Amanda Dorough | The Beautiful Journey


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Wrapping Up P-School

P-School aka Paramedic School aka the hardest year of my life thusfar, is officially over, well the school part at least.  I still have my internship to do, and my exit exam, and my national exam…. but that’s neither here no there.  The sense of freedom I feel now that class is over and there’s no more homework or clinicals is absolutely incredible. Incredible I tell you!

For those of you that are blissfully unaware of what this journey was like, well let me try to sum it up for you…

Photo May 05, 12 10 10 AM

Ok, maybe that’s being a little dramatic, but it was really, really hard.

I will also take this moment for a public education moment.  See ladies and gentlemen, there is a difference between an EMT and a Paramedic (I know, most of you are probably thinking mind blown right now).  I’ll forgive you for not knowing this fact considering most of the population as NO CLUE and I myself didn’t know there was a difference 5 years ago.  Yes they both work in an ambulance but the real difference comes in skill-level and training.  It took me exactly 1 semester (approx 150 hrs) to become an EMT (in Alaska EMT 1 in the entire country they’re called EMT-Basic).  As an EMT you can do basic life saving stuff and it’s all fine and dandy in many cases.  Paramedic’s on the other hand possess a scary amount of medical knowledge, can do some pretty insane procedures (surgical cricothyroidotomy anyone?), and deal with a ton of medications.  Also, when all is said and done a Paramedic degree is like 2000 hrs or something, and that’s on top of the EMT- Basic hours since you have to have that cert before even thinking of applying to Paramedic School.  So ya, there you have it in a nutshell, EMTs and Paramedics are different.

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Top: My EMT 1 Class, Fall Semester 2014; Bottom: My EMT 2 Class Spring Semester 2015. Alaska has 3 levels of EMTs before you get to Paramedic.

Ok, back to the topic at hand.  I can still remember the first day of Paramedic school last August vividly.  My class of 11 all showed up with our crisp new uniforms and blank notebooks ready to learn.  Fast forward 11 months later and our uniforms are tattered (I seriously have holes in my job skirt aka sweatshirt) and faded, we have dark circles under our eyes, and there are coffee stains on pretty much every piece of paper we deal with.

Paramedic school literally wrecks you.  But at the same time my medical knowledge base now compared to a year ago is insane.  It’s a pretty cool feeling when all of the cogs in your brain click and you suddenly understand why your body does the things it does.

While classroom time was like at least 75% of the program, those hours of lectures were also supplemented with clinicals.  During fall and spring semester we were in class 4 hrs a day M-Th then in the summer semester that changed to 8hr days M-W, leaving weekends, aka what everyone else calls break-time and uses to do fun things, like sleep for example, for us to get a crap-load of clinicals done, and by crapload I mean somewhere around 15 a semester.  I spent countless days riding around with different fire departments, but even more than that I spent what felt like endless hours in places like the Emergency Room, ICU, Cath Lab, OR, Pediatrics and my personal favorite (or not) OB.  Ya that’s right, if I could go through my entire career as a Paramedic and not have to birth any babies I would be OK with it.

Beyond that I think pictures speak the most words for me, so I’ll let some photos from this past year do the talking…

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The UAA Paramedic Program is split onto two campuses, Matsu, which is North of Anchorage, and Kenai, which is where I went. In September we all came together in Anchorage to get clinical orientations at the sites there. This picture was taken outside of a Anchorage Fire Department Station.

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In the fall we spent a lot of time going over airway skills. These pictures are from our “Airway Races” where each of our platoons (our class was broken into 3) completed against eachother.

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In the Fall we got custom shirts made for Breast Cancer Awareness month. I designed the graphic on the back so it was a pretty proud moment.

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In February the Matsu campus came down to work on Cardiac Mega Codes and ACLS with us.

Then summer semester is when things started to get really fun.  We’d been working on medical issues/treatment all year so we finally got to do some Trauma scenarios…

Photo May 29, 4 36 29 PM

Working some trauma scenarios in our vehicle simulator outside of the school.

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Learning some high angle rescue skills with the Nikiski Fire Department. This was before we were belayed to 60 ft in the air…

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While we are NOT “Ambulance Drivers” learning to drive the ambulance and get CEVO certified is still a necessary skill.

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Extrication training with Central Emergency Services.  Nothing like using the jaws of life to make you feel like a bada**.  In this pic we’re all sitting in a van we cut the roof off.

