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Hi. Nice to meet you. My name is Kate, and I’m going to Med School. Since August, I have learned more than I ever thought possible about Down Syndrome, diabetes, and broken arms. I know how to take blood pressure (at least theoretically), and have diagnosed “not melanoma” when presented with a suspicious-looking mole and had the diagnosis confirmed by a practicing physician.
When do I graduate you ask? Let me clarify. I am attending Med School by proxy. My husband is set to graduate in 2016.
We are a team, and in the pre-med years it was always discussed as when “we” go to Med School. We knew it would be a big change for the entire family which includes our then-infant son. We lived in New Hampshire, which has no public medical school. In fact, it has no medical school at all apart from Dartmouth, which was 90 minutes away, and whose class is somewhat small.
No, there was no option to stay where we were and we were going to have to pay either private school or out-of-state tuition.
I was a teacher, but the Med School acceptance letter came too late catch the prime hiring period, and I was still undecided about returning to work after maternity leave. P. was a software engineer, but obviously would not have time for a part-time job once school started.
We had bought our home at the real estate peak and its value had dropped by almost a third. We had been paying extra every month for almost 7 years, so we were (luckily) almost not underwater. It would take most of our savings to make up the difference, but it could be done if we got close to the asking price. But we had one bid fall through, and then a second. It eventually got rented out, but for a lower rate than the mortgage.
We saw the costs mounting and our expenses weren’t going down. We were reluctant to take on more debt and liked the security of a semi-monthly paycheck, especially now that we had a child.
What is the HPSP Scholarship? HPSP is short for Health Professions Scholarship Program. It is offered by the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy in order to train prospective physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, veterinarians, and other health professionals to meet military needs.
For the Air Force, a physician applicant can apply during the school application year for a 4-year scholarship or during the M1 year for a 3-year scholarship. It pays 100% of tuition, books, required supplies (scrubs, gloves, stethoscope, etc.) as wells as $2100 per month and a $20,000 signing bonus. Details vary with the Army and the Navy such as number of years and the amount of the signing bonus.
Next week, I’ll go write more about why we thought the military was a good option for us, and why we chose the Air Force.
Kate is also the author of the blog Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel. documenting the day-to-day life of a Med School spouse. Okay, let’s be honest…week-to-week. Um, sometimes month-to-month.