Intro and Bio

Hello all. I’m an aspiring pre-med student. However, I’ve been called back to duty, and I am now on my 4th tour in Iraq. I am kind of upset that this took me away from my aspirations of becoming a doctor. However, I have been fortunate to volunteer my time at the medical treatment facility to gain experience in the op room and triage observing and helping where I can from simple cuts to traumatic combat wounds. I’ve also been lucky to attend refresher courses such as airways, CLS, IV, CPR, treatment of loss extremeties, and EMT refresher courses. Well, that’s me. I hope that I can find inspiration from you all and see how we all slowly reach our aspiration of becoming doctors. Rgds. JB

JB, welcome to our group. And thank you for your patriotism and duty.

I have friends that have completed med school and served in Iraq. I know they would tell you to keep up the good work you are doing, but don’t give up on your dream to become a physician. That opportunity will still be here when you get home!

Again, welcome and please, keep us posted!

Thank you for the welcome Linda. Appreciate it. I didn’t mention about the environment here. We are the only U.S. Forward Operating Base for about 200 miles. Thus, we have access to the most advance medical care. Being so, the local nationals (Iraqis) all come in droves to our front gate. Many of whom I have to turn away. Unless it is LLE (life, limb, eyesight loss) then I have to make the decision of not taking them. I’m talking about gunshots wounds, wounds caused by explosives,head injuries, many car accidents, torture,…major trauma. One thing I notice is that there are a lot of burn victims. Mostly because they use kerosene to cook in an unsafe room setting, or as a customary form of punishment with scalding water. Life is cheap here in Iraq, and I’ve seen my share of death - in combat and everyday life. To add to their misery, these people have nothing. In many cases not even the basic amenities that we take for granted in the States. Overall, this experience has left me with a deep sadness, but more mission focused in completing med school. JB

Thank you for serving - a 4th tour, no less - and for sharing your perspective. I expect the inspiration here will be mutual. Welcome to OPM .

I’d also like to add a welcome and a thank you for serving our country.

Thanks pi1304 and Emergency. Hey did any of you take a MCAT prep course prior to testing? I was thinking of taking the Princeton review when I get back.

I didn’t, but I might have considered it if I had had more time. I took it back in the days of only two test dates a year - so I finished organic chemistry on Monday, studied the rest of the week for the MCAT, and took it on Saturday. (Not a plan I would recommend, btw).

Wow, Emergency, that’s impressive! I wish I had the brain cells to do what you did and review without a prep. I just want to cover all bases, hence the review course. Rgds. JB

Hey JB, welcome to OPM and thanks for representing our country nobly. It must be very hard to turn people away, and see the many awful things you’ve seen.

You’ll find lots of different outlooks on MCAT prep. I will say very honestly that the reason I took a course (Kaplan) was because I knew that if I relied on my own study schedule, I’d procrastinate, fall behind, and then try to cram in a panic - it was my tried-and-true tactic from college and I only partially “cured” it when I went back to school.

So I like to say that I paid Kaplan $1400 to babysit me and make me study. It’s sad, but it’s true. I also think that paying all that $$$$$ forced me to put more into it. It feels stupid to admit this but it is true. It worked.


Eh, don’t give me too much credit for brain power. I had taken all of the prereqs (except for the last quarter of physics) in less than a year. So, in theory, I just did one giant year of MCAT prep. Everything was still fresh in my brain. Plus, I’ve always done fairly well on standardized tests, so I didn’t spend a lot of time on “test-taking strategies”.


Thks for the welcome statement. Ha ha, like your short bio. In debt - but I think your tradoff was well worth it. I considered Kaplan, but I had good experience with Princeton in my previous life. Yes, Mr. Procrastination is a friend to us all I think.

Emergency had it right when she said it was fresh in her brain - I think that is the most opportune time to prep and take the MCAT.

BTW, I’m from Arlington, VA. Met my wife at Georgetown University. Take care . JB


Hey, I just got done with a refresher course at our Medical Facility here in camp. Topic was chest wounds.

Man, all the stuff we learned in the States really doesn’t apply here as much. Mary could probably attest to this…what they teach in the books is sometimes different in the field.

Hopefully, I can send some pics depicting combat surgery. The chief surgeon said it was okay. Take care. JB