Introduction - A vet about to leave the service!

Hello everyone! I am a 24 year old veteran of the United States Army, and I am about to end my service with nearly 7 years in the Army. I have held a leadership position for most of my time in, been deployed, etc, etc. I am a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP…computer network stuff), and have worked hard the entire enlistment to excel in my field. Recently, my wife and I welcomed our two new daughters (twin girls!), and I had some sort of epiphany, that I wanted to work with children in a medical capacity. I realize this will likely change, but I’ve always enjoyed helping people. I’m well known for stopping at nearly every disabled vehicle on the side of the road to assist…something I partially blame the military for.

I have always been interested in medicine, but being in the military in my current career, has made it difficult to get into the medical field- at least without re-enlisting. Anyways…

So now I stand, with about 8 months left in the Army. I do have some college, but most of it is online, and most likely non-transferable. I do have my entire GI Bill available to put towards my undergrad education, which is great. I have no doubt I can manage to get a decent to high GPA once starting my undergrad in a few months, but I’m mostly concerned about the juggling act of being the primary provider at home and a student. The only break I will receive is when my wife completes her R.N schooling in two years, so that I can cut my hours back to focus on school.

In the next few months before I get out, I am taking an Introduction to College Algebra class, and volunteering at a children’s hospital. Math has never been my best subject, but as of late I’ve done a lot of studying on my own and have picked it up much better than I did in school. I want to be well-prepared going into the more difficult classes required as pre-reqs to medical school.

Anyways, I’ve pretty much just written a novel, but I wanted to see what others thought of my story, and if anyone had any advice to give.

I look forward to hanging around, and speaking with others who are more non-traditional students like myself.

Welcome! No apology necessary about writing your “novel” – it’s great to hear the details of your background. (And believe me, I’ve written plenty of novels on this board myself, and no one’s thrown me off yet. )

Congrats on starting your journey with College Algebra and volunteering. That’s a good place to begin. And having the GI bill behind you to help with funding is wonderful – school is INCREDIBLY expensive nowadays, as I’m finding out for myself!

Anyway, I don’t have too much advice for you at this point, as I’m not a vet, but I just wanted to welcome you to the board, and wish you the best. Stick around, and keep posting about your progress. You can achieve your dreams if you really put your mind, heart, and soul into it.

Thanks for the response. I just enrolled in an “Intro to Chemistry” class for the heck of it. I am getting out of the military as I stated, but I have some college money that I will lose if I don’t use it within a few months (separate from the GI Bill), so I figured what the heck…chemistry is a weak subject for me, math is OK.

I also am fairly certain my undergrad school will not allow me to take General Chem I without having taken chem in high school in the last 5 yrs, or a decent placement score- which I have neither. Taking Intro to chem and college algebra will give me a base of knowledge to build off of, I think, and generally get me in the swing of studying again. Plus, as I said, it’s basically free…why not.

Welcome to OPM’s! Taking the Intro to Chemistry course sounds like a great idea as well! Is it truly an introductory course, not the regular General Chemistry I (which in some schools is called Intro. to Chemistry)? It sounds like you are moving ahead toward your goals well.


The Intro to Chemistry is (as far as I know), a truly introductory class. I never took a full year of Chemistry in high school, so I feel that’s probably an area I need to brush up on before I begin my pre-reqs in a few months and are graded on it. I have been doing some pre-studying so far, and already think I’ve got a good headstart and should be OK in the class. I’m just trying to build a strong foundation so that my future classes will not be quite as bad.

It’s going to be an extremely long journey, as my wife and I have three young girls, but I try to view it all as a marathon. My wife thinks it’s funny that my “back up plan” is “there is no back up plan…retake classes if necessary…get admitted to med school”.


Some food for thought that may or may not apply to your situation. While in school, the Reserves/Guard is an option for additional funds and some benefits. Of course, there’s still the potential you could deploy with either of these which would slow down your school progress. On flip side, it still provides a decent health care option and a little money in the pocket.

If you still have the Post 9/11 GI Bill, my understanding is it can go towards medical school and could cover a significant portion if you attend a state school in the state you claim residency. Plus, you can earn the BAH of an E-5 while school.

My plan is to work part-time and try to pay for my undergrad prereqs and then tap into the the GI Bill for med school. This is my plan because I’m not planning on working while in med school and the BAH will come in handy then.

Also, depending on your state residency and school, there may be some veteran’s benefits to help you with school. Look around for some potential veteran/military scholarship as well.

Check to see if the school your attending has a Veterans Office and they may have some other pointers.