So there you have it, like 10 of at least 1000 photos from the year, but I did say summary right?  If not we would be here all night!

Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, as I mentioned before I still have my internship left to do, so I’ll be spending 2 months this fall just outside of Houston, TX, putting all my paramedic skills to work and probably dying of heatstroke considering Alaska has ruined me forever.  Then afterwards I’ll come back to Soldotna, take all my final tests and hopefully find a job and actually have money again.  Hooray!

So there you have it, P-school in a very small nutshell.  Thanks for coming along for the ride with me everyone!


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Currently

Well hello there, it’s been awhile.  Looking at the blog, the last time I wrote was in April, not because there hasn’t been anything to write about, but because writing takes energy and unfortunately that’s something I’m running a little short on these days.

To catch you up a bit, the school year ended at the end of April and instead of going back to Washington for the summer to visit family and friends I opted to stay in Alaska to work and save money.  While it was difficult to not go home, even for a visit, staying in Alaska really was the best decision.  I was able to work full time at the front desk and doing media work for the Residence Hall here at KPC and I was able to enjoy an Alaskan summer, which I must say really agrees with me.  It’s not to hot and not to cold and a whole bunch of beautiful.

The first week of May I finished my basic firefighter training with our local fire department and officially started pulling shifts as a volunteer in July.  While call volumes are usually light I feel like the experience I’ve gained these last couple months truly is invaluable, and it gets me even more excited for my future in EMS.

July held many adventures.  My parents came up for a visit and I spent the week showing them around the Kenai Peninsula.  They both loved it and I’m pretty sure my dad would have stayed if my mom would have let him.  I also splurged a bit and went whitewater rafting on 6 Mile Creek with friends.  It was frigid and exhilarating.  We tackled class III, IV and V rapids and only fell out once!

In July I also officially entered a new decade, 30.  It’s hard to believe my 20’s are behind me, and I’m sometimes sad to see the things I wanted but didn’t accomplish, but then I remember the incredible things I did do (graduate from college, move overseas, travel the world…) and I realize life isn’t so bad.  Now I can’t wait to see what my 30’s will hold.

Summer 2015

(Some pictures from summer.  Clockwise from left: Caines Head Hike, Seward; Fire Training;
Brown bear near Cooper Landing; In Seward with Mom & Dad; Misty day in Cooper Landing;
White water rafting; The View from Fort McGilvray on Caines Head; The 4 summer RA’s ready
to escape to Seward for Labor Day weekend; Fish & Chips with Mom and Dad in Homer;
We finished the Color Run!; Residence Hall hike to Juneau Falls)

 

That brings me to CURRENTLY…

Currently I am in my 5th week of the UAA Paramedic Program.  This week we are reviewing how to do IV’s and administer medications.  Tomorrow I leave bright and early for Anchorage to spend the day with our sister campus out of Mat-Su to do orientations for clinical sites in the city.  Then, come October, clinical season officially begins and the little sliver of life I have now officially disappears.

Currently I am also working 20 hours a week for the school (in IT again & also doing media work for the ResHall) as well as pulling RA duties at the Residence Hall + training and the occasional shift with the fire department.  I’ve never been so glued to my planner in my life, but without it I would be totally lost.  I am busy, very, very busy.  Busier than I’ve ever been in my life, but thankfully I’ve staked out a few days in October, between clinicals where I have nothing planned.  I call these my “vacation from life”days and I am protecting them like a mama bear protects her cubs.  I’m going to sleep in, maybe watch some Netflix, or gasp, read a book for fun!  I guess we’ll see.  They’re still a few weeks away haha.

But, as busy as life is I’m incredible thankful for everything I have.  Right now it is a lot of work but I know in the end it will be so worth it.  I can’t say when the next time I’ll update the blog is, it may be to say “Horray! I’ve finished the paramedic program!” or it could be a lot sooner.  I guess we’ll see, but in the mean time any prayers for strength and the endurance to make it through this semester and the year are greatly appreciated!
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RAs

Our 2015/2016 RA Team
(P.S. Part of my job this summer was to design these shirts.  What do you think?)


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Catching Up

Hi all, how’s it going?  Long time no blog.  2015 thus far has been by far the busiest year of my life, it doesn’t look like things will slow down anytime soon and you know what?  I’m OK with that.

So let’s do a little catching up shall we?

