Intro and a question :) — The Bump
Military Families

Intro and a question :)

Hi Ladies!

I've been lurking for awhile and thought I'd introduce myself.  My name is Megan and my DH was awarded the Army's HPSP scholarship for medical school.  He's currently in his fourth year and is already doing audition rotations at potential residency sites at different Army medical centers.  We have two girls and twins on the way (we find out Monday if we can add some blue to this house of pink).  I am currently SAH and working on my Master's in Psychology.  

I've really enjoyed learning from you ladies - it as been incredibly helpful!  Right now he's IRR, but will be considered AD once he starts his residency next year.  He's decided to be an OB/GYN, so our choices for residency are Ft. Lewis WA, Ft. Bragg NC, Tripler HI, Ft. Sam Houston TX, and Walter Reed D.C.  He has already been at/interviewed at Tripler and Ft. Lewis and will be heading to Ft. Bragg to complete a audition rotation and interview there next month. 

So my question is, if you live at/near this posts or have lived there, what do you like/don't like about it?  How are the schools?  Family activities?  Day care costs?  Any insight/information you could give would be greatly appreciated.  We have some information provided by the different residency programs, but I wanted to hear from you ladies to see what you thought.

Thanks for your help!!  Also, I *think* I followed the OSPEC guidelines since its just him/us and where we might PCS, right?  

Megan B.
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Re: Intro and a question :)

  • I live near the Bethesda Medical Center (aka Walter Reed since they merged) and its a nice area.  DC is a really congested city because there's so many people in such a small radius.  Most people either live in Maryland or Virginia, but sometimes you'll see the mega rich or really young who live in DC.  More than likely you'll be able to find semi affordable housing in the area, but it all depends on what you're looking for. 

    Schools:  Bethesda is located in Montgomery County which is considered one of the top 10 richest counties in America, so the school's are pretty good, but obviously there's still low-middle income individuals. Also, Montgomery County has a weird system when it comes to education, for the most part the parents pick which schools to send their kids, but I'm not 100% familiar with the process since I don't have children in the system.

    Family Activities: There's a ton to do in DC, and most of it's free! 

    Day Care costs: Well if you're not on a waiting list, then you're going to have a hard time finding daycare.  But, since you aren't sure where you'll be stationed, I would highly suggest the minute you find out you're moving to DC, that you look for daycare immediately.  Most bases have a 9-18 month waiting period for the CDC centers, so you're out of luck there, but there's alot of private daycare options in the area.  And they typically range between $250-$400 for an infant per week. 

    I hope that helps!  I'm not a huge fan of DC, but it's not a terrible place to live. 

     

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  • Hi there,

     I don't have any input as far as those locations go. I just wanted to say hi and welcome. My husband also did the Army HPSP scholarship program (he's a dentist). :-)

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  • I am from DC and LOVE the area! The traffic is terrible, but as PP said, there is tons of free stuff to do in the area. There is always something to do, and the area is absolutely beautiful. We are currently stationed at Bragg, and we like it so far. There aren't as many activities to do here, but we just got here a couple months ago. While DS is too young to consider schools, I have friends around here who have school age children. The schools are just so-so. They had to try to find housing in neighborhoods that had good schools. I don't know much about the daycare situation yet, either.Sorry I don't have more info for you! Good luck to you guys!
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  • HI and thanks Ashley for the info!  That was exactly what I was looking for!

     Hi Sarah!  The HPSP scholarship has been fantastic for us!  Otherwise, I am not sure if DH would have pursued going to med school.  I was actually even looking into it for myself - for getting a PhD in psychology.  Plus he has been talking about joining for years, so he's happy being able to serve :)

    Megan B.
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  • Well I can help you out with 2 of those places. Ive lived in Hawaii, and San Antonio.

    Tripler:

    what do you like/don't like about it? I liked the location. For the most part it is amazing. But I mean its Hawaii. I was kinda "over it" after 6 or so months. Tripler was an ok hospital. I know a few people who had babies there. I didnt like that it cost an arm and a leg to go home. We really were only able to go home once a year because of the cost. Plus you are on an island, so once you see everything..youve seen it you know?

    How are the schools? I dont know much about the schools. Everyone I knew had young kids.

