What a whirlwind...
February 6th, I left my parents home and traveled two hours to a small eastern Utah town to set up my new home. I was under the impression I would be on the outskirts of Zion National park for a few months. As I drove the lonely roads to my new destination my phone alerted me to an email. On the side of the road in a unfamiliar town, Colorado City, I pulled over to check my email. I was hearing back from the airlines that training was to be moved up from what I thought would be May to the end of March. Do I continue on to my new destination, or do I turn around and wait it out with my parents? I continued on to Zion Ponderosa, and informed them of my sudden move/change of plans. The management at Zion Ponderosa couldn't have been more understanding and supportive. So, I worked as a front desk clerk for what felt like the longest three weeks of my life. I never did get a day off. But, I met some of the most sweetest people in those long three weeks. I was relieved when my time had come to leave the front desk. My dream job was finally becoming a reality, and I was excited for this new adventure of becoming a flight attendant.
March 26th, I worked my final day as a front desk clerk at Zion Ponderosa. I packed up my car and headed to my parents to unpack and pack up another suitcase for the next month ahead. With little sleep and very little energy I took off for the St. George airport on March 27th to fly to Salt Lake City. It was time to begin my flight attendant training that would start the very next day, March 28th. I was nervous - who wouldn't be? Although I had many nerves I felt that my life had been prepared for this very day. My mission was the first stepping stone to prepare me for the past few months of living with my parents one day, living at a resort (with people I had never met) the next day, and then finding myself in a hotel in SLC (with someone else I have never met). Now it feels normal to be in a new place with new people.
Training had begun. I had a new roommate, new instructors, and lot's of new friends. I can't even begin to describe the emotions I have experienced through this whole training experience, and the growth it has brought into my life. Forever I will be grateful for this experience.
Class was a never ending turbulent flight - sort of speak. We never knew when class would start, or when it would end. As the training went on it made sense that these long days of never knowing what time class would be over was also preparation for the life of a flight attendant. Days may start at 8:00am but could go on until 10:00pm. That's how life rolls when you are working in aviation - surrounded by weather delays, cancellations, etc. My training class immediately bonded. Within a few days of starting class and getting past all the awkwardness I saw that lifelong friendships were made, and are continuing to grow. I felt so much love for each member of my class. We each had a similar story, of how long we had wanted to be a flight attendant, to how many interviews we had to go through. Sharing stories with each other just confirmed to me that this is where I am supposed to be. These are the people I was supposed to meet, and share this experience with. And, an experience training was for me!
Knowing my story with school - it has not been an easy journey for me. Flight attendant training wasn't going to be any easier, and I knew that from day one. On day one we had our first comprehensive exam and our first oral exam. I aced both exams, but as the comprehensive exam was being graded I had a sudden pit in my stomach. Had we not got 80% or higher it was a pat on the back and a see you later. The many years of struggling with bio/organic chemistry suddenly came flowing back to me. I tried to push these feelings aside, but the longer we had to wait the more anxious I became. This was day one, was the rest of training going to be like this? The first day was rough, and of course, the next couple of days were spent taking more exams.
The next four weeks were spent either at the Hanger in training, or in my hotel room studying and memorizing. Two things I had never been good at. Training was moving along, I was getting into a routine, and I was starting to feel like I could do this. However, each exam we had to take brought on a higher amount of anxiety. One day in particular I apparently went into an anxiety fit...to make a long story short...I had an instructor who may not have cared for me, for whatever reason, after taking the exam he escorted me to the office and proceeded to write me up for being "unprofessional" during an exam. Being confused at the whole ordeal, I asked what I was doing to make me be "unprofessional." He stated that I was using hand gestures, and heavy breathing during the test. These two things were a distraction. Okay? I hadn't even realized I was doing this, being as I was more concerned with passing the exam (which I got a 96% on). He continued to tell me that normally I would get sent home for this behavior. Okay? I was immediately grateful that he was NOT sending me home, but was also immediately saddened that I know have this discrepancy on my record for the next year. I tried to be the better person and not let this incident get the best of me. It was very hard to see this instructor the next several weeks. Shockingly enough I actually was the better person and I kept my cool and didn't let him get the best of me. I think the thing that helped the most was that my classmates were very supportive of me, of the "situation," and wanted me to do the best I could. My Mother was also pretty supportive being far away. She called my sister up, who lives in SLC, had her come get me, take me to some friends of ours that live in the suburbs of SLC and had them give me a blessing. This small act was a huge help for the next few weeks of training. I finally am realizing that I can't do these things on my own. I think that I can, but I also know that I need the Lord. I need Him a lot!
