March 31, 2004 at 4:22 am #113297
I didn’t think my story was all that interesting until I started interviewing for med school. I looked around at all the other interviewees and realized I was a zebra among horses. :laughing: But I also know that there are many women like me who decide to tackle a medical career somewhat later in life. So we may have put the cart before the horse, so to speak, we still have what it takes to get into med school! I thought it might be useful for those of you in a similar situation to read what I’ve done and what happens when I start med school late this summer.
First, a brief rundown to get me started. 😉
I just turned 34 and I’ve been married nearly 13 years to a fantastic and supportive man. We have 3 kids. A 9 yr old daughter and 7 yr old fraternal twin boys.
I began my path to medical school when my daughter was a year old. I was inspired to pursue a career I thought was beyond my reach after my daughter had open heart surgery at 5 weeks of age. She had a very serious congenital heart defect that was not caught until she was critically ill. Fortunately, she had her surgery, recovered and is now an athletic and energetic 4th grader.
I was moved by the care that was provided to her, to us, and to the hundreds of families in the children’s hospital where she had her surgery. I had always had some interest in medicine, but a very traditional upbringing and some rotten school counselors made me think that women who want kids can’t be doctors. (that, and I didn’t have enough confidence in my academic abilities!)
So after my child turned a year old, I went back to school to start the prereqs.
okay, that’s only scratching the surface! :laughing: I need to think about the best way to write all this without boring everyone to death. More soon!April 1, 2004 at 8:26 am #113299
y’all feel free to PM me with the encouraging notes. I was pleasantly surprised by the feedback! 😀
Now where was I?
Okay, so at 25, with my 1 yr old daughter, I started asking questions about med school. My husband had a friend who was just completing his MD/PhD at Baylor. We had dinner with him and his wife one night and I expressed how I wished I had majored in Bio and gone to med school. He pointed out that it wasn’t necessary and that many people were going to medical school these days via less traditional routes. *revelation* I had no idea!
2 months later I was registering for Bio I, Chem I, and Phy I ! I was sure I wasn’t smart enough, but I just had to know if I could do it. Well, I did it. a 4.0 that semester. completely shocked myself.
But then I started thinking about all the implications and worrying about my child growing up as an only child. And money got tight. So, the next semester I was only part time and… I got pregnant. Much to my surprise, twins!!!
That really put a wrench in things. I had to drop my Chem II course because I was just physically exhausted and kept getting sick during my 8am class. 😮 But I had good news that semester too. My advisor had encouraged me to apply for a summer research position and I got it!
I worked with a Cardiologist that summer while I was in my 2nd trimester. It worked out pretty well. I was primarily doing journal research and gathering info from patient files. I loved the time I got to spend in clinic with the doctor.
Shortly afer my research ended I was put on bed rest and then had my boys at 35 weeks. Not too bad for a mom carrying twins and trying to handle a just-turned 2 yr old! 😀
after the boys were born, I was able to take Bio II at a community college at night. (they were 4 months by then) But my steam and money were running low. I spent a lot of time worrying about how I would raise 3 kids and be a good mom while going to med school. Mommy guilt really interfered with my ability to move forward.
When the boys turned 2, I was ready to hit the trail again. I only needed Organic Chem and a second yr of Bio at that point.
more soon!April 2, 2004 at 2:06 am #113301
phew! It’s hard work to get all the info in. :laughing:
Let’s see, I have now gotten up to the Fall 1998. My daughter was 4 and the boys turning 2. I taught preschool at the kids’ school so that I could afford for them to go. I worked MWF and then had a friend watch the kids while I took Organic I that semester.
That semester was a disaster. I was working hard but overwhelmed by the demands of the family and my class and my husband worked all the time. His job was terrible and he was miserable.
He announced he was quitting (for good ethical reasons) in October. I should have dropped the class at that point, but I didn’t. We were living in Houston at the time and he came home in early Nov. to announce he’d been offered a job in New Hampshire. I had to look at a map to see which state it was!!!!
My house was on the market by Thanksgiving. I escaped Organic I with a C. (yup, a C) before that, all my prereq’s were A’s and I felt like a failure. I also felt that the only way to keep the family together and take care of everyone was to give up on medicine. So I did. Even though I only needed to take Org II in the Spring and the MCAT in order to apply, I quit.
