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“How does one become a butterfly?” She asked. “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” –Trina Paulus

Until about two years ago I had never given much thought to what a Flight Attendant’s job really entailed; it is a job that is often overlooked with countless misconceptions. After only week one of training I have already come to have the greatest respect for FA’s. Not because there is not other jobs that perform even greater and more safety-sensitive things, but because most people fail to realize just how much intense work and training truly goes into being on that aircraft, just as I had no clue, and most people do not give the respect deserved to their flight attendants. When you step onto a plane you can fully trust that every crew member on that aircraft has been equipped with the knowledge to literally save your life in the case of any emergency you can imagine. Almost every airline’s training program spends not even 10% on actual service training of your basic daily duties; over 90% is spent learning and perfecting every safety and emergency procedure for any situation that could happen on the aircraft. Most every flight attendant you have come in contact with has been thoroughly trained in Federal Aviation Regulations and to evacuate a plane in under 60 seconds while being the last one out. They’ve been trained in firefighting, medical emergency, first-aid, CPR, security, hijacking and bomb threat procedures, self-defense, water ditching– those are a few for you. It is truly unbelievable! In week one we were given a huge inflight manual that is bigger than my Bible. As a flight attendant in training, you are required by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to complete a certain amount of hours training. Tests are given multiple times a week in which you must receive a 90% or greater on every test or you are released from the program and sent home. I can only imagine the amount of accomplishment I will feel when I have completed and passed the program and have earned my wings; it will be completely surreal and indescribable I am sure!

It’s crazy to me that it was only a week ago I was driving up for the third time this year to San Francisco to begin my now-six-week training. However, I know at the end I will be in shock at how fast the time flew by. With the amount of information that has been thrown at us all in such a short amount of time and seeing how much ground we have already covered makes it feel like it has been much longer than a week. I am already doing a pretty poor job at keeping up with communicating with people and have even been playing phone tag with my best friend. I am going to do the best I can with the little amount of free time I have to write as frequently as possible, because I know I will regret not documenting it all. I am also currently living in a room with three other people; so you can imagine how difficult it is to find a clear thought in my crowded head. Getting used to that crashpad life… I will be working on a post explaining what a crashpad is, because unless you’re a flight attendant or know one, you most likely have never heard of one just as I hadn’t until a few months back.

This week I passed my first exam with flying colors and we moved right on to memorizing all safety equipment, aircraft familiarization, and procedures for arming/disarming doors with evacuation slides. I have been studying for hours at a time wherever I can find a place to get some peace and quiet. To be honest, besides being straight stressful, it has been pretty fun to study…did I just say that? I was never a studious person, seriously, ask my high school teachers. But when you’re studying something you absolutely love, it really makes it much more enjoyable, despite the brain overload. It’s also absolutely astonishing to me when I realize how much information I am actually able to grasp and hold onto when I push myself hard enough. I think the sense of accomplishment I have once I finally understand something and it clicks is what makes the studying “fun,” if you can call it that.

It has been repeated endlessly that working in the airline industry is not just a job, it’s your lifestyle. It changes you to the core; once you have experienced it you’ll never be the same or experience any other job just like it. You will immediately know if it is something that is for you or not; you either love it or you hate it, and either one of those is okay. “But if you love it, every night when you come home from flying, you need to touch your wings…everyday. Remember why you love what you do and cherish it. The moment that feeling is gone, it is time to move on.” A woman with years of experience in the airline industry spoke this to us earlier this week and it inspired me deeply. We will not always have the best days in anything we do or love, but you know you’re doing what you love when even the hard days are worth it! When you want something hard enough you are willing to sacrifice something to get it. When you have a goal you must pursue it! So find what you love, and don’t stop relentlessly pursuing it until you accomplish it!

We made it through week one! One and done, and we’re one week closer to me earning my wings!


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