Let me start with work, or what I refer to as my 3 jobs, yes you read that right 3 jobs and no that doesn’t include being a student.  As many of you know I was offered an RA (Resident Advisor) position in the KPC Residence Hall for the spring semester.  It is SO much work, more than I ever imagined but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  We have a total of 6 RA’s right now and we rotate duty days every week.  If my duty night falls on I week day I’m only on for 12 hours (8pm to 8am) but if it falls on a weekend that shift turns into 24 hours, and those 24 hours usually drag on.  Not being allowed to leave the ResHall during a shift can be both a blessing and a curse.  For some reason I always run out of something I need right at the moment I can’t go to the store, go figure.  But at the same time, not having the opportunity to run away, in theory should give me more time to get things done, although instead of doing homework I usually find myself on Netflix like your average 20 something… oops.

Aside from all the RA-ing I find myself doing, I also work at the helpdesk in my schools IT department (the same job I had last semester) aka job #2, as well as spending several hours a week doing media work for the ResHall (updating the website, taking pictures, making flyers, posting to facebook) aka job #3.  When you do the math all of this essentially equals up to a full-time job, which yes, after many years of being in the workforce and working full-time I am used to, but tack that on to being a full-time student and things start to get tricky.

Which brings me to that whole student thing.  I’m taking 13 credits this semester, nothing compared to the 18 credits I usually took a semester in college the first time around, but when you’re used to not having homework, like ever, it feels like a whole, whole lot.  My EMT 2 class officially starts tomorrow, meaning Monday-Friday I now have no downtime, but wait it gets even more complicated!  More one that in a minute but first let me make a quick caveat because…

I’m now not only a certified EMT in Alaska, I’m a Nationally Certified EMT (NREMT)!  Most of my classmates took the test back in December right after we finished EMT-I but, because I went back to WA for Christmas I had to delay my test a little bit.  I originally was going to take it in January right after I got back but I put it off and put it off and put it off.  You know how that goes.  I finally scheduled the test and took it in my schools learning center last Monday.  To be honest when I finished I was convinced I had failed.  It’s the type of test that can have more than one right answer and you have to choose which one is the best.  It was stinking hard to say the least but the next day I got my results back and I had passed!  That was a huge load off of my shoulders and I couldn’t be more excited.

Ok now back to why life is getting even more complicated.  When I first got back to school in January I saw signs posted around the ResHall that Central Emergency Services (CES) our local fire and rescue department was looking for volunteers.  I went back and forth on whether I wanted to apply for it because with everything else going on I didn’t know if I would be able to handle it too.  I decided to go to the informational meeting they held at the beginning of February just to check it out and I left that meeting wanting to be a volunteer more than anything.  I put in my application and last Thursday had my physical agility test and interview.  I found out Monday that I got a position and start fire training sometime next month!  If I wasn’t already busy enough right?  But gosh, to be able to start working now in a position I want to be my career will be amazing.  I can’t wait!

So there we are, all caught up.  This coming week is spring break, and while I wish I was going somewhere fun and exotic, I’ll instead be working full-time.  My friend Kirsten and I have a couple of day trips planned around the area, but with an arctic blast heading our way it’s looking like spring break will be chilly indeed!EMT

 Horray! I’m an EMT!

Met. Redoubt

A view of Mt. Redoubt from the school.  It was tough leaving Mt. Rainier behind but Redoubt is pretty stinking beautiful.  You would never guess there’s the whole Cook Inlet between us.

Extras

They’re going to be filming a big budget Hollywood movie in Whittier over the next couple months so we headed up to Anchorage a couple Sunday’s ago in the ResHall van to try our luck at becoming extras for the movie.  Fingers crossed!

Moulage

Kirsten and I got a chance to volunteer to be victims in the final drill for a recent CERT class last weekend.  The moulage person didn’t show up so we got to do our own.  Considering the tools we had were very limited I was pretty proud of what I did.  I even got a piece of “shrapnel” to stick out of my forehead.  So much fun!

RA board

Every month the RA’s have to make a new educational bulletin board in our quad.  This was my board for February.  I think it turned out fairly well 🙂


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Savoring My Season

Hi y’all it’s been awhile, I know, but I’m alive, yay!

Things have quickly changed up here.  The leaves turned and were on the ground within a week and since then it’s just gotten progressively colder each day.  Like bitterly cold.  It was 14 degrees last week y’all, brrr.  It’s going to be a long winter.

