I wish I started this sooner.  I’ve said that to myself a million times.  I think everybody has said that to themselves at some point.  Imagine all the things that would be accomplished if everybody had actually done the things we later wished we had done earlier.  It would probably be an amazing world, though it begs the question, what would we then be wishing we had done earlier.

There’s no going back, but we all look back.  Sometimes wondering how we ended up where we are, and other times simply in wonder.  I’m hoping that this blog will provide me the latter.

I’ve been through college three times.  The first was Rockland Community College which I attended immediately after graduating from Suffern High School, both located in my hometown of Suffern, New York.   At RCC I earned an Associates degree in Business & Public Administration.  From there I went immediately on to my second college experience where I attended the University of Arizona in Tucson for 3 very exciting years.  After a year of living in the Stadium dorm, I moved in to my fraternity house, Alpha Tau Omega and held many positions there including House Manager.

Eventually, I graduated with my Bachelors of Science Degree in Retail & Consumer Studies, a major I’ve regretted ever since.  I have no interest in retail.  Looking back I wonder why I didn’t just get a business degree as both majors were virtually the same.

After the UofA, I moved to California where I have been for 10 years.  I’ve held quite the grab bag of jobs in that time, ultimately landing in an unsatisfying career as a corporate recruiter.  Eventually I left recruiting and tried starting a few businesses of my own – something I learned is much easier said than succeeded in.
Finally I reached a point immediately after the stock market crash in October 2008 where I found myself unemployed, frustrated and disenchanted with my life and career.  I turned to the one place where I knew I could find direction, wisdom and enlightenment – the internet.  In truth, I didn’t actually expect to find any of those things, but I was desperate and as it turned out, I did find something.

What I found was an article in Live Science highlighting a survey revealing America’s most satisfying jobs (here are the detailed survey results).  It turns out that the second most satisfying job in America is Firefighter.  I couldn’t believe I had never even thought about or considered being a firefighter.  I immediately started researching and reading about the job, and then began looking into what it would take to become one.  Two weeks later, my mind was made up and I was working on making it happen.

I decided to do anything I could that would put me any bit closer to being qualified.  The first thing I did, was I got  certified in CPR and AED use.  This I did through my local adult school in a single Saturday afternoon.  I learned later that the CPR/AED certification you’ll want is from the American Heart Association.  I happen to be lucky that my course was AHA  certification.

Next, I signed up to take the Candidate Physical Abilities Test or the CPAT as it is know.  I’m actually sorry I did this so soon, as it is expensive ($200) and is only accepted by hiring departments within 6-12 months of passing.  I passed it (with 2:44 to spare) in October which means I’ll almost certainly have to pay to take it again at some point/s.

At this point, I’ll tell you about the third time I went to college.  I decided to go back to school at Los Medanos College and get a degree in Fire Technology.  Coincidentally, I will be taking my last final toward that degree tomorrow morning.

In conclusion of my first post, I am thrilled to have begun this journey of which I have already spent countless hours on (and which I plan to tell you about in more detail in future writings), and I’m proud to share this adventure with you.  I hope this blog will become a guide and resource for others who want to become a firefighter, here in California or anywhere else in the world.  I know that in the short time I’ve been on this pursuit I have learned a lot and I hope I can pass it on through this website.

I wish I started this sooner.