I asked this in another thread, but I think it got buried. I was looking at the secondary apps to TUCOM. They asked about volunteer work that you had done in the 3 years previous to applying.
I have had many years of volunteer experience (and loved it). I became a mother 3 1/2 years ago and continued to work outside of the home, per diem at first and now 20 hours a week (my job currently provides all of our family health benefits). When I go back to school and continue to work and raise our daughter, I don’t see me having time to volunteer. By the way, I am a medical speech pathologist and work in a hospital, so I have clinical experience.
Does anyone have experience with this? It doesn’t seem correct to refer to the wealth of prior volunteer experience when they are asking specifically for the prior three years (or is it?). I want to spend as much time with my daughter while doing the post bac work. What have others done? Or suggest?
Hm. The previous three years part is interesting. I don’t recall any of the schools I applied to putting a timeline on volunteering. I didn’t do hardly any volunteering while taking my pre-reqs, due to a heavy course load and working. I had a long history of volunteering before that, though.
If you feel you need to put some volunteering in, think about quality more than quantity and also think about ways that you can add volunteering to things that you already do. i.e. - do you sew, knit or crochet to relax? Then maybe you could work with a charity group that donates handmade items in some capacity. If you don’t have time to make items, maybe you could organize a fundraiser to purchase materials for other crafters.
You definitely have a tough schedule. I think I would try to at least fit in something (even if for only a few hours a month) just so that you don’t have to leave that space blank.
I was trying to volunteer while working full-time, dissertation writing and trying to study for the mcat-- so I didn’t have much time to devote either.
One idea for volunteering that could work for you came to mind:
I have been volunteering with the ALS asscociation (Lou Gerhig’s) as a patient visiting volunteer. As a visiting volunter, I was matched up with a patient who is bedridden and all I really do is visit with them once a month (my patient can’t really speak) but we just watch TV together and I sometimes “do her nails” for her. Besides the few hours a month, I call to say hi every week or so, and send “I’m thinking of you cards”. I also sometimes take my dog along. Really these people are just couped up in their homes and are lonely (and so are their caregivers).
In my situation, I could take a child along with me (and this wouldn’t take away from your time with them). I know my “patient” would love to have a child around to watch play… Something to break up the monotony of their day.
Just a thought. The time committment is really minimal, but it has been the most rewarding volunteer work I have done.
You might check it out.
(I think hospice also has programs similar to this as well…)
Thank you both for your replies! Great ideas! LC, I wonder if they have the same kind of program for people who have MS?
Yeah, it is the “last three years” stipulation that is bothering me. TUCOM is my #1 choice of osteopathic med schools. It is close to where we currently live and close to my in-laws. My daughter has a very special relationship with her Grandpa and I would hate to move her away from that.
Do you think that raising money for charity bike rides (I am thinking of the MS bike ride that is local–and I plan to do this anyhow) would be appropriate to put as volunteer experience?
Participating in a fundraiser, even for a charity, is not volunteer work… but helping to RUN the fundraiser would be.
Good to know. Thank you for responding Dr. Renard!