Being back in college is hard, I can’t lie.  Tests and homework and roommates….  There were times in the last 7 years when I really, really missed school.  I know crazy right?  I mean, as my senior year of college wrapped up I absolutely couldn’t wait to be done with school, FOREVER.  This is something I distinctly remember, but still, as the longs days of class and nights filled with homework became distant memories I thought “hmmm, maybe I should go back to school again.”  Obviously, as I’ve stated before becoming a paramedic is something I’ve wanted for years but I actually considered going back to school several times to pursue several different avenues, studying Egyptology in Egypt is still one of my favorites.

Surprisingly I don’t hate tests and homework this time around, maybe it’s because I finally know what I want to do with my life?  Or maybe it’s because I’m not bogged down with 18 credits, not sure, but it really isn’t so bad.  That said I am still counting down the days until Christmas Break (37 days!) although it kinda terrifies me at the same time considering I have my EMT certification tests right before I fly home.  I mean, I’m sure I’ll do fine, but its scary none the less.

Moving away from class and homework and all things academic, I really am liking living here in Alaska.  While my specific living situation is less than ideal many days (long story, not for a blog), I do really like living in the KPC Residence Hall and have managed to find myself a small group of great friends.  We’re together so often others have come to call us “the elite 4” but we prefer to call ourselves “The Pevensies” (ala “The Chronicles of Narnia”) since no, we are not elitists.   Nights are usually filled with card games, late night runs to the store for ice cream, playing Wallyball or watching shows on the big TV out in our common area.  So far we’ve polished off “Sherlock” (and I’m tearing out my hair at the thought of having to wait another year for a new episode!) and now we’re working on “Warehouse 13” via Netflix.  If you haven’t seen it you totally should!  The pilot was absolute garbage but it’s gotten really good I must admit, and we can’t just sit an watch one episode at a time, we need to do at least 2 preferably 3.

We also try to have adventures as best as we can.  Things really close down/seal up around here after the tourist season ends but we manage to have a good time.  Recent adventures have included a bonfire at Kirsten’s moms house to roast hot dogs/marshmallows and burn Keevens disgusting shoes (they were real bad, trust me), a road trip to explore the beach up at Captain Cook Park, swimming at the Nikiski pool and a short jaunt to Girdwood for dinner (ya, Girdwood is a  2 hour drive…).  To be fair, after getting dinner we did run up to Alyeska to play in the snow and get a bit of our Narnia fix.  Totally worth it.

So there you have it, life thus far.  Not terribly exiting and not a lot to report on but so good none the less.  A year ago I would have never guessed I’d be here, and while each season has it’s challenges this one has been pretty sweet thus far and I’ve been happy to take a step back and really try to enjoy it.

Now if only it would snow, because lets be honest, the bitter cold and ice is getting old, and this Washington girl wants to go sledding!

And of course, what would a post be without pictures?  Keeven is a bit a of a selfie maniac so I have plenty to choose from like…

Lake night Ice Cream escapades to Safeway for Moosetracks!

Ice cream with friendsRoad tripping to Girdwood (R-L: Keeven, Kirsten, Me and Tobin)

Roadtrip to Girdwood

Building a mini snowman at Alyeska on our road trip adventure.

Roadtrip to Girdwood

Before I came up I found these fun photobooth props on clearance at Target so of course we had to play with the whilst singing “What does the Fox Say?”

friends

Oh and a picture from the Halloween dance at the Residence Hall last week.  I don’t have many pictures since I was the one behind the camera most of the time, but here’s Keeven and I, we were both Unicorns…

Halloween

And finally, a picture of a moose, because I feel like this is very Alaskan and I took this picture from my bedroom window.  There are so many moose y’all, it’s crazy!

moose

Fin


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Home Sweet…Dorm

I’ve made it through my first two weeks of college… again.

I’ll admit, I was a bit apprehensive.  After not having class schedules, homework, assigned reading, notes etc. for more than 7 years I wasn’t sure how this would go, but go it did, and it’s not so bad.  I love my EMT class and my Anatomy and Physiology class is tolerable.  I can definitely get used to this whole 10 credits/semester thing (the first time around I always took the max, which was usually 18 credits).

Really the point of this blog post today is nothing exciting or heavy.  The main reason is to give my family/friends back home a glimpse of the place I live, and then a secondary reason is to give anyone like me, who is thinking of living in the Resident Hall here at KPC but lives to far away to visit a glimpse of what they could be getting themselves into.

