Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's Something Unpredictable, But In The End It's Right.

I've made a decision. It hasn't been the easiest decision, and it took quite a bit of time and struggling to reach it. Now that I have decided to become more public with it, I haven't quite found the easiest way of sharing the news. I have told some friends individually, but I'm a little hesitant on blasting it on my Facebook status. It is easiest when I simply tell people straightforward. I come across the response of "Why?" quite often and it's hard to express all of my reasons.
How did I come about to this decision? It was an answer to prayers, fasting, hours spent in the temple, studying, weighing options, realizing that I wasn't where I want to be and I wasn't going where I wanted to be going. A result of frustrations over job opportunities, employers, physicians, and the hardships and utilization of physician assistant colleagues. There's been some tears, especially knowing that there was a strong possibilty of leaving family and friends. I had also been praying that my eyes could look at my situation in a new perspective.
Then there was the awakening of an idea that has laid dormant in my mind for years, aroused over a simple question from a friend during a lunchtime study session at B&N: "I know you talked about it before, but have you considered the military?"
My eyes began to open and I decided that this was the new pespective I had been searching for. I asked queations, I read, looked at the differences between the Army and Air Force -- decided on the Army for a few reasons, and prayed.
Last week I took another step. I went to San Antonio, Texas to get some questions answered, get a physical and a vision waiver (I wasn't sure if my vision would disqualify me, that's one of the reasons I've been quiet about my decision), and most importantly, get a confirmation that I was doing the right thing. And I got it. In the words of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "I'm motivated by the lack of doubt." I really don't have any doubt and for the first time in 5 months I feel confident in what I am doing. There are other reasons and feelings for why I'm going into the military, but they are a bit more personal and harder to express.

For those who have some questions (and I'll be happy to answer any more)
1. How long do I have to do it? It's a three year commitment. If I decide to do any kind of advanced training or pursue a doctorate, they require more service in return of at least another 3 years. I'm not sure if I'll go beyond the three years, it depends on what happens in the next three years (ie. family, etc...)
2. Could I be deployed? Yes, and I am willing to do it if I need to. I won't be involved in combat due to my gender, and most of it will be spent in a heavily secured hospital. The PAs that I spoke with that have been deployed said that it is more of an issue of inconvenience of being away from family that was a concern for them, rather than the issue of safety.
3. What will I be doing? Most of the time it will primary care for soldiers and their families for the first three years. I'm looking to be stationed at a large military hospital so that I can get some good experience. There's also some training of combat medics that I will be involved with as well. It averages about 45 hours of work a week, so there is hope for a life outside of the military. Deployment usually has longer hours and work 6 days out of the week, still lots of primary care as well as trauma care experience.
4. Do I have to go to boot camp? I will be going in as an officer, which is a bit of a different world than the enlisted soldier. I will spend 9 weeks in San Antonio going through the Officer Basic Course and I will learn some of the basic things about how to be an officer, some physical training (but not as intense as boot camp, and there really isn't any yelling at officers - they do keep it at a very professional level), and more training related to the medical field like combat trauma, etc... This will most likely start in June and when I am done I have about 2-3 weeks to get ready and move to my first post -- which I should find out in April, feel free to do the poll on the side.

So that's a bit of an update. These next couple of months will be interesting to say the least. Stay tuned.


Rachel said...

Wow! That's BIG news. I can tell that you know it's the right thing to do but are you excited about it? I have several friends who have gone this route after school and all of them have really enjoyed it. I think this is going to be a great adventure for you.

the freshmaker *ting said...

WOW! All I have to say is, wow!

Nicole said...

Wow...how exciting to finally have a course planned. Indecision and unemployment are the pits...I've been there before. I wish you all the best in your new path...and maybe on one of those weekends I can come visit you!!

P.S. There's lots of men in the military ;)

Andrea said...

How exciting! Congratulations on making a plan. That's the hardest part!

Heath said...

Oh my gosh!!! That is unpredictable! But it does seem right for you. I wish I had the guts to make a decision like that...maybe one day I'll join you out there...except that I wont be with you because I am not at all medically inclined...but, you know.
I'm excited to hear about your adventures

GramsCookies said...

You will do great! It is good experience for your career.
I hope you get stationed in Texas...then you can come visit and stay with us out, in the country, for the weekends...
maybe even get to come when B & B and the boys come to visit us...

Liz W. said...

Holy Moly! What an adventure!!!