Aug 13, 2014
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For those like me who swore they'd never go back and then had second thoughts a few years out:

I was board selected last week for a 2 year contract. Yes, contrary to what many recruiters say they do exist, but they are reserved for prior service folks with a very solid background and get a painfully thorough review from all levels prior to even making it to the board. The point is if you want it, go for it -but it is a difficult road. The system is set up for a 22 yr old fresh out of college. Just by living past 30, let alone being in the military, you will likely need several waivers and be a real pain for your recruiters due to all of the paperwork and that you were not part of their initial yearly mission (quota). In all I needed 3 waivers (inc one for VA disability) and got them all, though it did require a lot of work. Multiple times I was told I was at the end of the road and each time I simply found the regulation in question and used the intent of that regulation to show why my discrepancy should be waivered. The most important thing is to find a recruiter that is competent and actually does their job because a 2-year contract is not in their normal mission, so you are a massive burden with little reward. Many do not understand the system enough to help you and many others will not help you (I am on official recruiter #3). Once you find that recruiter, be as kind and helpful as possible as theirs is a very difficult job.

PM me if you have any further questions
 
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idq1i

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I don't know your particular situation, but in general, a 2 year contract makes no sense, fiscally or professionally.

1 - you only get 2 years of school paid for. This leaves 2 years of loans

2- unless you are fully deferred for residency, you are still wearing a uniform for AT LEAST 5 years after med school. 1 in internhip, 2 in residency, and 2 in payback. All while paying back 2 years of med school loans. I guess some people do enjoy the drudgery of garrison environment (along with SHARP training, TRIPS forms and random UAs), not quite sure why.
 
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OP
V
Aug 13, 2014
33
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Medical Student
I don't know your particular situation, but in general, a 2 year contract makes no sense, fiscally or professionally.

1 - you only get 2 years of school paid for. This leaves 2 years of loans

2- unless you are fully deferred for residency, you are still wearing a uniform for AT LEAST 5 years after med school. 1 in internhip, 2 in residency, and 2 in payback. All while paying back 2 years of med school loans. I guess some people do enjoy the drudgery of garrison environment (along with SHARP training, TRIPS forms and random UAs), not quite sure why.

to each their own
 

HighPriest

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I managed to wrangle a 2 month HPSP scholarship from the Army. It wasn't easy, but I did it. I also managed to buy the front bumper of an Audi R8. I took out a loan for the whole car, but the salesman assured me that I'd get a discount on the bumper, which I got to take home with me. But I'm a good haggler...
 
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HighPriest

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I'm just busting your balls, man. At least you're prior service and you know more or less what you're getting into.
 
OP
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Aug 13, 2014
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I'm just busting your balls, man. At least you're prior service and you know more or less what you're getting into.
best welcome back gift possible.



Yeah -pregnant wife, ton of prior service time, and the Army is actually good at what I want to do (according to civilian residency directors). I don't want the tons of civilian fellowship options and if I want them its only a two year wait. And even though the attending money isn't as good, its more than I ever thought I would earn and the money through residency (a lot of prior service officer time) means more to me with a family.
 
OP
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Aug 13, 2014
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I've left out my biggest motivation though: the service. I know the crap that comes with it but I honestly miss wearing the uniform and the mission. I get the rest of my life to be a doctor but only so long to be a Soldier and that is still something that is really important to me right now.


Regardless, if anyone else out there is considering this path, please know that it is possible regardless of what recruiters say.
 

idq1i

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Army is actually good at what I want to do (according to civilian residency directors).

I don't want the tons of civilian fellowship options and
I honestly miss wearing the uniform and the mission.

I get the rest of my life to be a doctor but only so long to be a Soldier and that is still something that is really important to me right now.
The Army is not particularly good at anything when it comes to GME, and civilians know little to nothing about DoD GME. It's strictly average at best

You don't really know what you want at this point, but you may be one of those few that don't change their mind in med school

The current "mission" in the army is to do a lot of box-checking and figure out how to make the staff even more disgruntled through nonsense taskers and various OPORDs that have nothing to do with patient care.

As above, the soldiering and doctoring is becoming more and more incompatible, as you will soon see.



Either way, it's clear that you have made up your mind and you are convinced that yo are making the right decision. Good luck with your mission, and I wish you luck and success. Your initial post provides important info that is helpful for people in your position, thank you for that.
 
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6

68PGunner

I've left out my biggest motivation though: the service. I know the crap that comes with it but I honestly miss wearing the uniform and the mission. I get the rest of my life to be a doctor but only so long to be a Soldier and that is still something that is really important to me right now.


Regardless, if anyone else out there is considering this path, please know that it is possible regardless of what recruiters say.
How does your family feel about your decision? It's good that you're prior service bc you guys know what's in stored for you. Personally, I wouldnt even touch the 2 or 3 year hpsp. As long as the involved parties are aware of the risks associated with mil medicine, then your decision should be commended.
 
OP
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Aug 13, 2014
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Medical Student
How does your family feel about your decision? It's good that you're prior service bc you guys know what's in stored for you. Personally, I wouldnt even touch the 2 or 3 year hpsp. As long as the involved parties are aware of the risks associated with mil medicine, then your decision should be commended.
My wife swore we would never return to the Army, especially with the GI Bill covering all of medical school. She is also the person who pointed out how many of our friends who are civilian residents have the same complaints and frustrations with bureaucracy and such as we did in the Army without the financial and esprit de corps benefits. After being out of the Infantry for a few years and have the clarity of hindsight, we realized that the Army really wasn't such a bad gig and that even the worst of times taught us things about ourselves that made us better people and far more content with life than most civilians (this includes spending 29 of the first 36 months married apart). I get all of the reasons this is a bad idea and as a former company commander I realize the deep flaws within many of the Army's systems as well as the thought process I used to call "square peg + round hole => bigger hammer". But it is the right decision for us at this point and I hope I can help someone else who is in this boat as well. To be fair, I have probably talked more MS1s out of HPSP than into it...
 