So, without further ado, let the tour commence!

I must be honest, the idea of living in the dorms again was scary to me.  As I mentioned before, I’ve done the whole dorm thing already, all 4 years of my bachelors degree in fact.  So, at 29, the idea of moving into a dorm with a bunch of 18 year olds was obviously unappealing.  I mean, what would we have in common?  It turns out I didn’t need to worry though.  While yes there are 18 year olds in the dorm there are also 40 year olds.  It’s not a traditional dorm setting in any way.  In fact there are a lot of differences between the dorms here at KPC and the dorms I’ve lived in before, for better and for worse.

To start things off there are blackout curtains on the windows (perfect for summers and afternoon naps) and there is ambient floor heat (perfect for cold winter days and walking around barefoot).  This was one of the first features pointed out to me when I arrived and I knew I would like this place.

The resident hall is located just across the street from the Kenai Peninsula College (hereafter referred to as KPC) campus, and, fortunately, the campus is pretty small so I can be to any class in less than 5 minutes if needed.

The dorm building itself is a big L shape with the hub of activity located right at the intersection of the two wings.

Kenai Peninsula College DormsWalking toward the dorms from campus.  The parking lot is to the right.  My room is in the long wing going towards the left, on the second floor and on the opposite side of the building.

Kenai Peninsula College DormsWildflower garden outside of the dorm that adds a nice pop of color.  I’ll be sad when these are gone.

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

Kenai Peninsula College DormsNo dorm names needed around here to keep things straight, there’s only one dorm so “student housing” is more than sufficient.

When you walk through the front doors the front desk is immediately to your left and the stairs/elevator to the right.  If you keep going forward you hit the multi purpose room and then the Fireplace commons where there’s tons of seating and a huge TV (as well as a fireplace as the name suggests).  There’s been several nights where I’ve walked by and found various dorm-mates playing board games or watching a movie here.

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

Turn around and you’ve found our “mail room,” announcements board and one of many recycling stations found all over the dorms.

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

When you walk up the stairs you reach a landing with a pool table, ping-pong table and vending machines.  The machine in the middle even sells microwave dinners, although I doubt I will ever be desperate enough to shell out $5 for one.  Thank goodness I have a car!

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

Also on the second floor is our laundry room with free, that’s right FREE laundry (although I’m sure the cost is included in our rent).  Back in my Liberty U days I would often have to carry my laundry basket around campus, my pocket full of quarters, searching for a free washing machine, now I just have to walk down the hall, PTL!

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

And right next to the laundry room is the gym.  It’s simple, just a few cardio and weight machines, but for this poor “college kid” this thing is golden!

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

Because we don’t have the ability to organize dorms into different “halls” based on separate floors like many other schools the KPC dorms are instead separated into communities, most of which focus on a specific interest of the people living in them.  For example there is the Academic Excellence Community, the Alaska Native Community, The Substance Free Community etc.  I live in what is known as the Emergency Response Community, so, anyone with medical/legal interests (i.e.. nursing, paramedic, law enforcement) most likely lives in our community.

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms1. Right outside the gym we have this nifty Brita Hydration Station which I love since I forgot my pitcher back in Seattle. 2. Glimpses of the hallway. 3.  Next to each suite door there is a small bulletin board where announcements get posted.  Here’s one for a Nerf War they had in the dorms over Labor Day weekend.

Each community consists of 4 suites and an RA room all situated around a little sitting area.  Here is the sitting area in our community (we do have 4 chairs, but one disappeared…).  It’s a nice place to relax and watch TV, because yes, we do have cable (what?!), or should I say Direct TV.  The channels are really weird, 4.2, 55.8… who thought of that?  Why couldn’t they just stick with the regular 1,2,3,4 system?

KPC residence Hall

Outside of every door is a tag with the names of the students living inside.  Here’s the one for my apartment/suite.

KPC residence HallMaybe I forgot to mention the type of school I’m really going to.  At least I got sorted into the good house, no sorting hat needed 😉

Then, when you walk through our door this is what you see.  Our living room area is to the right, and kitchen to the left.  Straight ahead are two of the bedrooms. Mine is the first bedroom on the right.  We are also currently working on putting together a gallery wall above the kitchen table there.  The hope is to make it to look more like a home and less like a hotel room.

