Welcome to the Blackbelt Medic. This is the web home of Nathaniel Bland: Former Firefighter, Paramedic, EMS Educator, 2nd Degree Blackbelt, and student.
So of all the things I’ve done, classes I’ve taken, certifications I’ve worked for, and classes I’ve taught, by far the most challenging thing I’ve done has been paramedic school. We are by no means done, but as I look at the schedule posted on the wall next to me, I see that I have about 3.5 weeks of class left with new material. There’s 5.5 weeks of the semester left then finals week. During the last 1-2 weeks, we study for our comprehensive final. Whew!
I say this has been the most challenging, but not the hardest thing I’ve ever done, because of the myriad of ways that I’ve been challenged. The obvious one is the course work. There’s so much to learn, remember, and apply; so much that it seems overwhelming and huge, but everyone in my class has done it! We’ve survived the weekly exams, skills tests, quizzes, projects, drug sheets, discussion posts, and countless hours spent reading and studying. I’m not 100% sure how we did it, but it’s happened so far. The end is now in sight and we buckle down for the final stretch.
This week hasn’t been nearly as stressful as the first week of last semester. It feels like I’m getting back into the groove of something I’ve already done. I’m super happy that I survived last semester with nothing lower than a B and thus not killing my GPA. I feel much more prepared for this semester than I did last time because so much of what I think we’re gonna be doing will be simply building more on what we’ve already covered. This first week of OB has been a good beginning and a little levity as we got to watch/listen to Doug try not to giggle during that lecture. It was still informative and there’s a LOT more to that whole topic that I ever though.
I’m super glad we’re with done with pharma as a dedicated class, though I know we’re still going to be using it a lot. That class stressed me more than any other, but I think by the end of the semester I was actually getting it and putting stuff together in what I guess we call synthesis in education. Just the beginning though and I can’t wait to learn more!
Week 1 wasn't horribly hard, but it was trying. This week was crazy with the amount of reading and watching I've done: hours and hours of watching videos and reading book chapters. I feel like I've learned a lot and come a good distance this week. Though, one class is giving me more trouble than the others.
I think the biggest thing has been self-discipline to do work each day. Even if it’s only 3 hours, as I’ve done that each day it has made the work be much more manageable. I’ve also found that breaks in the studying to do something different have really helped. After a few hours, I like to go to the gym and workout for an hour or so. Sometimes it’s hard to convince myself to go do it, but it keeps me healthy which is huge in this course! I refuse to get sick on my professors timeline of early December, so I’m keeping a proper diet and keeping up with exercise. (Click "Read More")
This past week has marked the transition from summer time into school time. This past summer has been interesting in many ways not the least of which has been the fact that it marked the first full year since I moved from California. Over this summer, I’ve had a chance to become more acquainted with the state of New Mexico and the new place I call home. I didn’t have a lot to do over the summer, but the things I did do included teaching at EMSA, reading for this class, and in general getting rest since I knew I would get less of it once this class began.
So, this article is, as the title suggests, kind of the first student-related post I’ve made. Even though my medic program doesn’t start until August, I can just easily rephrase that as, “my medic program starts next month.”
Let’s let that sink in for a bit….yeah….ugh. I’m excited to get this under way, but yet I can’t help but be nervous about the workload. I’ve heard horror stories about this. I’ve heard of marriages dissolving because of paramedic school. Well, I don’t have to worry about THAT specifically, but I’m still wondering how this is really going to feel. This is the reason I came to New Mexico and I’m giving this all I got. At the same time, I’m going to be honest here, I’ve met medics that make me think, “Well, if THEY can do I certainly ought to be able to!” That’s kind of harsh perhaps, but it’s what I got.
So, it's been a few weeks. In that time I've been home to California, on several trains, on several beaches, been to In-N-Out many times, driven a Mini Cooper, had the best Pizza in the world, had more In-N-Out, played Switchfoot on the beach, swam in the ocean, had seafood, had more In-N-Out, and other stuff. Let's talk about a few of these events!
My Spring semester ended on May 14th, thus ending my first academic year here at the good ol' University of New Mexico. It's been a heck of a year. Lots of weird things, lots of cool things, and lots of good things have happened. I've had huge highs and some sad lows, but it's all in the course of life. Anyway, I finished my last final on the 14th, and a couple days later I had all my grades. I made all A's and one B. This boosted my GPA to a 3.7 which is great news for me as I look toward medical school. But that's all beside the point of this post. Four days later, on the 18th, I got on a train and headed west. West towards a final ending point of San Luis Obispo. Of California. Of home. This was the first time I'd been on a train since I was little. It was about a 24 hour trip all total and boy was it interesting.
Good evening everyone. Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I tried to write it twice in the past couple weeks, but both times my browser got closed and I didn't save the work, so it all went away. Now I’m getting smarter and typing it all up in word first. That good college education? Possibly….
Either way, here we are. As I sit here it’s the first day of finals week here at the University of New Mexico. Finals week at school means a couple things. One, if you don’t have homework in the class there’s nothing to do. If you DO have homework in the class, it’s usually a lot when coupled with studying for the final. The past 2-3 weekends have been that. Lots of that. I’m so excited for this semester to be done with. With this post I kinda wanted to look back at the past school year and think of a few things.
You know, it's strange...My cousin has worked for Cal Fire for well over ten years. I was probably 10 or 12 when he first began. It was something I never considered; well, to be honest, I had thought about it and I didn't really want to be a fire fighter. I don't remember why. I would watch him run off at all hours when my family would be there visiting. Always so excited. It didn't matter when it was., when his pager went off he'd run off and sometimes be gone for minutes, sometimes hours. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and all other times. I'll never forget the time he got so excited running off to his first structure fire.
Anyway, I never really thought much of it. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I didn't think it was gonna be a fire fighter. That all changed one night in Amador County, California.
My name is Nathaniel. Or as the online name I've picked states, The Blackbelt Medic. It's a bit of a flash name I suppose, but when I was faced with having to pick a domain name and a name for this blog site I decided to pick two of my favorite things: karate and being an EMS provider. Despite the word "medic" in the name, I am not a paramedic yet. More on that later. I am however a 2nd degree blackbelt in Ko Sutemi Weisi Kan Karate. I first started in karate when I was about 8 years old back in late 1999 or 2000. I don't remember the exact date. The point of this site is to provide a slate for the coming years of my life. I have tried to blog before but lacked the motivation to keep up with it. That all recently changed.
I am currently living in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I attend the University of New Mexico. Go Lobos!! Woof woof woof....hehe. I am originally from California. Northern California. Small little town called Volcano, but these days I am a student with the UNM School of Medicine: Department of Emergency Medicine EMS Academy. I am pursuing the completion of my undergraduate degree in Emergency Medicine with a focus on Emergency Medical Services. The core of the degree in their Paramedic program. I was just accepted into the program after the application process which consisted of the application, two letters of recommendation, a entrance test, two interviews, and then waiting. Of course the waiting was the hardest part. I waited nearly 2 weeks from the time I knew they made admission decisions for my letter to arrive. I got it on 4/16/2014. I went for a walk about 11:30pm and ended up checking my mail to find a large manila envelope bearing the return address of the UNM School of Medicine. I grabbed it and felt more than one piece of paper; at this point I got really excited and opened it. I was accepted!