Back in Africa

So my America trip is finished and I’m back in Benin with a med school acceptance in hand. I’m about 99% sure that I’ll be matriculating at this school (my in-state school for any curious folks out there) but I haven’t officially withdrawn from other places yet. I think I’ll wait to hear back from the other three schools where I interviewed just to keep all my options open. Probably by Christmas, though, I’ll decide for sure. I’m already looking at housing options and thinking about stuff like loans and getting a new car. I’m so excited!

This excitement is somewhat tempered by a couple factors, however. A lot of people who are pretty knowledgeable about this stuff have mentioned the money factor. The thing is, all that wonderful loan money to pay for med school doesn’t actually arrive until after school starts. So basically until then, one has to pay for things out of pocket. These things are pretty expensive ones, too…things like moving costs, first apartment supplies costs (furniture, silverware, a toaster for crying out loud), downpayment on a new car, first month of rent…etc etc. And well, the fact is, I won’t HAVE that money if I stay in Africa until May, when I already have to ET. We get a readjustment allowance, but a lot of that is going to go toward living costs and bills for a few months plus the wedding in June. So basically I’ll be seriously struggling.

So what to do? Ah, yes. Leave a little earlier than planned and get a job, the American dream. If I’m already going to have to ET, I might as well do it early enough so that I can work and save up for all those start up costs. And then there’s the added benefit of getting to live at home and see my family regularly for the last time before I get married and start my own independent life.

On a professional and personal level, early terminating from the Peace Corps for family and financial reasons after a year and a half of service isn’t going to be viewed negatively by anyone. Med schools don’t care, my family and friends understand, and those that don’t really don’t have a frame of reference for it so I’ll let ’em off the hook for their judgments. 😀

Plus, I’m really getting to the point where I think I’ve gotten as much out of the Peace Corps and given as much to my village as I can. A few extra months isn’t going to make a big difference in the grand scheme of things and I think my restless misery at staying is not worth it anymore. I haven’t decided 100% if I’m leaving, but I’m strongly considering it, especially knowing that a good friend of mine in the same situation is ETing at the end of the month to get a job before med school, too.

Whatever I decide I’ll let ya know!

Keep it classy,

Elaina

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