Premed mechanic to med school -- what do I need to do to wrap up?

Hey all,

I started on the premed path traditionally, but when my daughter was born very sick right after graduation I needed to focus on her, so now a lot of time has passed. I’m now 31 and looking at getting back on the path.

I walked in graduation in 2012 at 21 years old, but my entire last semester I was pregnant and in and out of the hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum, so my grades suffered – I didn’t know at the time that I could take a LOA. That summer, my school reached out and told me someone mis-audited my transcript and that I actually needed two more classes for graduation. Then in October my daughter was born with FPIES and mitochondrial disease and she was in the hospital more than she was out for the first year of her life. I finished my degree in 2014, and I’m still paying off my Perkins loan right now so they won’t let me see my transcript yet but I’d estimate my GPA is only about a 3.3 and my science GPA is only about a 3.0. In college I worked as a TA, and as a lab assistant, and in an animal caretaking lab. I did some independent research (not published, just presented at a symposium) and some group research (published but no authorship). I worked in a chronic pain clinic for a summer in 2011.

Brief overview of life since getting my degree:

I worked in an inpatient unit for a little over a year in 2012-2013. I went back to school to finish those two dang classes, then I had my second child, and my daughter’s needs continued. I shadowed a primary care physician for about 40 hours.

I’ve served on the board of a foster youth nonprofit for 6 years, volunteered with that nonprofit as a development manager (securing grants, etc), and right now I spend most of my time volunteering as a mechanic for another nonprofit, diagnosing and repairing cars for free for veterans and the homeless.

I’ve been a medical foster mom for almost 7 years. I’m just above conversational in Spanish, and – due to medical fostering – I’m very familiar with medical Spanish. I’m studying ASL right now but I know basic conversational signs due to having nonverbal kids over the years. I’ve adopted three more children and am in the middle of an adult adoption for our oldest, so 6 kids altogether. I currently serve as a mentor for new medical foster parents, teaching them how to navigate insurance and support devices (feeding tubes, cardiac/bladder stimulant devices, trachs, ostomies, etc) and how to coordinate care between multiple specialists, etc. For a year just before the pandemic I worked as an office manager for private medical practices, to include submitting and appealing insurance prior auths, but when I suddenly had 4 kids to homeschool I had to let my contacts lapse without renewal.

I have over 60 hours in TBRI training (for interacting respectfully and successfully with individuals who have experienced profound trauma). I taught math and science for 3 years to grades 1-12.

Last February, my son was diagnosed with AML. Ironically, pediatric oncology was the specialty I originally wanted to pursue. He’s doing great now! I thought the physician career door was closed when my daughter was born and I couldn’t go to med school right away, but now it’s wide open since I spent 6 months living in the hospital during chemo, talking with all the students and residents and realizing that many of them were nontraditional too! So I’m busting through that door with all the mama-bear energy of someone who’s watched their child go through hell and live to tell the tale.

Since most of my clinical experience is either a decade old or experience as a caretaker (albeit as a caretaker to many children with a plethora of diagnoses and interventions… The good news is that I have several physicians who will write glowing letters of recommendation for me!), I know I need to fix that. I also need a post-bacc, probably. What are some things I can do as someone who currently lives in a very rural place to bring my efforts up to date?