So this is a little hard for me to discuss, but I know it’s something that’s going to come up if I’m fortunate enough to get an interview, and I’ve wanted to ask someone about this but I didn’t know who or how, and I recently stumbled across this site, so I’m going to try because this seems like the best forum I’ve come across.
I’m a 26 year old female and I have a BS in mathematics (graduated when I was 22, but finished my math degree when I was 21), with a 3.46 GPA. When I was 19 (after my freshmen year), I watched one of my professors bleed to death with the rest of my class in another country, then less than nine months later I was raped by a guy I would see for the next three years until he graduated and left (I went to school in a pretty small town, and he was part of my extended friend group). Having witnessed the lives of other close friends get ripped apart when they reported sexual assault and not wanting to hurt my parents (it would wreck them), I never reported anything. For about a year after our professor’s death, we were the pity of everyone who saw us, and it drove me crazy.
My freshmen year of college, I was in all sophomore classes, and I got straight A’s, but then after all of the above happened, I got straight B’s and two C+'s (one of which was in microbio because I had a class in the same building as the guy, and I didn’t attend as much as a should have for that reason). As soon as he left (also around the time I decided to take premed courses), I began getting good grades again, but not all of my premed courses are good grades (most are, and ochem and biochem I got A’s in).
This was a trend I noticed in the last year or two since looking back on my life and experiences. I think I was a bit depressed and withdrawn from everything (I focused on rock and ice climbing as a form of therapy), but now I’m fine. Since there’s a clear trend in my undergraduate grades, I’m expecting to be asked about it, but I have absolutely no idea how to respond without coming off as a delicate flower/unstable or something. I’m not delicate or unstable, and I’m very level-headed and logical, but my reactions as an early 20-something may make an interviewer think otherwise. What happened was pretty much out of my control, but it’s been affecting my life since the day both things happened. I don’t intend to write about any of this in my personal statement or mention anything before an interview since, while it’s something that has happened and is a part of me, it’s not what defines me.
Any advice? Thank you.