When we are young, we are all asked this question: What would you like to be when you grow up?
When I was a kid, I said I wanted to become a scientist.
When I started middle school, I said “anything is fine”.
When I was about to graduate from high school, I said – I do not know.
When I was in university, I felt so lost, like many others (very cliché).
I did not know what I was going to do with my studies. I thought my direction would be in academia but after volunteering in a research lab for a year and half, I did not feel this is what I wanted to do. But I felt very fortunate that while I was in school, I was working at St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club as a swim/lifesaving instructor and a lifeguard. Working at St. Alban’s gave me time to explore other directions in life where I found my interest in lifesaving that eventually evolved into a passion for emergency healthcare. I love that I am able to help people and the sense of responsibility that I am keeping everyone safe. And I was able to become more confident in resolving conflicts, solving problems, and learning the importance of being a team player.
I do not regret the time it took to me find my path. The “detour” that I took definitely helped me grow as a person emotionally where I do not think I could do what I do now if I graduated fresh out of high school. I learned that life could take me everywhere at any time. I thought I was going to go to university and like it, but I ended up not. I thought I was going go to a paramedic school in Toronto, but I went to Niagara College instead. I thought I was going to work as a paramedic in Southern Ontario, but I ended up in the North; And I am as happy as I could ever be. I learned in life you can prepare and plan as much as you want but the end result might not be what you have imagined, for the good and/or bad. I feel very fortunate that I am working as a paramedic with Sudbury EMS and every day it still feels like a dream.
I still remember my first day as a swim instructor/lifeguard at St. Alban’s Boy’s and Girl’s Club back in 2011. I was terrified. I did not know anyone, I did not know where to go, and I felt unsure about the responsibilities handed to me. Fast forward to October 2019, on my first day in the ambulance I still had the feeling of uncertainty, but I knew that things would turn out just fine. I learned how to adapt with the changes that were thrown my way; I know to trust in myself with the knowledge that has been passed onto me by my preceptors and colleagues; And I know my partner would have my back just like I would have theirs.
At last, stay safe everyone during this difficult time,
Cheng Bo An
From St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club – Thank you to Cheng Bo, to all first responders and front line health care workers – from the bottom of our hearts. We appreciate all you are doing to keep our communities safe and healthy.