This mom is in a rural community and needs help figuring out how to reach her goal of working with those like her child.
Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from the Premed Hangout. Go ask your questions there and use #OPMquestion.
Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
[00:59] The MCAT Minute
The MCAT Minute is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT.
It’s August, which means you’re six months away from the “normal” MCAT timeline if you’re applying in 2023 to start medical school in 2024.
Time flies so make sure you have a plan. Go get a free account over at Blueprint MCAT and get access to their study planner tool to make sure you have the best plan possible.
[01:45] OldPreMeds Question of the Week
“I’m in my junior year of college and am a psych major. Last year I wanted to shift gears and commit to premed. But with COVID, it made getting some of those requirements hard. I’m looking at a postbac to get my required classes in and found one that seems like a great fit. I have a 3.97 GPA and 4.00 science GPA (bio and chem)
I am 32 and most of my work experience has been in the service industry (serving, cooking, and managing) and volunteering at outreach programs and clinics.
I had our first baby during COVID and left the service industry to spend time at home with him. Around 10 months, we realized he is deaf. He’s actually the fifth generation in our family and something we’re quite proud of!
However, this also means I’m driving two hours three times a week to his speech therapy, and have a ton of audiology appointments as well. I have meetings with a deaf mentor and ASL classes. I have at least one of these five days a week, sometimes two of them on the same day.
We are planning on moving to a more populated area with a deaf school and our son will be able to do almost everything we have now in one place so it’ll be easier. And my husband has a flexible schedule so he’ll be able to take him to school when I’m in school. We weren’t going to move until I was accepted to a program though.
I think my grades will be solid but I am worried about getting clinical and shadowing experience as we are very rural and I have a crazy schedule. There’s also not a lot of opportunity within a two-hour drive.
I’m very proud of my story and caring for our son and am wondering if this will mean anything on my application. I know I want to go into psychiatry and serve the deaf community and keep volunteering with outreach programs. I’m feeling prepared in that area but it might not be enough for an application.”
[03:29] The Goal of Clinical Experience and Shadowing
This is a perfect nontraditional story of a parent, a spouse, and someone who has lots of responsibilities outside of the general premed responsibilities. That means taking classes, getting clinical experience, research, shadowing, etc.'The goal of getting clinical experience, the goal of shadowing is to prove to yourself that this is what you want.'Click To Tweet
The goal of your clinical experience and your shadowing is to prove to yourself that this is what you want. You take that knowledge and then write in your essays why you want to go into medical school.
A Logical Connection
It’s very hard for you as a nontraditional student who has worked in the service industry, was a psych major, and now has a child who is deaf. It’s hard for an admissions committee to understand why, all of a sudden, you want to be a doctor. It has to make sense. The goal here is to make it logical.
The logical connection comes from clinical experiences and shadowing to help yourself understand why you’re doing this. Then you can turn around and help the reviewers and the medical schools understand why you’re doing this.
Your grades show that you can handle the coursework. Your MCAT score shows that you can sit for eight hours and take a big standardized test. The question is, are you going to enjoy taking care of people other than your own child? It’s then for you to turn around and show them.
[07:07] Get Another Clinical Experience
As you’re planning all of your schedules, you may need to slow down a little bit to allow time for you to get some clinical experience.
Taking care of your child can definitely be placed in your application as a clinical experience. All of the appointments, speech-language pathology, and all of those appointments can be listed as clinical experience. However, it shouldn’t be your only clinical experience, and you should shadow as well.“Make the best decisions for not only yourself, your child, your spouse, and your family, but also to make you the most competitive applicant that you can be.”Click To Tweet
Hopefully, you can communicate to the admissions committees why you’re doing this outside of being a psych major and now you want to be a psychiatrist.