KPC residence Hall

Then, turn around and this is what you see.  We have a place to hang up coats etc. next to the door, there’s two more bedrooms/a bathroom straight ahead and then to the left you can see the utilitarian furniture we have in our living room.  It’s not pretty, but at least it’s not that uncomfortable.  We’re also brainstorming ideas right now for what to put on that big blank wall.  Pictures to come once it’s finished.

KPC residence Hall

And here’s our kitchen.  It’s a full kitchen with tons of storage space.  Not to shabby!

KPC residence Hall

Can you tell I have a love affair with the home section at Target?  I love, love, love everything Threshold!

KPC residence Hall

Now it’s time to see the bedroom, yay!  This is definitely my happy place.  It’s so bright and fun.  Having my own bedroom definitely makes living in the dorms worth it.  If I had to have a roommate I don’t know if I could do it.  Even though the bedrooms are tiny and storage is limited I just love my cozy little space.

KPC residence HallIt’s amazing what color can do.  The bedspread is from my trip to India way back on Semester at Sea, the rug I got on clearance at target (80% off!), and all of those pictures?  Ya they’re all stuck to the wall either using 3M strips or sticky tac.  Amazing the things we have to work with these days.

KPC residence Hall

KPC residence HallThe closet was kind of poorly designed.  They set the bar way to far forward, so I couldn’t close the curtain if I wanted to unfortunately.  Oh well, life goes on.

Oh, and here’s an interesting little tidbit.  We have to use a keycard to get into everywhere, and I mean everywhere, even my bedroom.  You flash it over the little black strip you see in the picture below to unlock the door.  It’s actually pretty interesting.  And the lights are super cool too.  They’re motion activated, so you push the little top button to turn them on and then after so many minutes if they don’t sense a movement they’ll start beeping.  This usually happens to me at night when I’m laying on my bed doing something, but to keep it from turning off I just move my leg real quick and it resets, otherwise, if I didn’t move after about 30 seconds of beeping they would just switch off.  Very energy-efficient.

KPC residence Hall

On to the bathroom!  When I walk out of my bedroom this is what I see.  There are two bathrooms in each suite, so I share this bathroom with my roommate Courtney.  The toilet/shower area is actually its own separate room so someone could be talking a shower and the other person could be brushing their teeth at the same time.  It’s great.

KPC residence Hall

The showers actually came with heavy-duty extra long shower curtains, but we found it didn’t quite stretch from side to side, so, since I’d brought a shower curtain with me we went ahead and hung it up in front of the other on, just to get a little extra coverage.  Well, that, and it’s prettier 🙂

KPC residence HallThe lack of storage in the bedrooms is definitely made up for.  In the bathroom there is a great little area to keep any extra things we might have and then there is also a linen closet in the hallway which has proven to be a great spot to store my luggage… and laundry detergent… and extra blankets… ya, 80% of the stuff you see in there is mine.

So there you have it, my little dorm home.  When I first applied to live in student housing (begrudgingly) I only thought I would stay for a semester.  Now, I’ll admit, I’m rethinking it.  Living in the dorms isn’t so bad after all.


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Announcement! Announcement!

You guys, I have a big announcement.  At least big in my books.

It’s something I’ve sat on and prayed over for many months.

It was a decision that was simultaneously really exciting and really terrifying.

It still terrifies me…

This has probably been one of my biggest tests of faith thus far.  It’s required a lot of trust and begrudgingly coming to the realization that sometimes things aren’t supposed to be crystal clear, plans aren’t supposed to by crystal clear, because that’s how we exhibit our real trust in God.

So what is this big announcement?  Why is it so terrifying?

Well…. I’m moving! Now I know you’re next question, where?  If you know me you’re probably imagining somewhere foreign and exotic.  South Africa possibly, or Turkey or Thailand?  Nope.

Still wondering?

Here you go, drumroll please…………….

Moving

……………….

………..

……

Alaska!That’s right, Alaska! Yay! The land of mountains and moose, bears and long dark winter days (but really sunny summers!).

Now I know the next questions to come to mind, when, where and why?

So, I’ll be living in the town of Soldotna, about 2.5 hours from Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula.  Theres no Walgreens, no Target and no malls.  It’s going to be different, but I’m Ok with different.

The why takes a little more to explain.

