STARTING MED SCHOOL AS A MOM OF 3 UNDER 5
Hi everyone! Cristina was kind enough to open up SuperMomMD to feature guest posts from fellow mommies in medicine. This first post will be an introduction to me and my family and soon I’ll also pass along some advice based on my journey so far.
I’m MaryBeth and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband of seven years. My undergrad and Master’s degrees are both in advertising and, as of 2011, I envisioned myself working in health communication. I had my first baby, my son Torsten, in 2013 while working for an Austin tech startup (needless to say, short maternity leave). More on being a working/pumping mom of a colicky baby later.
By 2014 I was pregnant again (on purpose), this time with my oldest daughter, Mina. Something about expecting a baby girl made me reevaluate my potential, the goals I had laid out for myself, and the example of womanhood I wanted to set for my daughter. My passion for preventive health had been evolving at my job, since I worked with nonprofits like AHA and saw the amazing work they did to improve people’s lives. I decided to enroll in an evening, pre-med track biology course at UT Austin.
I started class about two months after Mina was born, right around the time I returned to work at 30 hours/week. Leaving for class that semester was tough, knowing that my baby girl spent a lot of time crying at home while I was gone. But my performance in the class was strong, so I continued the biology sequence and made the pivotal decision to leave my job and enroll in a grueling, 12-month pre-med boot camp of my own design at UT. I finished the rest of my science pre-requisites in three terms: one very hard summer, a packed fall, and finally, a more manageable spring. All I can say is, I survived. And by the end of it, I surfaced with a 4.0 science/math GPA and had another baby girl, too!
I studied for the MCAT in one month over winter break, and I took it when I was around 4 months pregnant my littlest baby, Tove (rhymes with nova). Averaging the 4 sections together, I scored in the 89th percentile (513). I had not yet taken some key courses when I approached the material, so I was relieved to have made it over that hurdle in good shape. Taking it again at 9 months pregnant really wasn’t an option.
Fast-forward through interview season (more on that later) and where does that leave me now? Well, I’ve been doing contract work from home with my baby daughter for almost a year, catching up on rest (ha!) and gearing up for med school. Our family’s dreams came true last December, when we learned that I had been accepted as one of 50 students to join the UT Dell Medical School’s second class. I will be the only mom with multiple young children in my class, but luckily Dell Med seems very family-friendly. I’m sure there will be plenty of challenges ahead, but I’ve made it this far (and our family is stronger for it), so I have high hopes.
I’m excited to share more details and advice in future posts on tackling a large pre-med science load, studying for the MCAT in a compressed time frame, interviewing, and making your application stand out from the crowd. Feel free to reach out with a comment!