September 30 came and went. No letter. According to NHSC, that was supposed to be the magic date for scholarship recipients. If you didn’t get it, you’d know by Oct. 5. October 1 came, then October 2. Although, as we kept reminding ourselves … we are dealing with the government, after all. The next day was a Sunday, so we thought for sure if we didn’t hear by Monday, then it was all over.
You can imagine my disappointment when I got back from Zumba on Monday night and Will showed me the day’s mail – a cable TV ad and a pre-approved offer from Discover. No letter, no scholarship. On NHSC’s Facebook page, people were complaining that they hadn’t heard yet. Turns out no one had. And so we waited.
Tuesday rolled around, the day NHSC said the scholarship rejects would learn their fate. I had just gotten back from a meeting when I saw a message from my husband on my work e-mail. There was nothing but a subject line that read, “Check yo gmail, foo.” If it was possible to could tear open an e-mail the way people used to rip open college admissions letters, I would have given myself a paper cut.
Once I saw the words “We are pleased to inform you …” I stopped reading. I nearly screamed into the phone when Will picked up, probably pissing off an entire hallway of co-workers, but it didn’t matter. We got the scholarship!
Why the screaming? Three years of med school paid in full, plus books and fees, and about $1,000 cash stipend each month. Since we’re already living off my income, we’re going to plug away at undergrad and first-year loans with the stipend so we owe almost nothing when we become “real people” again.
To make an extremely complicated explanation short, the government pays for a year of med school for each year we commit. Since we missed applying for the first year, we’ll have three years paid for and owe three years in an underserved area after Will finishes residency. It could be a rural area with a dearth of doctors, an inner-city clinic that has a hard time keeping staff or a federal assignment, such as an Indian reservation or an immigration center. In six years when Will is licensed to practice on his own, we can apply for any NHSC approved jobs. So we’ll see where we end up. Pretty much anywhere is sounding good for a nearly $200,000 scholarship.
Some well-meaning friends and family posted “Congrats, God is good!” on my Facebook page. While this is true, it makes me wonder whether anyone would have posted “God is good” if my status said we’d been rejected. Probably not. God is good all the time, not just when awesome things happen. But that’s a topic for another blog.