We moved right after New Year’s and it only took about 2 months for me to become really depressed. I tried to think of another career that would satisfy my interests and wound up applying for a Master’s in Communication Disorders. (speech pathology) I got into the program. Began the Master’s in Fall 2000. a year after we had moved, the company decided to relo their offices to Houston. Yes, we had to move back! 😡
I had to give up the speech program and I was furious, even though I had already realized speech wasn’t going to fulfill my needs. I decided to wait a year before I made anymore career decisions.
Various other events continued to disrupt our lives. I wound up working as a speech therapist for a while. That experience cemented my desire to pursue medicine. 😉
In Fall of 2002 I bit the bullet and returned to take Biochem and Genetics. got A’s. screwed up my courage in 2003 and tackled Org II without repeating I and after 4 years away from the subject. I hired a tutor and worked with him twice a week. I also took the Kaplan course for the MCAT. Got a ‘B’ in Org II, of which I am very proud! :laughing: Sucess with the MCAT as well. 😀
Next time I’ll write about the application experience. Feedback is appreciated! 😀April 3, 2004 at 1:40 am #113303
This one may be brief since the kids are already home from school. I’m in this weird transition year. I’m home fulltime and my kids are all in school fulltime! I didn’t work this year because of the application cycle (needed to be free to interview) and because my husband travels to CA every week for his work. I’m the only parent around, so sick kids and all the other details of family life are soley on my shoulders during the week. But it’s kinda feast or famine. Either I’m incredibly busy with the kids’ lives and volunteering, or I’m dead bored!
So, to let you know what my stats looked like. (I suppose there’s no point in being modest, since I know I was dying for specific info when I was applying last year.) I had an overall ugrad GPA of 3.49 (Anthropology 1991) a prereq sci GPA of 3.72 (due to Org, all others were A’s)and a 33 MCAT (10P 14V 9B).
Overall, it wasn’t bad, but I was very nervous about the fact that I hadn’t had a fulltime job in nearly 9 years and hadn’t been in school fulltime since the brief grad program in 2000.
Oh, and for those of you who haven’t applied yet, one of the BIGGEST headaches of the application process for me was the letters of recommendation. I had volunteered at a hosp. once a week for about 9 months by application time, so my Vol Director wrote one of them. I shadowed a pediatrician over a 3 month period and he kindly provided a letter as well. the tricky part was getting letters from professors. I only had a couple of recent classes, Biochem, Genetics, & Org II. Well, with the B in Org, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for a letter. My genetic prof enthusiastically wrote me a letter, but the premed committee wouldn’t count it towards the academic letter requirement because she wasn’t actually on the faculty, but a visiting lecturer. 😡
Then there was the Biochem prof. I did very well in his course. He know me, he saw me there everyday. I asked him for a letter and he said yes. I waited, I emailed reminders per his request, and I even dropped by a couple of times. Did he ever write the letter? NO! Did he ever say he wouldn’t , of course not. jerk. 😡 He was on the premed eval committee, too!(didn’t know that ’til later)
My other letters came from profs who hadn’t seen me in 4-6 years but who were willing to write letters based on my resume and lengthy conversations. One prof even wrote the letter in less than a week’s time when I realized the Biochem prof wasn’t coming through. Bless that prof’s soul. 🙂 Anyway, at that point it payed off that I had attended classes regularly and asked questions because the prof’s remembered me!
I applied to the TX med schools, which have their own application, TMDSAS and to AMCAS, the central application service for most other allopathic med schools. I think the applications alone added up to $300 or so. (10 schools overall) Most AMCAS schools have additional fees for the secondary apps.
Oh yeah, the personal statement. My mom is a published writer, so after I wrote the essay, she helped me refine and edit. 😀 She also helped edit my larger essays for secondary applications. If you have access to professinal editors/writers, I strongly recommend using them! Havind a well-crafted essay that is pleasant to read is sooooo important. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just make sure that it paints a picture of you and is readable. 😉
okay, enough for today. Maybe I can write about the interviews this weekend.
Thanks for reading and forgive the typos and errors! 😀April 5, 2004 at 8:46 pm #113305
This isn’t the interview experience I promised, but thoughts on med school approaching…
I was reading the thread in medical students about being a mom in med school. I understand every woman’s fears about not being “enough” for her family if she pursues an intense career. That fear was a big part of what kept me from finishing my prereq’s 5 years ago. OTOH, I have never been satisfied as a SAHM. I love my kids, I love my home, I love my time with everyone. But, I don’t love being defined as “only” a mom and homemaker. I crave challenges and I crave the ability to touch lives, to make things better or easier. And I love medicine. I just do.
