New to OPM; Hello All

This has been said a bunch of times before, but, what a relief to find this forum! I thought I was the only crazy one out there - j/k…kinda.

I am 38 years old, married, with four kids - 20, 17, 12, and 4. My youngest was a pleasant surprise. He was born with Down syndrome.

I’m sure most of you understand the increased difficulty we have as older students - working full-time, going to school full-time, raising kids, keeping a strong relationship with your spouse - and sometimes even the added pressures of life that come with being older. For me it is time. In addition to the above, my youngest boy David has multiple outpatient appointments that consume a lot of “extra” time I might normally have. These appointments don’t bother me at all - I love watching him grow and learn; however, what worries me is that I have not had time to do volunteer work, which seems to be a big positive when it comes to applying to medical school.

Have any of you experienced the same/similar situation in which a life of family and work has kept you from being able to volunteer - and, were you still able to get interviews and/or an acceptance?

Again, thank you all so much for the wonderful experiences and information provided on this forum that I did not find anywhere else. I am so looking forward to sharing my story throughout this process in order to possibly help those that follow.

Well - sitting here on OPM (my new favorite site) isn’t making my physics test go away! So, I will check back later. Have a good one!


I’m no expert on volunteering, but take a long-range view of it. Especially if it will take you a couple of years to do the pre-reqs (?). Most students are young, without your life experience and with more free time on their hands. There may be a lot of things that you have done over the years that qualify as volunteer work. The AdComs aren’t so much looking for number of hours (I think?), but your understanding of medicine and the role of a physician, and your attitude of service to others. In your interview, no one will say to you…so why weren’t you volunteering as a candy-striper for 400 hrs? You know what I mean? They’ll see you, a mature mom with great life experience. I don’t mean to sound preachy, but I wouldn’t stress about a certain number of volunteer hours if I were you. Sounds like you’re doing a lot already Welcome, welcome, welcome.

I agree with Overthemoon Volunteering is a good thing for sure, but my opinion is that Medschools are looking as much as anything to see that you have some sense of what it is like in the real medical world. Volunteering is one way to get that, but so is personal contact such as your son has brought you. I would not hesitate to claim that as important experience.


I have a somewhat similar situation. I have had many years of volunteer work prior to becoming a mother. I will be taking prerec’s while working 20+ hours a week and taking care of my child. I don’t think it leaves a lot of time to volunteer.

I looked on the secondary app to TUCOM and they ask about volunteer work from the past 3 years (from when you apply).

Does anyone have any experience with applying without recent V. work b/c of other obligations? What would you suggest? Maybe someone on the adcom might have a thought or two?


Hi! I’m new too. Nice to meet you!

Thank you!

swy55 - After I wrote that initial post I tried to delete it because I thought - man, what a dumb question. I have done a lot of things to give back to my community, and I have worked in the psychiatric department at our local hospital for 17 years, working with patients and for the doctors.

You know, some days (which are far and few between) I think I just get too worked up about whether or not I’m doing the “right things” that I lose sight of what I have done and what I have to offer as an older applicant.

As you all get to know me you will see that I am a very positive ‘old lady’ with a big goal and solid drive.

I hope I didn’t come across as a ‘poor me - I have a son with a disability’ kind of person. I didn’t have that intention - I would never use him as an excuse for not accomplishing anything I really needed to do. He just keeps me busy thats all…and fit - which isn’t such a bad thing at this age I suppose.

Thank you all for your feedback!

Latebloomer, Overthemood - Thank you for the welcome and your honest insight - I really appreciate that!