Written by: Lauren – Guest Blogger sharing her perspective as a VA employee and patient during her second pregnancy.
I wanted to say thank you for the support you’ve offered by reading this blog. All is well, I had another baby checkup and apparently the baby is quite active because it kept moving away from the midwife while she was trying to find the heartbeat. I have also started feeling these tiny little kicks in my belly. I have noticed that if I am having a stressful, exhausting day, those little kicks instantly make me feel better.
Since I have been overly emotional lately (thanks hormones), I am feeling very reminiscent. Early on this month, I had my commencement ceremony (I technically finished in December but they only have one ceremony a year), and I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how I ended up here. So I figured I would indulge that trip down memory lane and tell you how I came to work at VA.
Three weeks after I got out of the Navy, I started college online using my Post 9/11 GI Bill. A semester later, we moved and I started attending Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia with the goal of getting a degree in business. I ended up adding a lot of other goals to that list, including doing student internships and starting a Student Veterans Organization on campus. I am proud to say I was able to accomplish it all.
It was hard at times being a wife, mom and student but it was very rewarding. And quite honestly if I would have never met some of my fellow student Veterans, I would not be where I am today. One told me about the local VA hospital and how they were looking for work-studies. I said I would look into it and I did. During that process, an actual position opened up in the Public Affairs Office, called a “Pathways Internship.” It is an internship program specifically designed for students who are a year or so away from graduating or have just graduated. I applied and was fortunate enough to be selected!
It was exhausting. I would get to work at 6 a.m. to work for a few hours, then go to school and later come back to work a little bit more just so I could fit in as many hours between my full-time school schedule. But I learned SO much and realized VA is where I want to be. I was in the program for about a year and a half before I was converted in January to a full time Public Affairs Specialist.
The best part of my job is getting information to Veterans; telling them about the wonderful things VA does every day. I feel so lucky and know that I have many opportunities ahead of me.
So here I am—19 weeks pregnant, feeling emotional and overwhelmingly happy with how far I have come in a few short years. I would not have been able to do this without the support of my family, friends, fellow student Veterans and my great mentors and supervisors at the medical center.
Learn more about various opportunities for students and trainees at VA.
Lauren is a Navy Veteran and current Public Affairs Specialist at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia. Throughout her second pregnancy, she will be sharing her thoughts and experiences as a patient at VA. We are all excited to follow her on this healthcare journey!