“Every single decision I’ve made regarding a career, has been my second choice. Every. Single. One. Usually because I was trying to make someone else happy. I’m done taking my second choices. This is my first choice, and I should have done it 7 years ago.”
I grew up with my parents in the military, on and around a military base. Since I was a very small child, I’ve wanted to wear the uniform. Soon after that desire took root, a fascination with medicine followed. I was 11 years old when I realized that yes, I did know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a military doctor.
As many of us do, I got distracted, I let people convince me it was too hard, too far-fetched, too this or that or the other. Someone told me that the world didn’t need Florence Nightingales anymore. That statement hit me hard. Did that mean that what I felt, the undeniable pull to help others and go places no one else could or would go, was all just in my head? Why was the very thing that both motivated and scared the crap out of me a waste of time and effort?
Long story short, I listened to the wrong people, did a lot of settling on choices rather than following my heart. I learned a lot. I lived a lot. I don’t regret it, exactly, but it does feel like a very long detour. I graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in English. I got a phlebotomy certificate in 2011. I knew after that that I would never be happy or fulfilled unless I was doing something in the medical field. I worked for the Red Cross in their blood collections for over 2 years. In that time I decided that it wasn’t too late, I could still try and if I didn’t make it through, at least I would have that one huge “what if” hanging over my head answered.
I started army basic combat training (BCT) in January 2014. A few weeks in, I tore my ACL on an obstacle course and had to have surgery and months of rehab, all while staying in BCT. It sucked. But with the support of my family, even with long weeks in between hearing from me or only having letters, I graduated in November 2014. Finished my AIT in April 2015. Currently stationed in South Korea.