Re: premed single mom needing advice

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Originally posted by jensdream:
[b] I know this is my dream and tell myself I can do this, but I keep asking myself how is it
possible to work, go to school, and spend time
with my child any advice on how it is done will be greatly appreciated. Do you feel guilty? How do you ignore negative comments from others who tell you its impossible? [/b]

I’m a single parent (although engaged) and I’ve been one since the middle of my Master’s program, 5 years ago. I have the audacity to not only want to earn the MD but PhD also, I’m currently working part time on that and will start full-time this September. Depending on how my research goes this summer, I’m applying ot the MD/PhD program this summer for the class beginning in 2006.

The absolute FIRST idea you have to accept as a single parent is that your path to medical school will probably take a little longer the the married folks with children, so keep your timeline and expectations realistic. If you do search of my posts, you’ll see that I had planned to be in med school by now, but “life” changed things and I went with the flow. Most importanly, I have NO regrets about the path I’ve taken to get this far.

Second, don’t be embarrassed to ask for financial help. When I was in grad school, I received assistance to cover daycare expenses. There’s NO WAY I could have done it without this help even with child support. When it’s time to take the MCAT, apply for the fee waiver if you qualify for it.

Third, discuss your goals with people you KNOW are going to be supportive. For me that meant that I pretty much kept my plans to myself, even from my mother until I had things pretty much worked out and moving in the right direction.

Fourth, get into the habbit NOW of not using your “situation” as a crutch for why you can’t do certain things. If you’re late to class, the teacher doesn’t really need to know that it was because the sitter arrived late. Now if you’re late for a test, then break out the excuses!!! If you take repsonsibility for your actions, people are more likely to respect your efforts when they do learn what you’re dealing with.

So right now I work in the lab full-time while writing up my reseacrh into a paper, I’m taking 2 PhD classes, I’m studying for the MCAT, and I’m practicing a presentation for a meeting next month. How have I done it with my day starting at 5:45 AM everyday?

1) I have a PDA that I use to oprganize my daughter’s activities with my own. I also type my class notes and keep my personal calender. You’ll find that to do this as a single parent succcessfully, you’ll need to be organized.

2) I have a sitter pick my daughter from after-school care 3 days/week. Most of the time I’m in the lab/office late, but last Wednesday I used an hour of this time to browse the local Barnes and Noble. This is one of the BEST investments I’ve ever made! The sitter also drops my daugher off at her activities and I pick her up.

3) I do some school work while I’m at the lab/office. I don’t really need to watch the centrifuge spinning for an hour!

4) I walk a mile EVERYDAY, no exceptions and I practice breathing excercises for about 5 minutes/day. I also use the stairs EVERYDAY.

5) I cook what I call 30 minute meals that I’ve found on the internet and in the grocery store. We also eat out for dinner 3 times/week (No junk food) which helps with the cooking.

6) Saturday morning is my day of rest so I sleep in.

7) I’m the multitask queen so while I’m cooking a 30 minute meal, I’m also washing clothes.

Of course this will have to change once I start med school and right now what I imagine will change is that we’ll have someone do the cleaning. However, I think it would be worth it to borrow extra money to make your life as a single parent as comfortable as possible.

Finally about feeling guilty, I NEVER feel guilty about it. However, I’ve rarely allowed people to define me as a minority woman.
When my daughter is ill, I take time off from the lab or miss class and make it up later. With the exception of 3rd year rotations in med school which is at least 4 years away, I’ll probably do the exact same thing.

I sure hope this wasn’t too much to read! :wave: