In the winter of 2013, I had an ETS date six months away and no plan. I was an O-3 in the Army’s Medical Service Corps, and had come to the realization over the past few years that I was infinitely more interested in the clinical side of medicine than on the things that I had been working on–namely medical logistics and overseeing training of my medics. But it never occurred to me that I could do anything about it…I had a degree in Art, Philosophy, and Literature from West Point, which clearly wasn’t much help and a Master’s in Health Care Administration, a field that didn’t interest me at all.
Just when I resigned myself to making the march through career fairs targeting former junior officers that would most likely have landed me a job in middle management somewhere–the path of so many JMO’s before me–my husband stepped in. He looked me in the face one days and told me that he knew–just knew–that I’d never be happy anywhere but in medicine. He’d done a little research and came across something called a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program. In such a program, I could complete all of my pre-requisites to medical school, take the MCAT, and have people around me who would walk me through every step of the application process. Too good to be true, I thought, but I also figured I had nothing to lose…so I dropped two applications, to Goucher College and Johns Hopkins. Before I knew it, I was sitting in a room with 32 other people who, like me, had decided that they wanted to pursue medical school despite having “non-traditional” backgrounds. Coincidentally enough, though, I was the only one in the class who had ever served in the military. This, I soon discovered, was a pretty common theme.
Now, four years later, I’m a rising fourth-year medical student wrapping up my required clerkships and preparing to apply for residency. While I was in school, I have made several connections (mostly via LinkedIn) from other transitioning veterans hoping to leave the military and apply to medical school but with no idea where to start. Unfortunately, I found, there weren’t a lot of resources targeted at the veteran population. I’m always more than happy to tell my story and give advice based on my experience–both what I did and what I’d have done differently had I known better. Recently, I did an interview with Beyond the Uniform in which I got candid about the comedy of errors that even got me to Goucher in the first place, what it felt like to go back to school after having been out of the classroom for so long, and what it felt like being the only veteran in both my post-bacc class and my medical school class. But this year, my husband and I decided that more could be done to provide guidance, advice, and–honestly–just some clear, complete, and unbiased information for veterans and transitioning service members who are thinking about medical school. Thus, Vet2MD was born.
Clearly, the site is still a work in progress. Please do not hesitate to contact me or connect with me on LinkedIn for any and all questions you may have. I am more than happy to give additional information, advice, and recommendations based on my experience and insight now that I have been through the whole process.