So given all that, I have to say to myself “You can do this and do it well. You won’t be the top student in your class and you won’t be the mom with the most volunteer hours with the PTO. But neither of those things will make you happy anyway. What makes you happy is having a happy healthy family while pursuing your own dreams and aspirations.” (I often tell this to myself while working out so there’s plenty of time to get all those words in! :laughing: )
I haven’t felt this complete as a person since I went to college. Somewhere along the way I thought being a wife and mother meant sacrificing my own needs. But no longer. And I am so much the happier and fulfilled for finally realizing i was wrong. And of course, getting into my most desired med school helps a lot too! 😀April 14, 2004 at 1:23 am #113307
I’m having trouble getting motivated to write about interviews. odd. I’ll just start and see how far I get.
Thanks to my very early applications, and TX earlier interview process, I got my first interview phone call around the 4th of July! It was from TCOM, the osteopathic med school in TX. I think I sounded like a complete idiot when I heard the news from the nice woman in the admissions office! But I was grinning from ear to ear! I had really thought I might sit and wait a very long time because of my nontrad status, both in age and education.
But no sooner did I get that call then I got an email from UT Houston that very same day. Needless to say I was on cloud nine. :yes:April 15, 2004 at 5:52 pm #113309
Boy I wish I had written all this down closer to when it happened. :blush: Thanks to Sethina for making it so easy to keep a blog now!
I had 3 interviews back to back, the UTMB was on a Friday, followed by UTSanAntonio on Mon, and UTHouston on Tues. Exhausting, especially since I drove to all these interviews! I think I got the Baylor interview invite after I returned from UTMB. I was stunned. really and truly stunned.
UTSA- San Antonio is an attractive city and the medical school is NW of town in a pretty suburban area. The hospitals attatched to the school are the primary trauma hosp. for the area, though. You won’t be missing out on anything by living in the suburbs!
I realized at this point that I was seeing a lot of the same interviewees at each shool. It was nice to recognize familiear faces and have someone to chat with at lunch time. All in all, I thought the fellow students were really nice people, if a bit younger than me :blush: I look younger than I am, though, and it always amused me to see the calculations going on in their heads when I said I had 3 kids! :blush: He asked me broad questions like “tell me about Anthropology” (my ugrad) and “what kind of music do you like.” Looking back, I realize he wanted to ask me why I studied Anth., but the phrasing really confused me. He was nice though. Again, maybe 15 min interview.
I left UTH thinking I loved the school, but the faculty was cold and unfriendly. For that matter, the med students who attended the brkfst were pretty much the same. Awkward experience overall. 🙁
sorry about any typos, etc, no time to edit today!April 20, 2004 at 7:57 pm #113310
Let’s see, I still have Baylor and UTSW to write about. I’ll try to get to it this week.
I’m completely thrown for a loop today. I took my son (7yrs) in for a checkup because he’s been tired and cranky and generally pitiful on and off for a while now. He’s also gotten thin. Not terribly, but he’s always been a bit heavier than his fraternal twin, as well as an inch taller. Now the height diff is there but they weigh the same. He’s only gained 1 1/2 lbs since last Oct.
I thought I would be talking ot the doctor about allergies. Instead, he had a 99.5 temp and an enlarged spleen. A likely cause of this is Mono, a fairly common virus. I’m waiting for his test results.
What freaks me out is that these are the same symptoms my niece had last year when she was diagnosed with childhood leukemia (ALL variety). She’s doing well and in remission. But I’ve seen the hell they’ve gone through and I wish I hadn’t right now. It’s making me unecessarily frightened.
With luck, I will be journaling tomorrow to say that it is, indeed, Mono and be greatly relieved. :crossfingers:
Motherhood can be so scary sometimes. Having a small amount of medical knowledge makes it that much more so. 🙁 something I guess every MomMD goes through.
a rite of passage, perhaps?April 25, 2004 at 5:07 am #113312
Good news! 😀 although we’re still not sure whether the cause of my son’s illness was Mono or another virus, it looks certain that there are no scary explanations. All his blood work and liver and thyroid tests were normal. :yes:
Baylor interview: To be honest, I felt very at home. There is a member on our boards, who I’ve met before, at Baylor. Plus. I ran into 4-5 students who had interviewed with me at some of the other schools. It was so nice to walk in and see familiar faces!
