Westport 11-27-2010

It will be about four to six weeks till we find out how we did on the written exam for EMT-Basic, which was held last week in Lewis. You'll be happy to know that there were two other people from Westport who took the exam. One of them, like me, had taken the class for the first time, while the other is an experienced EMS provider who was recertifying. Both are also firefighters. Other communities represented in the class included E'town, Essex, Keene Valley, Keeseville, Crown Point, Ti, Schroon Lake, and Newcombe. Many of those students are in their respective fire departments, too.

It felt strange to leave, knowing that class was over. It will certainly be nice to have my evenings freed up after five months. No question, we were all getting a little stressed out keeping up the schedule of three hour classes twice a week. But there's definitely also a bit of a letdown, too.

When class started way back in June, I remember walking in and sitting down in a room full of strangers. We sat there and listened to the lectures and looked at the slides, each of us in our own little bubble.

Then, after a few weeks, we started doing scenarios and practicals-exercises in which we formed up into small teams and began training together. At first, we were hesitant and awkward. No one wanted to go first. Going first invariably meant screwing up in front of everyone else and feeling stupid.

Gradually, we all realized how much we were learning every time we screwed up, and that it wasn't about the feeling stupid part at all. It was about the learning part. In the end, we didn't worry so much about going first. We were focused more on each other and the "patient," and less on ourselves. Under the guidance and leadership of our teacher, Patty Bashaw, we had become a team. When I first sat down in that roomful of strangers, I would never have guessed how much I would end up missing my friends in EMS class.

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