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68PGunner

My wife swore we would never return to the Army, especially with the GI Bill covering all of medical school. She is also the person who pointed out how many of our friends who are civilian residents have the same complaints and frustrations with bureaucracy and such as we did in the Army without the financial and esprit de corps benefits. After being out of the Infantry for a few years and have the clarity of hindsight, we realized that the Army really wasn't such a bad gig and that even the worst of times taught us things about ourselves that made us better people and far more content with life than most civilians (this includes spending 29 of the first 36 months married apart). I get all of the reasons this is a bad idea and as a former company commander I realize the deep flaws within many of the Army's systems as well as the thought process I used to call "square peg + round hole => bigger hammer". But it is the right decision for us at this point and I hope I can help someone else who is in this boat as well. To be fair, I have probably talked more MS1s out of HPSP than into it...
Honestly, you sound like me. There's one thing I like the Army: the suck from my years of service keep me simple and happy on basic things.
 

HighPriest

Specialized in diseases of the head holes
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My wife swore we would never return to the Army, especially with the GI Bill covering all of medical school. She is also the person who pointed out how many of our friends who are civilian residents have the same complaints and frustrations with bureaucracy and such as we did in the Army without the financial and esprit de corps benefits. After being out of the Infantry for a few years and have the clarity of hindsight, we realized that the Army really wasn't such a bad gig and that even the worst of times taught us things about ourselves that made us better people and far more content with life than most civilians (this includes spending 29 of the first 36 months married apart). I get all of the reasons this is a bad idea and as a former company commander I realize the deep flaws within many of the Army's systems as well as the thought process I used to call "square peg + round hole => bigger hammer". But it is the right decision for us at this point and I hope I can help someone else who is in this boat as well. To be fair, I have probably talked more MS1s out of HPSP than into it...
It seems like you have a good handle on the situation, which is 100X more than I can say for 99% of HPSP students.
I think the argument that civilian residents also have beurocracy issues is relevant but ultimately overused. Unless you've experienced both systems, its always a "grass is greener" scenario. I've met a lot of people who went civilian-military and military-civilian, and I've worked in both systems (granted, I spend most of my time in Army hospitals). There is certainly beaurocracy on both sides. I think the difference is that to the Army, the beaurocracy is by far the most important product of the system, whereas production and reimbursement is by far the most important product of the civilian system. Choose your poison. The fact is that that river generally flows one way - away from the military - with the occasional salmon coming back upstream.....I won't expand upon what happens to salmon that do that...

The Army most definitely gives perspective regarding how crappy life can be, and much can be learned from that. The question is: are you a serf or a citizen? Lots of people were happy in fuedal Europe where they didn't own their land, their crops, or their freedom, but they also had no overhead and didn't have to worry about the big picture. But ultimately most people rose up and chose not to live that way. It takes a certain type of person to not chafe under the yoke of military service. That isn't a criticism at all, BTW. My life would be much, much easier if it didn't bother me that I had to ask permission every time I want to fly out to see my family, or drive a few hours to a nearby city, or move, or if I didn't get text messages at 0630 every day to verify that I'm actually doing what I'm supposed to be doing from a person who's literally 10 feet away in another office, or if I didn't need to provide a 20 year old man a cup of my own urine every couple of weeks...If I didn't sweat that stuff, I'd probably be fairly content...but I do sweat it. I also sweat the possibility of career annihilation with a brigade surgeon slot, and the real chance that the Army might banish me back to some stone-aged post up inside the @$$ of the U.S. where I can't safely practice....but those worries are more overt.

No point here, btw, just observations.
 
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jabreal00

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My wife swore we would never return to the Army, especially with the GI Bill covering all of medical school.
If the GI bill covered all of your medical school, how were you able to get a HPSP scholarship?
 
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68PGunner

HPSP is a program to pay for med school. If the GI bill paid for med school, I too don't understand how the OP signed up for HPSP
He is using the old GI Bill which gives him about $1,800 in cold cash per month for up to 36 months. So, he could technically still use his GI and HPSP at the same time.
 

jabreal00

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He is using the old GI Bill which gives him about $1,800 in cold cash per month for up to 36 months. So, he could technically still use his GI and HPSP at the same time.
Then he is just using his old GI bill for living expenses and bills and NOT tuition. His statement was confusing because he said the GI bill covered all of medical school.
 

psychbender

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Then he is just using his old GI bill for living expenses and bills and NOT tuition. His statement was confusing because he said the GI bill covered all of medical school.
Maybe he's going to a really inexpensive school, and that $1800 a month would cover med school tuition?
 
OP
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Aug 13, 2014
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I'm a prior service Infantry Officer with 6 years, the post 9/11 paid for everything for the first two years and would have continued to pay for everything had I stayed civilian. I just cannot use it for tuition once the Army starts to pay.
 

Gastrapathy

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Giving away a free education for 14 years as an army physician in today's environment. You won't be a Soldier. You'll be an army doctor. This thread makes me sad.
 
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