The following essay was submitted by David Sample, EKU Online Fire, Protection & Safety Engineering Technology student and EKU’s Outstanding Intern of the Year for 2015.
A Paper on Fire
As I sit down to write this paper, it is the eleventh hour. My paper for my nomination as the Outstanding Intern of the Year is due at midnight and I am rapidly running out of time to knock it out. “Procrastination?”, you ask. Hardly. I have been swamped with work at my internship. And not that boring “I-hate-my-job-AND THERE’S-SO-MUCH-OF-IT!” kind of swamped. No, I am drowning in the best type of work. Remember that exciting project you did not want to put down? Or that assignment when you knew you were making a real difference to others? That feeling of satisfaction; that type of work, is second to none. That is where I am at now.
From the day I started my internship, I knew it was going to be exceptional. My “job” (if one could call it that) is serving the City of Solana Beach Fire Department as their Fire Prevention Technician. Before I even started, my new boss emailed the city with my bio. When I walked in, everyone knew who I was. Everyone wanting to welcome me to the team floored me. Even the Mayor and City Manager took the time to say “welcome aboard”. With my major in Fire and Safety Engineering Tech, I was pretty sure that the internship would be successful… but I had no idea how much I would enjoy the experience!
Without exception, I have loved everything I have done and pushed hard to raise the bar. My goal, going into my internship, was to make a lasting difference in this small city’s Fire Prevention Bureau. Between my state classes and the lessons I have learned at EKU, I have had the knowledge to bring the city up toward modern fire prevention standards. To be truthful, nothing I have done has solely been me. Every time I push the bar higher, it’s by standing on the backs of those who set the groundwork before me. All the same, I am proud to see my fingerprint on many of the current projects.
One specific example is my involvement with the inspection records tracking. Prior to my arrival, business owners were complaining that our department was constantly harassing them with repeat inspections. Everyone was frustrated with the inefficiency of the system but no one knew how to address it. I was able to overhaul the city database and organize our inspections to virtually eliminate overlap. Now the department captains are thrilled with their streamlined workload, the city is happier at the decreased waste and increasing profit, and the business owners are relieved that they are free from conflicting inspection requests. This opportunity was like adding gasoline to my smoldering passion, or like fanning the flames of appetite, or like igniting… well, you get the idea. The ability to get my hands dirty with a huge variety of tasks has equipped me with more experience than many of my peers have seen in years of work. I truly feel this opportunity has helped me hone my career goals and sharpened my personal focus. Through it, I have learned to pursue exactly what I want and to set goals that challenge me to go higher than I previously thought possible.
Today a business owner asked me how I like my job. After 4 months, many interns are burned out. I looked the business owner in the eye and told her the truth: “I love it. I wake up every day looking forward to this.” My hope for other EKU students is that everyone gets the chance to do what they love and I would urge anyone who will listen: pursue your dream job with abandon that borderlines recklessness. The joy of having a job you love is worth the risk of temporary setback. Before this opportunity, I was just lukewarm about a fire inspector career. But after my internship? I’m on fire!
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