For years I’ve wanted to be a Paramedic.  I’ve attempted to pursue it on several occasions since graduating from college but other, awesome opportunities have always come up instead.  I’ve always accepted it, trusting in God’s timing.  There’s been a few points where I thought I might do something else, but I kept just coming back to EMT.  My heart skips a beat every time I see a fire truck or ambulance.  I just know it’s right.

Last year, when I started working for World Vision, I thought it would give me the perfect opportunity to do an EMT program at a local community college, but it became apparent pretty quickly that my schedule wouldn’t allow it.  Once again, something got in the way.  In hindsight though I realize just what God was doing, but I’ll get to that in a second.

Last fall I discovered the show Alaska State Troopers on Netflix and I just binge watched 3 seasons while working on various projects.  Because I like to research things I randomly googled EMT programs in Alaska, just to see if they existed or what they were like.  It was at this point I discovered that EMT/Paramedic programs run differently depending on the state.  Each type of program has it’s own merits, but this opened up a box of opportunities I never knew I had, the chance to find a program that really is right for me.  See, I’d always assumed I’d do a program in WA, since it’s home, but in WA EMT programs are certificate based then you have to work for a large amount of hours before even considering applying to a paramedic program.  In other states, like OR and AK, EMT programs are actually degree programs, meaning you’re eligible for financial aid.  They are also consecutive, meaning you can get everything done and be a full Paramedic in just over 2 years.  This was very appealing to me, so in January I started thinking of moving to go to school, then in March I started praying about going back to school, and finally in May I decided to take the plunge and apply to a school.

Oh that was a scary moment.

In the end I decided to apply to Kenai Peninsula College, a branch of the University of Alaska Anchorage.  First of all I chose it because they’ve been developing a pretty great Paramedic program, and the second reason, and this was huge, was that out of state tuition was waived. Yay for cheaper education!

When my acceptance letter and financial aid offer came in at the beginning of June I knew I had a lot to ponder and pray over.  This is where the whole trusting God thing came in because I’ve never been to Alaska and I don’t know anyone in that part of the state.  I’m literally going in blind.  It also meant quitting my job at World Vision and trusting that God would provide some way to earn a stable income once I got there, because folks, Alaska ain’t cheap.

I still need to find a job, but I have no reason to think that God won’t help me find one.  After all, he helped me find a great car for an incredible price.  Did you see it?

New car

I knew my poor little Kia Rio would be eaten alive by Alaska, I mean, it would cringe in the rain around here, I don’t even want to think what would happen in the snow!  So, right around the same time I started considering moving to Alaska I started checking out cars online.  I’d found a few good ones over the months but nothing I was ready to commit to or that completely met my checklist.  Then, last week I found this beautiful 2009 Saturn Vue online.  My Dad headed down to the dealership with me Saturday evening and within a few hours I was signing the papers for my new car!  I couldn’t beleive it.  God had provided it at the right time for the right price.  This car is going to be perfect for Alaska and perfect for the drive up because yes… I’m driving.

It’s going to be a LONG road trip.  I’m super excited for it and super exhausted by the thought of it.  Right now the plan is to leave August 15 (class starts the 25th) and to take 5 days to travel up to Anchorage.  It’s definitely going to be an adventure.

And speaking of adventure, did I mention I’m going to be living in dorms again? Ya, oye.  I feel like I paid my dorm dues the first time around (I lived in the dorms all 4 years).  I loved it, but I’m a lot older now, and the idea of living with a bunch of 18 year olds is kind of exhausting.  At the same time there was something deep down telling me this was the right move to make, at least for now.

See,  I don’t know anyone up there, I don’t know what the good and bad parts of town are, and rent is expensive. These dorms are also a little different than the ones I lived in before.  They’re apartment style.  Each apartment has 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living space and a full kitchen.  Everyone get’s their own bedroom which is really nice.  I don’t think I could have done it if I’d had to share a bedroom with 2 roommates like the first time around.

So there you have it.  Today I officially gave my 2 weeks notice at World Vision, that’s why I felt like I could finally share this with y’all, and trust me, it was REALLY HARD to keep in.  Leaving World Vision is going to be really tough.  While working in a call center isn’t my dream job, the organization is actually really, really great and is by far the best place I’ve ever worked.  I’m going to miss working for a place that is so Christ centered in everything, but, I’m SOOOO excited to finally be following my dream.

Less than 4 weeks to go.  Let the freak out begin!