    Family activities? There is a ton of things to do. On Schofield there is a pool, and a playground. There is of course the beach. Ok so thats all I can think of...haha.

    Day care costs? There is CYS. But I know when I left there was a waiting list. I know thats not much help..

    Ft. Sam Houston

    what do you like/don't like about it? I just moved from there. I really liked it for the most part. I hated the summer though, too freaking hot. And there wasn't much of a winter which being from the north I missed. The hospital is nice and they are re-doing a bunch of stuff so im sure it will be even better when its done. The area is really nice too. Tons of stuff too do!

    How are the schools? I knew one person who had a school age kid and she seemed to like the schools.

    Familiy activites? There is sea world, six flags, a short drive and there is the beach. There is a really nice zoo there. The Alamo and the riverwalk are nice but more for adults then kids.

    Day care costs? I heard day care was expensive..but I dont know for sure.

    Hope that helps!

     

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  • I'm from San Antonio and currently live in HI. LO was born at Tripler. I used the midwife program instead of a regular OB/GYN. My biggest complaint was scheduling - sometimes it was hard to make appointments, so it gave me the impression that maybe there aren't enough doctors and midwives.

    Hawaii schools: a lot of people put their kids in private school here. I hear a lot of negative things about the public schools, but know that some are better than others. If you go the public school route, you would probably want to research the different schools in the different areas to see where you want to live. Beyond that, I have no idea. I know private school is expensive, but I don't know about daycare since we haven't had to deal with that yet.

    There are lots of family things to do if you like the beach. There are also lots of family activities around town and on the various bases. You have to make yourself get out and connect with other people. There are lots of things to do if you make the effort...which I didn't for a few months and was kind of depressed until I started grad school and made friends. It's hard being so far away from family, too, and missing out on things since it's so expensive to travel back to the mainland.

    Negatives: I don't like being stuck on an island. We live off-base on the leeward side and it was hot, muggy, and we don't get much rain. (Tripler is on the other side, so you probably wouldn't have to deal with that.) Traffic can be frustrating - I always try to avoid being out from 3-6pm. It's not as bad as LA, Chicago, DC, etc., but it's hard to remember that when you're stuck on the freeway. Shopping choices are limited, and local food is not for everyone. But again, different areas of the island offer different options. If you come, take your time to really figure out where you want to live. I'm convinced that if we had lived in a different area, I would have enjoyed it more.

    San Antonio is great, but I'm biased because that's home for me. As far as schools, there are several school districts, so it depends on the area in which you live. There are lots of family things to do and lots of places you can go in the surrounding area on day trips. Summer can get pretty hot and they deal with drought pretty much every year. Cost of living is reasonable (especially compared to Hawaii).

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  • image demersebm:
    I am from DC and LOVE the area! The traffic is terrible, but as PP said, there is tons of free stuff to do in the area. There is always something to do, and the area is absolutely beautiful. We are currently stationed at Bragg, and we like it so far. There aren't as many activities to do here, but we just got here a couple months ago. While DS is too young to consider schools, I have friends around here who have school age children. The schools are just so-so. They had to try to find housing in neighborhoods that had good schools. I don't know much about the daycare situation yet, either.Sorry I don't have more info for you! Good luck to you guys!

    Thank you! Its good to know that DC might have more activities to do than Bragg.  We find out in December where we're going, so I might PM you in a few months if that's where we're headed :)  I know that it took me about 6-9 months to really find my way around Memphis and to find activities to do with the girls.

     

    Megan B.
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  • Thank you ArmyWifey and ladybugpjb! 

    We went to Hawaii back in January as a vacation/Christmas present/anniversary/potential residency site rolled into one trip so we saw a lot of what you both were talking about.  

    Megan B.
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  • We spent a year at Bragg and neither myself or DH liked it at all.  We don't have kids yet (1st is on the way!) so I can't tell you much about child care or schools.  I know that a lot of people choose not to live in Fayetteville.  Southern Pines and Pinehurst are the nicest areas, but are about a 30 min drive from post.  I also know a lot of ladies were NOT happy with their birth experiences at Womack.  The only good things about living there is that it was close to my family and the beach is only about 80 miles away.  Sorry I can't give you more information.  Good luck!
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