I had 2 interviews at Baylor, one with a student and one with a Pedi Anesthesiologist.(wow!) Both were very friendly. the student was about 10 minutes late because she had trouble gettign away from here rounds as a 3rd year on rotation. But, it gave us something to chat about while she was getting settled in. she had read my file and had a few questions prepared for me, as well as a standardized list of interview questions. Let’s see, the one questions I remember clearly was “tell me about a time you were misunderstood and how you handled it.” I related a professional experience I’d had working in a public school. She also asked about a time when I had been uncomfortable while being a volunteer in the ICU.
That question was a little tough to answer because I was worried I might sound… inexperienced when I told her, but it was fine. I told her about the time a nurse I knew pretty well asked me to feed a gentleman who was paralyzed from the neck down and had to breathe through a trach tube (?) Anyway, I was scared. scared of hurting him, of making him choke somehow. So, I pulled the nurse aside and explained my fears. she reassured me and I went back into the room and helped the man. (a very nice man) I felt upset that I was hesitant, and he knew it, but it all turned out fine.
Anyway, I was very happy with Baylor. I knew that was the school I wanted. I clicked with the students I met at the after-interview gathering. I liked the attitude of the staff people and doctors I met. I felt like it was a great fit. 😀
UTSW, I’ll get to that one next! :laughing:April 27, 2004 at 6:41 pm #113314
UTSW- Now that I’ve written about all the other interviews, I can’t think of too many things that stand out about this one. The one thing that does stand out to me was that the interviews were scheduled back-to-back and only 25 minutes long.
My first interviewer was a MD specialist (liver?). He was a very intelligent and slightly intimidating man at first. At this point, I already had my acceptance at Baylor though, so I was less nervous than I might have been. It was also my 6th interview. So, we started talking and I was very open and honest with him. I didn’t try to say anything I thought he wanted to hear. Instead, I asked him what UTSW had to offer me? 😮 That might have been a risky thing to do, but I felt I might as well ask. I was looking at Baylor in the TX medical Center and wondering what UTSW had to offer when they didn’t have the TMC. HE was very straightforward in his responses. I think I read him right in that I thought he would respect that kind of question. (instead of getting offended or think I was being arrogant.)
The only problem was, our interview ran over by 10 minutes!!! 😮 I had to apologize to the girl who was waiting and to the interviewer I had after him! The 2nd interviewer said “oh, don’t worry, that’s a good sign.” Luckily, she didn’t seem to be the least put off by it. Actually, she asked a few general questions about my application and maybe a question or two about health care issues and that was it.
I wound up Matching at UTSW, so I guess she was right! :laughing:
I can’t remember if I said this before. The TX schools have a match system where you rank the schools that you interview with and they rank the students. A computer program matches the students with the school they ranked highest on their list that also accepted them. So, I ranked UTSW #1 adn they also accepted me. 🙂 If they had not accepted me, I would then have had a shot with my #2 school, etc.
I also interviewed at U Ark because my family lives in Pine Bluff, AR. That interview was a 2 person interview. Kind of awkward at first because I was concerned about facing both people when I answered questions and not showing preference for one over the other. I was accepted at UAMS as well.
It was harder than I thought it would be to turn down acceptances. After all that work and all those sleepless nights wondering if I would even get interviews, I felt like I was breaking up with a boyfriend when I rejected a school! :laughing:
Ultimately, though, I knew Baylor was the right choice. Not only can they offer excellent education, but they have the financial resources and the commitment to support ethnic diversity in their program. I will have the opportunity to participate in outreach prgrams with local HS and college students as well as have a mentor physician and a network of support at the school. Many shcools say they support minority student recruitment, but I have seen none of them do it like Baylor does.
I am biracial, black/white. While people who see me don’t recognize that fact (I look like my Italian father), diversity in medicine is still an important issue for me. But then, motherhood in medicine and nontrads in medicine are important issues for me too! 😀June 9, 2004 at 5:04 pm #113316
I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted! I sold my house about 3 weeks ago and I’m moving to the new house next week!!! 😮 It all happened so quickly, when it finally happened, that my head is spinning.