It was a great help that I had been given a blessing because a week later I failed my first exam. I failed miserably. I had an undeniable feeling as my class was leaving the room to go to the exam room that this exam would not end pretty. The feeling was so strong. I didn't want to have these thoughts, but I couldn't deny what was going to happen. I sat down to take my exam, and within the first few questions getting marked incorrectly I knew it was over. I continued forward, trying to do my best here on out on the exam. When it was complete the score popped up - 60%. Surprisingly I didn't cry, but I became mad. I knew I had another chance, but nobody wants to have to take an exam twice. My class rallied around me. I had so many words of encouragement, support, and love given to me. I can not explain the love my classmates gave me, but this was completely normal. They showed this love to not only me, but to everyone. It was touching to watch, and it was sweet to be a recipient of their love and support. The next day I showed up early before class started and I took that exam again. I was determined to get 100%, but ended up missing one question. Who cares - I PASSED. One of my favorite classmates, Dena, hadn't seen me come out of the exam room, she also didn't see me in class. I had been sitting behind her previously, but had been moved to the front row. She had been asked that day to come recite an announcement in front of class. When she got up to come forward she finally noticed I wasn't in my previous seat. She suddenly went into panic mode. She started asking the classmates around her where I was. She thought I had failed the exam and got sent home. When she finally saw me on the front row she came up and got in my face. Sweetly yelling at me, (if that's even possible) she told me she was mad at me for not letting her know I had passed, she then proceeds to tell me that I can't go home, and she needs me here. I was flattered, I think? Dena wasn't the only one who loved me, or that I loved back. The whole class was that way, and that is just a small example of how close we had all become, and how much we wanted each other to make it to graduation.
The final day of class finally came. We arrived all dressed up in our uniforms ready to receive our wings. We couldn't receive our wings until we passed two final exams. One oral exam, and one comprehensive exam covering everything we had learned in the past four weeks. I was, as always, a nervous wreck. What if I didn't pass? I came all this way and now I mess up? I had studied as much or more then I ever had. I had the support of many friends, and family back home, and I had the support of all my classmates cheering me on. Just as I was cheering each of them on. In those short four weeks we had become a close little family. We all wanted to watch each other earn those wings. The oral exam was a piece of cake for me, and I wasn't worried about that. However, the massive comprehensive exam had my stomach in knots. The Lord and I had discussed the exam, I did my part in studying/reviewing, so all that was left was His part. I said one final prayer, as I sat at the computer to begin. The exam began and I was passing. Each question was being answered without a moments hesitation. Before I knew it the exam was over and I had passed with a 92%. HOLY COW! I was going to become a flight attendant.
The pinning of our wings was a short graduation ceremony. I didn't really expect anyone to come, but my sister took work off to be there, which was was so sweet of her. Also, my dear friend Stephanie, who is a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines was kind enough to fly into Salt Lake from Seattle to pin my wings during the ceremony. It was quite special to have her do this simple act for me. She has been by my side for several years as I have pursued this dream of becoming a flight attendant. I was so grateful she was able to fly in and be there for me. Just one of the many perks of being a flight attendant.
After four very short weeks, training was over. We said our goodbyes and the next thing I knew I was on a plane bound for St. George. I was sent home to wait out the call to see where I was to be based as a flight attendant. After almost three weeks of waiting the call finally came. I was to move to Chicago and be based as flight attendant in that massive city. After finding out where I was to be it was apparent that half my class got based in Chicago as well. Leaving the other half of the class based in Salt Lake City. I made the mistake of sharing this information with my family and friends. There was all kinds of upset words coming from them. When all was said and done, yes I could've probably been based in Salt Lake, but would I have been happy there? Probably not. Will I be happy here in Chicago? I need to give this new home some time...
I feel like the last several months have been rather turbulent, but with the aid of some great classmates, family, friends, and The Lord I was able to land safely.