"When I first joined the fire station as an EMT can..."

University of Pittsburgh

An important emphasis of PittHonors is working for the public good. Please describe how you have worked for the public good in the past and how you expect to continue to do so as a student at the University of Pittsburgh and after graduation?

0 - 350 words

(University of Pittsburgh)

When I first joined the fire station as an EMT candidate, it was under the naive assumption that every call would be exciting and life-threatening, based on my extensive Grey’s Anatomy background. The truth couldn’t be further from my expectations. Many of our patients have non-specific, generalized symptoms that aren’t life-threatening, such as “I’m a diabetic and I just had two pints of ice cream to celebrate the Fourth of July.” We often take care of people who don’t want to take care of themselves. So why do we do it? Sometimes it’s a difficult question to answer, especially after a long shift. But in most cases, I hold the firm belief that what we do makes a difference. We clean up vomit, yes, we’re verbally assaulted, sure, but our interventions, both medical and otherwise, give people a second chance. Be it bringing patients back from cardiac arrest, reporting domestic violence to the police, or simply providing emotional support to a suicidal person, we’re endowed with the opportunity to intervene at the most critical points in a patient’s life. It is a privilege unique to first responders, and one that I cherish on every call I run, from the mundane to the life-threatening.

My initial idealism has been molded and tempered to accommodate hard reality. It persists in a more flexible form, has adapted to context. But it persists. It compels me to continue to help others with the skills I know, drives me to master ones I don’t. The University of Pittsburgh has many excellent opportunities for learning through helping others, including Pitt Make a Difference Day(s), affiliation with JumpStart Pittsburgh, and its overall commitment to serving the public. Should I be accepted, I plan on taking full advantage of all Pitt has to offer, and hope to continue practicing and developing my skills as an emergency medical responder and as a member of the community.

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