The kids just got out of school at the end of May. We’re moving south of Houston to be much closer to the med center. No more 1 1/2 hour commute in rush hour! Now it will be a more manageable 20-30 minutes. 😀
I’m really intimidated though. We bought this enromous house that we hope we will live in for many years. Big enough for 3 teenagers to live in comfortably! Good heavens, I can’t believe I’m thinking about this… Truly though, I hope to be able to stay in Houston for my residency. I’m tired of all the moving and changing we’ve done over the last 13 years of our marriage. This will be our 6th move and 4th house!
I can’t believe medical school starts in less than 2 months. I’m starting to get that “What the heck am I doing???” feeling. I must be out of my mind! And yet, I can’t deny, I’m so happy I’m going to be a doctor! :goodvibes:
Heaven help me make the right choices for the kids and be a good student and mother and wife. I’m going to need all the help I can get. 😉June 24, 2004 at 3:29 am #113318
Well, we’re in our new house now. It’s been 5 days and I have now cleared enough boxes to be able to move around comfortably. 😀 I still have a bunch of boxes in the study and dining room, but those can wait another day or two.
I found out today that one of the local daycares offers a 10% discount to folks at my med school! What luck! This makes the cost about the same as hiring a sitter to work 20 hrs a week. Since I only need the after school program, I’m pleased. The daycare also transports kids to their gymnastics/cheer/karate type classes in the afternoon. A handy thing for busy parents.
I’ve had lots of reservations about employing someone to take care of the kids in my home. I have this lingering concern about their safety, the sitter’s reliability, and our privacy. The daycare option gives me time to find someone I feel I can really trust and who will be truly reliable. ( I can just picture getting a call from my kids after school saying the babysitter didn’t show up!!!! :boggled:July 22, 2004 at 3:59 am #113320
Orientation starts on Monday! 😀 :yikes:
At the moment, my biggest concern is actually the family. I mean, I know I should be afraid of Biochem and Micro and Genetics, my first block of classes. Instead, though, I’m feeling like throwing up because I don’t know what my day to day life is going to be like. How will I get everyone ready and off to school at 7am? How long will I be on campus everyday? When will I study? What will I do about dinner when I’m the only parent in the house during the workweek?
I’ve worked and I’ve gone to school while having 3 kids, but it hasn’t been fulltime and it hasn’t been nearly as demanding as med school. I’m so nervous about botching everything up.
Typical mommy stuff. 😉
I know I’m pretty hard on myself, and demanding of myself. But then, I would never have made it this far without that drive and determination.
So I’ll post after orientation and try to let everyone know what it’s like.
Wish me luck! 😀August 1, 2004 at 5:12 am #113322
well, orientation wasn’t so bad. My mom was here for the week to take care of the kids. We had an overnight at a retreat and a couple of late evening events. I met a ton of students and discovered I really like the 10 other students in my cohort. 😀 I even discovered that one of the students in my cohort lives in my subdivision!!! And she’s expecting her 1st child near the end of the semester. She’s really great and I feel so much more comfortable knowing I’m not the only over 30 woman around. (heehee)
Oh, the cohort is actually called a Preclinical Resource Network, or PRN. It includes 11-12 1st year students plus a handful of upperclassmen, and 2 faculty members. Every 1st yr student is randomly assigned to a PRN group. The upperclassmen provide advice and support. It’s really a great resource and I’m glad the school does it.
My first classes are on Monday. I’m a bit nervous, but mostly excited to be getting under way. My kids are doing okay, although I wish I could have kept my mom around. (she went home today. 🙁 ) So the kids start their summer daycamp (at a daycare) this Monday. They will go to this center before and after school everyday. I’m still looking for a babysitter to replace the daycare, though. I’m worried that the long day 7am-5 or 6pm will be too much for them. We shall see. For the time being I know exactly where they will be and what’s going on.
I’ll try to keep posting as classes get underway. Let y’all know what the early days are like!August 3, 2004 at 5:21 am #113324
just a quick word to say that we hit the ground running. 3 lectures, 2 on cell bio and 1 for anatomy. I think they covered just about everything I know about cell bio in those 2 lectures today. I’d better get cracking with the books!
Our curriculum starts with 6 weeks of basic sciences, the physiology, biochem, micro, genetics stuff that is considered the “core” of the medical learning. After these 6 weeks we launch into the organ based system learning.
One of the nicest things about attending class today was that, thanks to our extensive orientation, I was greeted by lots of friendly faces and felt right at home with my peers. I had been so concerned about fitting in as a nontrad mom, and that concern is just completely gone now. 🙂
I love my school!
of course, this was only the 1st day… :laughing:
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