Sunday, October 26, 2014

Being a Single Parent in Medical School: An Update



Not too long ago, someone left a comment under one of my posts asking me about any difficulties or adjustments that I have had to make now that I am balancing school and being a parent completely on my own. To be perfectly honest, there hasn’t been much of a difference between having someone here to help versus doing it solo. I previously had not lived with my significant other, so for me, it was more of an adjustment having to deal with having another person around. I have also raised my daughter on my own since she was around 1, and I find that as she gets older and becomes more self-sufficient, things tend to get a lot easier.

In terms of adjustments, my daughter now takes a bus to after-care every day when she gets out of school, and they are open on school holidays and half-days, so it has not affected my ability to attend classes. I had not taken child care costs into account when I first started school, so that has been a bit of a struggle, but so far we are making out pretty well. My daughter seems to be pretty happy with after-care, and we still have a normal nightly schedule that we follow at home, so that is the only adjustment I have had to make so far.

As for difficulties, I can no longer go to campus or the lab whenever I want, but I tend to study better at home anyway. Due to liability issues, children aren’t allowed on campus, so it does interfere with my ability to attend study groups, but technology is a huge help with this. Online chat groups, Skype, and Facebook have made it easier to study with my classmates and make sure that I am not missing important points. When I have to study at home on the weekends, my daughter has been pretty good about leaving me alone, and I still make sure to completely devote one day a week towards spending time with her. Today we went shopping and carved pumpkins :-) I’m also limited in the amount of social or volunteering events that I can attend, but that just means that I have more time to study. So to make a long story short, being a parent in medical school is definitely a different experience than most other students will face, but it is definitely doable. It’s a balancing act that takes time to perfect (I’m still working on it myself), and there will be times when the dreaded “mommy-guilt” pops ups, but I know what I am doing will benefit both of us in the long run so I keep on pushing. 




10 comments:

  1. Your story is already a success! Being a single parent is hard enough but a single parent and medical school student has to not only be a challenge but a blessing as well. Just by following your blogs and listening to your story has pushed to pursue my long term goal to become a Pediatrician. I am a single mother of two boys. I am currently finishing up my bachelor degree in biology. I'm taking the MCAT in another week. I hope I score high! Keep pushing Dr. Ward the skies are the limits!

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    1. I am so happy that you are pursuing your goal to become a pediatrician! Your comment really made my day, and I am glad that I could inspire you. Good luck to you as you finish up your degree and get ready to take on the MCAT! You've got this, Dr. Harper :-)

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this information! If you don't mind my asking, do you find that the after-school activity cost is reasonable? Is your budget based on financial aid you received for medical school or are you paying through savings you accumulated before starting medical school? I'm sorry for the personal questions and I definitely understand if you do not want to share.
    You're such an inspiration to me and it is even better that you're attending my top choice. :)

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    1. Thank you for reading! After-care comes out to be around $350/mo, and my budget is strictly based on financial aid (I used my savings for moving and living expenses before school started). The school does allow cost of attendance adjustments for students who need childcare, but I did not request this when I originally took out my loan, so that's why it is a bit more of a struggle for me. With that being said, the financial aid is really generous, but you should factor in all costs before school starts. Best of luck on your journey!

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  3. I'm so excited and genuinely happy for you! I will be a new mom and start Np school in Jan. everyone keeps asking how are you going to do so many things at once. However, I know where I want to be in life and you story truly reinforces that with God all things are possible!

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    1. Yes, yes, and yes!!!! With Him ALL things are possible! Best of luck to you on your journey, and congrats on the new addition to your family :-)

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  4. Hi D Ward,
    This is a good reading post. Thank for share

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  5. Dr. Ward this was really encouraging to read as I am a single mother of a 7 year old and I am considering going from being an MA to an obgyn physician. Many people have told me I will not be able to do it, but your post has uplifted me and I know God will make a way. Thank you so much for your transparency and tips!

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    1. You will definitely make it! Don't listen to what anyone else says, and go for your dreams! Thank you for reading and I wish you all the best :-)

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