Career Changer Pre Med Path

Hey I would love input and thoughts on the following.
I am 25, I started college out of high school and went to one year. I then did a 2 year church service mission. When I returned home I started a career in Real Estate and worked as a Realtor for a year and a half. I got married. I decided that real estate wasn’t for me and went back to school. I went for another year. Those two years where not good. Some of it was online some in person. Two full semesters I gave up on and completely failed. The in person semesters I did ok getting a mix of As, Bs and Cs. Around that time my daughter was born, I like working with people so I started looking for a way to provide for my family while working. I got a job at a youth correctional facility. I worked in corrections for two years. I felt strongly that I should be doing more, I felt strongly about becoming a Doctor.
So while I worked in youth corrections I began online schooling once again, this time only taking as many classes as I could handle and seeing a psychiatrist for ADHD. Being diagnosed with ADHD and medicated has changed a ton for me. I attended another semester online. Both semesters I did well, so I sat down with my wife and concocted a plan. My wife is incredible and super supportive. So in carrying out this plan, I did one more semester online and saving money. We put our house up for sale and moved to a little apartment to attend my University full time.
So, I know this is a long bio. But, here is where I am right now. I am currently in my first semester back into school. My previous earned semester credits where 52. With only a few of those being science GPA. I am a Interdisciplinary Studies Biochemistry Major. I chose this because it correlates with most pre reqs and gives me the fluidity. I am almost to the halfway point (next week) of this semester, I am taking 14 credits and doing well. I also feel very confident. My medication helps, and the application of daily planning and setting small achievable goals is helpful.
I will graduate in two years, and take the MCAT in 2020. I am confident that I can salvage my cumulative GPA, to get it above a 3.0 and there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to do better than a 3.5 in the sciences (seeing as I haven’t hardly taken any).
I have submitted applications over the past few days for volunteering at my local hospital, to be a CASA for the local county, and an app to the local nursing facility for acute care. I am not looking to do all of these at once but I am trying to cast a wide net.
So here are my questions:
As part of my upward trend and non trad status, at application should I explain my ADHD diagnoses and improvement since medication?

I want to go into family medicine. Tons of rural areas need physicians, so I know this is a strength. How do I use that to my advantage?

I worked in a youth correctional facility for two years, approx 4500 hours. I adminsistered meds daily and my interactions with the encarcerated individuals where all treatment focused. Working on anger management, addiction recovery and cognitive behavioral therapy. We where way more than just prison gaurds, we where directly involved in treatment programs. How do I best frame that on applications?

How much should I focus on the extra curriculars? or should I just focus on repairing my cumulative gpa and killing my sci gpa?

Thanks for any and all help. I will gladly consider most advice. That is unless your advice is stupid. Then I will ignore it and think less of you.

Definitely focus on your GPA at this point. A bad GPA will slam the door shut, extracurriculars are icing on the cake. You’ve done a lot already with your work history, and I don’t think that 50 more volunteer hours will impact you that much in the long run, especially if that’s at the expense of dragging up your GPA.

When explaining your work history, you should definitely select your time as a corrections person as a “most important” (or whatever it’s called on the app) and really focus on what you did to directly support the kids. You want to mention how you helped them, what the impacts of your work were, but you also want to highlight what YOU learned and took away from the work you did, why it made you who you are today, and why it will help make you a stronger physician. I wouldn’t stress the “administered meds” part so much as the rehab work you did with them and hopefully whatever training you received that empowered you to do that.

Having a desire to go into primary care is great. You should really reflect on why that is, are you okay with the hours vs pay vs frustrations that accompany family medicine (shadow them more than once). Admissions folks take “I want to be a ____” with a grain of salt, because a lot of people change their mind once exposed to other areas of medicine they haven’t seen before. There are scholarship opportunities out there for people driven toward family/primary care, but I think by those contracts you’re committed to those specialties pretty early on in school.

I really liked the last line of your post.

I answer this on the OldPreMeds podcast tomorrow!

Thanks Dr. Gray!

Just wanted to say welcome and thanks for asking about addressing the AHDH (and thanks to Dr. Gray for answering!) I was wondering myself since I too had a similar experience. It actually seems like a pretty common theme on this board. You sound like you’re on a really good track, and I wish you luck.

Oh, and Dr. Gray’s advice about working in a rural area is spot on. Maybe you already live in a rural area and love it, but if you (or someone else reading) don’t, be forewarned. You will know everyone, and they will know you and your business! You will have personal relationships with your patients and their families–immediate and extended–outside of the office. For example, there is a pediatrician in the practice where I take my kids. I see her at mass, at the grocery store, and on friends’ Facebook posts because their kids go to school together. If our kids were closer in age, I’d probably see her other places too. Personally, I really like the sense of community after growing up in the disconnected suburbs, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Oh, and I should add that my husband is accepted as a semi-local good old boy, so I have my own personal cultural guide. It would be a lot harder, though not impossible, without him here to give me an in everywhere.