Meg Joins the Navy

A new member of the Navy Nurse Corps and a proud wife of a Navy corpsman stationed together at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

10 October 2011

My Navy Journey Thus Far... The Applicaton Process

When someone knows what it's like to be a military family, military spouse, military member, military child, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandparent, parent, best friend, etc., you learn a lot about PATIENCE.  If there is one thing I have learned with my own experience of applying for the Nurse Corps Program, it's to not worry about things that are out of your hands, like time and waiting.  The worrying does nobody any good.  I repeatedly had to remind myself, "Meg, it's out of your hands. The only thing left for your hands to do is pray."

My journey so far with the Navy has been the typical military experience, if you have any connection with the military you know what it all entails, tests of patience, tears of frustration, tears of joy, tears of anger, tears of sadness, lots of waiting around, numerous phone calls, stacks of paperwork, many scanned documents, many faxes, endless questions, endless decisions.  My personal military experience began with a long, drawn-out thought process over years. 

It was my sailor (before he left for basic training) who told me to look into it all.  At first my choices stood #1 Army, #2 Air Force, #3 Navy.  The websites were thoroughly examined.  Long periods of time on the phone with recruiters were normal for about 2 weeks.  (It is no easy hike when choosing a military career.)  Long story short - the Navy accepted my application first and really got the ball rolling with it all.  I had to rush to get my paperwork in because the deadline was coming up because I had decided to do all of this over the winter break of my junior year.

Another thing about the military that everyone can relate to is the phrase, "Hurry up to wait."
Hurry up to finish paperwork, hurry up to move, hurry up to get up, hurry up to run from building to building, hurry up off the bus.  I had no idea just how familiar I would become with that phrase.

I spent my Valentine's Day this past year in a hotel room, alone, the night before my MEPS physical.  If you know nothing about MEPS, let me tell you... bring your patience and your common sense.  This is typically a military person's first experience on base.  Don't be a fool.  Yes, there will be yelling, unless you use your common sense to fill out the paperwork.  Quite honestly, I (who cannot yell at anyone without starting to cry) would yell at you in this situation because they tell you step-by-step-by-step-by-step how to do it so you probably deserve it.  Also, MEPS will be one of the longest, most boring days of your life.  You will sit around, tired of waking up at 0400, without the use of your cell phone to keep you entertained.  It's the first display of the patience you will need to have.

After that, months of more waiting till I got my call, "You're in!"  The next day, "Sorry, you're not in, you've just been approved that your paperwork is complete and you have security clearance."

More months of trying my patience (I was still trying to develop it).  Many impatient update calls to my recruiter.  When I finally got the call, I cried tears of happiness.  3 days later, "I'm sorry, we miscounted.  You're actually the very next person to be picked up."  With this I actually got an "I'm sorry" phone call, apologizing for the mishap.  Although it didn't come from the man who made the mistake, getting an apology, a sincere apology, from my recruiter really made a difference.  I believe he said, "It's really embarrassing that we don't even know how to count."  ONE more month of waiting and I was finally sitting in my recruiter's office signing all the paperwork *sigh of relief*

I don't even have my uniform yet and I have learned so much.  I've never been a particularly patient person.  All right, I'm very impatient.  I've learned I cannot do anything about things that are out of my hands, like applications, orders, deployments, etc.  Worrying is not going to help so pray, pray, pray, pray, pray like there's no tomorrow.  I've also learned nothing is final until you have signed.

Since then it's been more paperwork, emails, phone calls, questions, and trials of patience.  My biggest question right now is:

Where should I request for my top 3 choices for my 1st active duty station?  Bethesda, Portsmouth, San Diego, Pensecola, Lejeune, Pendleton, Jacksonville, or Bremerton.  Any insight to these hospitals, bases, or areas is welcome! I need all the help I can get!