I had never done a video interview prior to this, that I can recall, so it was an exciting experience.

Hopefully those were the last of my interviews to do. I find myself wishing for more time throughout  the day and I also have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to excel. This is for a few reasons, one because I need to, and two because these interviews are public and I feel more pressure to do well now that this story is "in the public". So many people still don't know me, but is seems like a big deal to have a video, and I want to represent the sponsors who made if possible for me to go to the Olympics and UWM's Athletic Training Program well.

Hopefully in the near future I will have more free time to keep a better update on this blog, I wouldn't want it to go to waste just because the Olympics are finished for this year. Now my sites are set on RIO 2016!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Withdrawal and the Future???

It's all over. London seemed very quiet and contained the last two days of my visit. What do you do when everything you prepared and hoped for has come to an end? Where do you put your energy and excitement when there's no expected event?

The past year has been filled with preparations for this trip, along with school and work, but my excitement and anticipation was building for the sole purpose of being involved in the Olympics. Now it's finished.

There isn't anything else I would have rather done with the last two weeks, and if I was asked to do it again I would not hesitate, but now it's done. The thing I look forward to every two years, Olympics (whether summer or winter), is done and to have been a part of one has been invaluable.

I met other volunteers from all over the world, I made great friends, I saw new things, I learned about sports that I had minimal experience with and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I miss the Olympics, I miss London, and I miss my friends in London. I'm going through withdrawal. Now on the plane ride home I think about life and what's ahead for me. There's no doubt in my mind that I want to have a career in athletic training, that has most definitely not changed and if anything that decision has become more concrete, even if I have to be in school for 5 more years, although unlikely, I will become an athletic trainer.

But what will I do along the way to that goal? The Olympic winter games will take placed in Sochi in 2014. Should I add winter sports to my experience? Will I take time and money to learn to speak Russian in order for this to be possible? It's a good idea and one that I entertain on a daily basis, volunteering has its rewards, but although I need experience in the winter games they do not fall at a
convenient time like the summer games do. Unless I will have graduated from UWM by that time.

I also was fortunate to make a contact who works for the Commonwealth games. These are something I didn't even now existed until I volunteered at the test event. Quite honestly I'm not confident trying to explain it, I understand it to be a mini Olympics that happens halfway through the "off" time for the summer games. But I don't know what sports and countries participate. Anyways, if I were to get the opportunity to have a paid job, through my contact, at these sporting events I would have to take time off and move to where they are taking place, which is Glasgow. I've never been there and I think that
opportunity would be invaluable but then that brings up the topic of school. I will most likely have to take time off of my courses in order to take a job there.

Which brings up another question. If I were to get a job at the Commonwealth games would it be possible for me to add/take a course in Europe that would add to my current and future degrees and allowed me to practice as a physiotherapist in the UK? The UK does not have the career of athletic training, as far as I am aware, but if I would take just one or two courses that allowed me to be a physio
in Europe then what would stop me from taking time off from my courses at Uwm, moving to Glasgow, if I got a job for the Commonwealth games, and take courses there while working? 

So many questions, so many feelings and emotions, and I'm still over water. I haven't even landed in the U.S. yet!!!