Take advantage of what is offered and what is available.

Document created by richardb on Nov 5, 2015Last modified by amara.mastronardi@socialedgeconsulting.com on Dec 5, 2016
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I am an Army National Guardsman, Veteran and student.  My road to getting back into college was pretty long and took a number of years to happen.  I would like to focus this story in an effort to motivate other prior service members, and let them know that anything is possible. 


Separating from Active duty, I had to ask myself, "Now what?"  I had numerous plans, and a most didn't work out.  I began working at a local hospital, and after observing the various professions around me, I decided the Physician Assistant profession was the best fit.  The hard work followed. 


I had to complete all the prerequisites, volunteer time, and paid experience, all the while supporting a family of four and still fulfilling my National Guard duty.  I used up most of my GI Bill benefits completing the mandatory course for admission, and was luck enough to qualify for the VA's Vocational Rehab program.  The Vocational Rehab program (Chapter 31) would afford me the possibility to attend PA school, and still support my family.  I threw all of my eggs in one basket, by applying to the only school I have ever wanted to attend.  The University of Southern California had a great PA program, and I had missed out in an opportunity to complete my undergraduate degree there many years prior. 


I was fortunate enough to be extended an invitation to attend the PA program at the University of Southern California.  Combined with the Vocational Rehab benefits, the National Guard also contributes to pay the costs of going to an expensive private university.  I will have minimal student loan debt when I am done with my 3-year program.  After all, I have to do everything possible to keep my kids in good schools and to keep my wife happy.


I fully understand that I have been repeated blessed in many aspect of my life.  But, I have also worked hard to make everything happen.  I hope other veterans and prior service members will fully take advantage of all the benefits that their service provides them.


Life is great!