I just joined the site, but I've been on here reading for a while. I figured this was a good place to blow off a little steam.

I began in the fire service about six months ago at my city's volunteer department, just as my freshman year of college was ending. It wasn't hard to get into, and from the moment I walked in I knew that the fire service was what I want to do. I'm currently a little over halfway finished with the county's fire recruit training course, and still loving it.

While the department readily accepted a new member in light of sparse staffing, it seems like some of the members have a problem with me. When I take on something, especially something that I'm into, I bust my ***. I'm up at the department every day doing something (and if that makes me a "strapper" so be it). At the moment, I am allowed to run on the engines but the tasks I am allowed to perform are limited. Some officers, usually those who have been around for a longer time, take this seriously. Others are more inclined to let me get my feet wet (to a degree).

The comment I can't stand and hear so often: "...you can't do anything." "We don't want to give you a department pullover sweatshirt, because why give anything to you when you can't do anything? When I started we had to earn those things." When they started, the two questions they were asked when they inquired about joining: "Do you drink beer? Do you play softball?" Now I like these guys, they are my friends, but that eats me up. Don't give me encouragement to continue training on the one hand, and condescending comments with the other. If I wasn't going to stick with it, I wouldn't have started in the first place, and I'm not doing it just to look good. I joined the fire service because I love it, so give me a break.

Now I know the ritual in the fire service means a bumpy first year or so for the rookie, and I have no problem with that at all. I'm laid back, and I have a great sense of humor so I take nothing personally. All I'm saying is that I think the rookie should at least A) Be treated as part of the family even if he is the new guy and gets picked on (which is all good because it tests you) and B) Let him get his feet wet a little. You can only learn so much from books, and the only real way you can learn is to DO it.