Second thoughts...advice, please!

Hello, Everyone.

I am a 29 year old mother of two YOUNG children (3 and 2) and have just returned to school as pre-med (officially majoring in Biology). In the past two weeks of classes, I have learned the following:

  1. I am up against young, intelligent students who have all the time in the world to study

  2. I do not have the limitless time to devote to my studying.

    When I left school three years ago, I had a 4.0…but now I’m wondering if I can actually keep pace with my classmates, and maintain my stellar GPA. In short, I am having serious second thoughts, although this has always been my passion.

    Please, does anyone have any advice, or insight?

    Thanks for the help!


Hi there!

Believe me, I understand. I am a little older than you are and the challenges of being able to study with small children is, just that, a challenge!

My kids are older now and my biggest issue is being employed full time and being enrolled in a very intense post bac program. I don’t have a magic bullet, but know that speaking with my professors about their suggestions for studying (under the circumstances) has been helpful for me. Also, see if you can take advantage of your college’s learning center - they may have some ideas/tools to help your study habits, etc. I’ve had to be on my own in that area, as I live over an hour away from the college I attend.

I know it’s easier said than done, but perhaps a relative or family friend could help out during an evening or two so you can get some quality studying in. Some years ago, when I was in Respiratory school, my fellow classmate (also a mother) and I would take our kids to the college with us, complete with crayons, markers and videos, so we could study. We had a great time! Oh, btw, we were both married - no, the husbands weren’t too helpful.

Hang in there!

Ipressleys advice is good. But I am not sure you are asking the right question.

How do you compete with the younger singles with tons of time? ans: You don’t. Will you maintain a perfect 4.0 throughout? maybe not. Bit woop! Focus instead on learning the material as best you can and getting through. Med schools do like a good GPA but that is far from the whole story. Do the best you can with the material and time you have and let that be enough. Be proud of the fact that you are getting through it all while dealing with things the others do not. Let those young ones of yours help you keep your perspective.

Ok - enough philosophy. on a more practical note, some things to consider: 1)If need be, think about spreading out courses to keep the load manageable.

2) your goal - I presume is medschool, not a 4.0 GPA. Medschool does not require a 4.0. My undergrad was 3.0 and my cumulative was 3.6 something. do the best you can now - don’t sweat an occasional B - and be ready to sell the whole package when the time comes. that is what they are interested in.

good luck

oh - by the way, I have only been out a residency a month - but so far not a single patient has asked me what my undergrad GPA was.

Hi Melissa, of course you can make it! You just need to organize yourself and find time to study everyday, do not cram. I have two kids the same age as yours.

Besides, do not take summer classes. I did that and got my first B - the kids got a rotavirus during that time.

I am a journalist who’s 34 and now decided to become a MD. I am also working part-time from home. Good luck and follow your dreams!!!


One more thing… Though those younger “kids” you’re competing against have more free time than you, a LARGE majority of them don’t use it as effectively as they could. They can be a lot less focused and that works to your advantage and evens the playing field.

I am an MSI and am noticing this even among my younger classmates. Right off the bat people are already slacking, partying it up; it’s like some of them don’t realize that college is over now. I’m thinking a lot of that will change after the first exam when people get thier asses handed to them.

Thanks so much for the great advice, and encouragement! I guess I fell into the mindset of “only a 4.0 is med school material” from my family and peers. swy55’s advice really helped to put things into better perspective for me.

Again, thanks to all for the great encouragement!


Hi Melissa,

Former artist is absolutely right. Some of the “kids” you’re talking about are hardworking and focused, but most of them haven’t had anough time out of school to really know what they want to do and thus don’t have your motivation. You have an advantage over them if you can use your life experience (and experience as a parent) to manage your time effectively. I graduated from the BU Master’s in Medical Scienc program last year and I watched lots of my classmates spend endless hours in study groups spinning their wheels (and that didn’t change even after they bombed the first exam). Because you are a parent you won’t be at the library cramming before the night of the big exam. But that’s not a good way to learn anyway. You’re better off planning ahead for what’s coming up and breaking it down into manageable pieces spread out over more time. Like you I worried about competing with students who had more time than I did but in the long run my slow and steady approach served me well. I’ll be starting medical school next year and I’m proud that my two kids will be there to see me begin this tremendous journey. Good luck with everything! Mouse

DO not worry about the “younger kids” in your classes.

You need to worry about you.

About your situation.

Only you can prepare yourself for medical school, only you can prepare for the MCAT,

and only you can succeed at your dreams.