Tuesday, December 13, 2016

One Year Later

I am currently writing this from the "dormitory" of Hartland Fire Department. I have now worked here for over a year as an EMT-Basic, and have added Firefighter to my job title here as of August of this year.

One year can change a lot. Over a year ago or so I had withdrawn from the athletic training program at UWM and began my pursuit of an EMS career. On completion of the EMT Basic program at Waukesha County Technical College, I began applying for Fire Department positions. Now here I am, working as an EMT AND a firefighter, currently in school to be licensed as a paramedic. Once that is completed I will hopefully find a position as a full time firefighter/paramedic on a fire department.

If you had told me, back when I volunteered for the olympics, that I would end up being a firefighter and passionate about working on a fire department, I would not have believed you. But here I am. I am passionate about it, more than I was athletic training. I enjoy it, it keeps me on my toes, and it always teaches me something.

The field of athletic training is far behind me. And while I loved it while I was in it, I would never go back. Except to maybe sit on the sidelines for a football game.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

5 Seconds

There are some emotions that you can't allow to take over. Anger, sadness, anxiety, fear, etc. Other emotions, happiness, joy, those ones can consume you, and theres nothing wrong with that. Its impossible not to experience emotions good or bad, and it isn't wrong to experience them, but you cannot let them run you or control you. When the negative emotions come in you can't let them control you. I do my best for that to not happen, sometimes its easier than difficult, sometimes you can't take a step back to re-evaluate and reset. Sometimes the negative emotions just stay and then you're lost, you don't know what you planned on doing, you can't determine the best decision, everything either slowly or quickly spirals downward and there is very little that you can do to stop or control once that happens. There is a reason for this paragraph, I promise.

This week I have been filling out fire department job applications, copying information and documents, and dropping them off. Well, attempting to drop them off. Yesterday I tried to drop off my first application at the first fire department. TRIED. I left determined, completely planning to drop off applications with confidence, and ready to get a job. Then it happened. I turned onto the street the fire department was on and I started to get scared. I don't know of what, anxious maybe is a better description, but fear was still there. I slowed down as I came up to the department, turned my indicator on, looked at the building, and drove past. Very, very slowly, but I did not turn in. I didn't go and drop my application off to that department. 5 seconds.


5 seconds is usually how long I let those negative emotions in. It isn't a good feeling to have those negative emotions, like I said, they can spiral down, and that stinks. Who wants that? I certainly don't. Thats why I do my best to put a limit on how long I let those experiences go. I don't want those emotions to rule my actions, to control what I do or don't do. Yesterday in 5 seconds, my fear allowed me to drive past an opportunity, past something I have wanted to do for so long. Of course there is no guarantee that I would/will get a job on that department. But dropping off an application would be the first step in that direction. But because of what I felt when I turned onto that road I became incapable of stopping to complete that step.

As soon as I drove past I felt stupid, ridiculous even! What did I just do?! I don't let fear do that to me. Sure I feel fear, anticipation, anxiety, but I push through it. And yesterday I didn't. That's not me. So then I thought, "Oh man better turn around, Shayla you are doing this. You have to drop that application off." Because that's what I do, I follow things through. But I didn't, I kept driving. So then I turned up my music and sang. Rend Collective, a Christian group from Ireland, they are wonderful. They have great music, and quite easy for me to sing along to. I started talking to God as I drove. He listens. And I can say anything. He quickly calmed me down and I was on the route to the next fire department on my list. I turned onto this road determined now. I needed this to be a successful drive with successful stops. And after those moments of fear, anxiety, maybe some doubt thrown in there; I dropped off my first application to a Fire Department.

Now I'm over that hump, second application dropped off today. Negative emotions, not always the greatest, overcoming them, always best to turn to God. He has a plan for everything, He know everything I'm feeling.

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