Sunday, January 11, 2009

to HPSP or no?

I've been struggling with this.... (joining the NAVY for the HPSP program.)

Particularly today.

I can't decide whether or not the monetary benefits, prestige, and stability are worth it. It's an excellent opportunity. When I was in San Diego, I had to go to the Naval Hospital and I absolutely loved the staff there. I always thought it would be "cool" to be a Navy doc. But now that I have the opportunity to do it, there's one thing standing in my way.

I don't mind being told what to do or where to go, as long as I have a slight bit of say in it (choosing my specialty). I don't mind the unlikely possibility of going on a GMO tour. I don't mind base housing or military pay or any of the military life stigmas, because I've experienced it firsthand already. In fact, I'd love to join and live in officer housing as opposed to enlisted. I'd love to travel the world. I'd love to help those military wives who (as I briefly experienced firsthand before my ex came back and fathered three children, none obviously with me) endure so very much and receive so very little in return. That would be an honor.

I had been pretty gung-ho about it until this evening. My parents are staying with my brother and sister in law out of town in order to help my SIL out with the kids while my brother finishes up an important project. I have to go down and feed the animals while they are away. I went down today and my mom had left me a note. She gave me a list of instructions (water plants, put the mail on the bed, etc) and the last was "Always keep in your heart that I love you." And I seriously lost it.

I'm so close to my parents and it's so hard to imagine that I'll be leaving them. I'd give up anything just to make sure that they are cared for. My mom turned 68 this year and my dad turned 76. I don't know how much time I have left with them. They are at least somewhat healthy, but both have their problems.

If I remained a civilian, I would have more flexibility with my internship and residency as well as my location after completion. I will also have accrued approximately $250,000 in debt. I could work for a rural program in my family's area which would help some with loan forgiveness/repayment. But, I would be closer to my parents and have the ability to be near them in the event of illness. Not to mention the ability to take a leave of absence if necessary.

If I were to go the NAVY route, I would have very little flexibility with location of my internship/residency (one of ~3 sites - VA, MD and CA). Once I went active duty after my residency, I could be stationed in one of a plethora of beautiful places, but it is likely that I would have very little say in where I went. The kicker here is that I would be absolutely, positively debt free. But, it would be very difficult (if even possible) to take an emergency leave of absence if the need were to arise.

So, I don't know. Sometimes I wish I could just give up everything and move back with them and take care of them. They're by no means helpless, but I'd do anything for them. Anything. Here I am. Stuck, again, between a rock and a hard place. If anyone has any advice for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm so lost right now.


MammaDoc said...

I don't think I could ever do that. I'll admit that I've been tempted. Each of the military branches has contacted me at one point or another, and the idea of ending up debt free is tantalizing. However, I can't ever justify giving up my own freedom to choose where I work. My family is too important. Plus, once you finish your medical training, you will make a minimum of 100 grand a year. Depending on your specialty, you chould make MUCH more. The average OB starts out at 250K. The loans will get paid off.

~Momster said...

I agree with MammaDoc. :) The debt will take care of itself with your career.

Your love and adoration for your parents is so touching. I think that if you were very far away from them and held that way (as military does), it would be very difficult for you.

Good luck. :)