I made the decision to join the military last year when I returned to Cleveland for Christmas break. It happened so quickly that when I told my old roommate I was joining the Military he assumed I would be an officer in the infantry with a gun in my hand and the artillery at my back. I distinctly remembering him ask, "What happened to becoming a Doctor?"
I reassured him and everyone else that was confused about my future that I would still be a doctor, but my patient population would change slightly. Instead of treating civilians I would be treating soldiers, veterans, and their families in addition to civilian patients who use military facilities.
My parents had already been planting the idea of the armed forces in my brain for years. I had already accrued a considerable amount of school debt, and I knew that the average medical student debt is around $250,000. I also considered the state of the economy and the future of the profession. So I began completing my own research on the subject. I spoke with several doctors in specialties that I was interested in, infectious disease, general surgery, cardiology, etc. and was surprised to find that each one had a drastically different experience. My biggest concern was when would I start my carreer. If I was going into the military it would be another four years before I was a real doctor in the civilian sector.
Dr. Endy at SUNY Upstate was particularly convincing without even knowing it. He basically explained how through the military I could have a Curriculum Vitae that was equal to any of my counterparts. I would not only be a doctor but also and officer and a leader. I would be able to travel the world living in many different countries, though not always were I would choose. I was also pleased to find that most of the medical work done during employment is with the local people of the country and relief work was more common than I anticipated all aspects which I look forward to with great anticipation.
Finally I made this decision for the following reasons: A love for my country and those that defend it, a strong desire to practice medicine in a third world setting and disaster relief, and the absence of some of the bureaucracy of healthcare so that I am free to practice medicine.
When I returned home from New Orleans for Christmas break. I called the recruiter and had a complete application in three days, a record time for that particular office. I have posted a link on the right hand side of the blog if you are interested.