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Women in Medicine Blogs & Diaries

TOPIC: married momof3 medschool2004

married momof3 medschool2004 10 years 7 months ago #68993

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!
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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Re: married momof3 medschool2004 10 years 7 months ago #68994

y'all feel free to PM me with the encouraging notes. I was pleasantly surprised by the feedback! :D

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. :o 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! :D

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!
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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Re: married momof3 medschool2004 10 years 7 months ago #68995

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! :mad:

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. :D

Next time I'll write about the application experience. Feedback is appreciated! :D
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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Re: married momof3 medschool2004 10 years 7 months ago #68996

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. :mad:

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. :mad: 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. :D 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! :D
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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Re: married momof3 medschool2004 10 years 7 months ago #68997

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! :D
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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Re: married momof3 medschool2004 10 years 7 months ago #68998

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:
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."
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