Thursday, January 09, 2014

Why I Choose to Study to be a Paramedic, and Wouldn't Necessarily Give it up For Full Time Writing

This is kinda self indulgent, but if you were ever wondering why I chose paramedics, feel free to read:

It took a bit for me to figure out what I wanted to do in life. I knew from the start that while it would be nice to write 24/7, it was unrealistic. Not just because of the whole "You'll never make any money off it" thing, but because... well, I was well aware of my age, and experience level, and I was experience hungry. I wanted to travel the world, live in different cultures, meet different people.

So I did. I managed to wrangle a scholarship to go to Japan on exchange. I learnt a lot. I paid for my second exchange trip to china. That was more of a disappointment, but again I learnt things. I went on to go into medicine. I learnt things, namely what I didn't want to do with my life.

So by the time I found paramedics, and it fit, I was more than ready to settle into a career and get it started. Which is why I'm still at university, only now starting the third year of a course while most other people are onto their first job about now.

But... Paramedics fits. And one thing it's not short on is experiences.

So I think, while writing full time would be nice, I'd bore of it eventually. Paramedics suits in that although the hours are... not fun, the people are great, the job is structured and interesting, and all that sleep deprivation comes with an extra two weeks holidays. So I may have to work every public holiday a year and cram 48 hours work over four days, but I will get six weeks of paid leave.

There's downtime too, which means I can study and improve myself within the profession, or just read. It's one of those jobs where you're either terribly busy, average, or nothing happens until half an hour before you're meant to go home.

I like working in the community, I like meeting new people, and I like the competence of the job. I like that I will have seen and experience more than most people my age would have.

But most of all, I like how it feeds into everything else I do. As people, we write to explore the world. I fully expect the first traumatic event I come across will be written down in a locked file somewhere on my laptop, for my eyes only. Records are probably useful too, given that writing = reflection = self-improvement.

But fiction, itself, is in a exploration of themes and truth. Every book has a point, whether the author intended it or not (honestly, sometimes readers can create their own point without the writer's say so). So for me, being both a paramedic and a writer goes hand in hand because I get the great honour of witnessing the most terrifying moments in people's lives, and trying to make those moments less terrifying. I also get to see how society treats those it thinks aren't up to standard (ambulance cover is free here under a certain wage threshold. As such we get lots of calls that aren't necessarily emergencies, but do need to be seen to.)  All that has to be processed somewhere.

Enjoy all,


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