I'm going to be an M1 at Drexel, and I've been in the Army National Guard since 1998 as a combat engineer officer. I was almost positive that I would go into an inactive status during med school, but after getting a bill for 16,000$ yesterday , now I am starting to consider drilling as an actual possibility.
Some things for you to consider:
1. If you are considering joining the National Guard, unless you are prior service, you will have to go through basic training/AIT before you are MOS qualified (translation: you need to get your initial training to learn how to do the duties of your branch)
2. If you are an officer, you will definitely have obligations outside of your weekend drills (sometimes during the week/etc)... I was in an 'enhanced' unit in San Diego, and I would estimate that I had about 10 hours per month (unpaid) in addition to drill weekends
3. Given the current military climate, there is a non-zero possibility that your unit may get activated. Barring that, you might have to get called up for state missions (my company was called up for the LA Riots, and was drilling during Y2K in case of a worst-case disaster scenario)
4. Still, even with all the drawbacks, it's been pretty cool being a combat engineer...Where else can you get the chance to drive around in a HMMWV or armored personnel carrier, shoot an M-16, or blow up 50 pounds of C4 and then go back to work/school on Monday?
p.s. I am not a recruiter and you should definitely get their input on the issue...
There is a special program in the National Guard for Medical Students. It is called the "Early Commissioning Program". In this program, you are commissioned as a 2nd Leutenant and drill one weekend a month. You cannot be activated during medical school. This program is in the Army and Air National Guards. Contact the recruiter for more information.
It is great during medical school. $300 extra each month. They bend over backwards to accommodate you since you are a medical student, they are very flexible with missing drills, etc... You qualify for a few hundred dollars a month in college assistance. And as stated above, in this program you cannot be mobilized during medical school !!!!
But, you must commit 8 years. Therefore, when you finish medical school and are in residency, you will be placed in a regular medical unit and can be activated. Although you probably will not be activated during PGY1 since you are not yet licensed as a physician and I hear they try not to mobilize you during residency. But, during residency, there still is the risk of mobilization and you must do the one weekend each month and 2 weeks a year duty.