I was in your situation not so long ago, so I will try my best to answer these questions but ditto to Jfratian's responses
1. If you work every other weekend at your regular job, and you drill one weekend a month, does that mean you only have one weekend free per month?
My employer/manager counts my drill weekend as a work weekend so I have 2 free weekends a month, but as an ICU nurse I don't mind working weekends especially on day shift (less traffic)
2. Do you plan to stick with it for 20+ years? Yes, I love the military environment, but I am working on an active duty packet so if it is not too late for you and you don't have children this would be a perfect opportunity to consider Active Duty (you can retire earlier with Active Duty Service)
3. Did you have difficulty transitioning back to your civilian job after returning from deployment? (I have never mobilized, it is for the most part voluntary in our unit because we are a backfill batallion. I have done training for 30 days and coming back to civilian job was not a problem)
4. Anyone have any regrets on joining? Anyone here love the reserves and would stay in it for as long as they can? Only regret is not going Active Duty from the start of my military career, but I have made many friends and mentors and enjoyed my 2 years as a Reservist
5. During drill weekends, are you working as a nurse or attending classes moreso? This is unit-dependent but no nurse work. We follow a training schedule and they give us allotted times for section training. So basically there is an ICU platoon, Auxillary Platoon, Med-surg platoon, etc.
6. I've never lived far away from my family. Being in the reserves would keep me close to them, but during deployment I am a little bit afraid of the homesickness aspect. Anyone want to share on their experience with that? My biggest struggle was leaving the family behind occasionally facetiming them helped, plus you will probably be too consumed with the duties and new environment that time will just fly
7. Is passing the GI bill along to your kids/future kids an option? Yes if you get deployed/mob for more than 90 days
8. Does drill weekend pay cause any financial hardship for you? I live in a state with a very high cost of living, and minusing one weekend a month of my civilian pay would make things slightly more difficult for me.
No it does not but drill weekend is less pay. But for me it is like a mental break from civilian life because I am doing non-nursing related things and more soldier oriented-tasks. My reserve unit pays for mileage and gives us a hotel to stay for drill weekend, but this is all dependent on budget and what unit you are in.
9. For the single people, who handles your finances/bills when you're on deployment? Do you rent out your home during that time? Or you just find a family member/friend to handle it for you? I don't want to burden anyone with those kinds of things. I guess I could find a property manager temporarily if I need to? I would stick with a family member to handle it, IMO
10. For the ladies, did you take birth control during deployment to prevent your period? Or did you just deal with it? N/A
Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions and best of luck