One Class, One Dream

November 26, 2011
By , Myerstown, PA
The smell of graduation lingered through the hallways. The commonly known disease that somehow ends up destroying all sense of motivation known as “senior-itis” kicked in full throttle. And along with the senior year laziness, one motto held true in every senior’s mind; make the last semester of high school as easy as possible. Oops, did I say every student? Correction; every student except for me, who somehow never got nor understood the decision to make the last few months of school a piece of cake.

No, instead of filling my time with simple elective classes or long study halls, I took a challenging and time consuming EMT class, which most students never thought twice about for their senior year. You may wonder why I voluntarily put myself through the stress, tears, and hours of taking a class of that amplitude, but it is that class that changed my life forever.

It all started with a small brochure sent in the mail and a big dream of helping others every waking day. I signed up determined to work hard, learn a lot, and get a big jump start on my future career in health care. And even though my last few months of my senior year did not include strolling the halls, sleeping in class, and slacking on homework, I, for not one second, regret taking the class and becoming a certified emergency medical technician.

The class included an 80- minute period Monday through Friday during the normal school day, as well as two to three nights a week for about four hours each. Add this to a varsity sport, applying for colleges, and still maintain my other class, results in a pretty demanding schedule.
The class involved lecture and practical portions. We sat through lectures, took notes, and studied for tests, but then also physically learned how to care for an injury or illness in an emergency situation. We not only learned how to notice the obvious signs that stood out, but also how to train our minds to think clinically in a fast pace scenario. Every day provided a new opportunity for the students to go “on-call” and experience a real life emergency with a licensed paramedic.

When the day arrived and I had the opportunity to participate on a call, I was absolutely thrilled. As the paramedic and I raced out to the parking lot to his emergency vehicle, my heart leaped like it never did before. Excitement, anxiousness, and curiosity boiled inside of me. This feeling truly defined an adrenaline rush. As the sirens rang, and the speed limit increased, I could not help but smile, because I now got just the slightest taste of what critical health care feels like.

In that moment, I finally made my concrete decision not to sit at a desk every day, answer phones for a living, or work simply to punch a time card at the end of a 10- hour shift. I want my life sacrificed, so that others may have the chance to sacrifice theirs for someone else. I want to close my eyes every night knowing that my life has purpose; the purpose of remembering those who have lost everything. Time, busy schedule, bills, and dates do not matter to those that struggle every day to breathe. Luxuries in life that healthy individuals indulge in, act as day to day obstacles that someone lying in a bed faces alone. Yes, it may be a bumpy ride, and at some points I may want to give it all up. But those 5% doubts have no comparison to the 95% satisfaction of knowing my life might provide another day to see a wife, a son, a niece, a birth for someone else.

My EMT class taught me that hard work always pays off and that a challenge is not meant to be ignored, but embraced. The quote, “the purpose of life, is a life full of purpose” should fuel every person’s desire to embrace life and make it a goal to find purpose in those lives that have lost all beauty and joy through the wicked hand of disease and sickness.





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