Dumb Decisions

Hello everyone. This is my first post on this website, so I just wanted to introduce myself. You can call me Merlin, cus it’s easier and faster to type then Medeirosaurus.

Anyway, on to the point. I’m 24 years old, I have a wife and an about-to-be-two year old son. I sucked in high school, no bones about it. I never applied myself, and I think that I was trying to stick it to my father (lot of good that did me…).

I have made numerous attempts at college, all ending in failure to one degree or another. I do have some F’s on my transcripts from being a dumbass and not showing up to class. I don’t know what my problem was. I think having a kid confused my values and I wasn’t sure what direction to take my life in. Mostly, though, I have withdrawals on my record. These w’s range from several different majors that I attempted.

So, now I’m ready to stick my whole head into the grindstone (nevermind my nose) and get to work. I know in my heart that this is what I want, and this is where I will be happy. However, I’m concerned that my earlier said dumb decisions are going to drag me down. I’m willing, no, happy to get an A in every single class from this point forward, volunteer every ounce of energy that I can, do clinicals until I can walk around the hospital blindfolded, research to the wee hours of the night. Anything to give me the edge I need over the competition and, sadly, myself.

What do you guys think? I’m a really frank person and I appreciate it when somebody tells me how it is. If you think I’m a dumbass, tell me I’m a dumbass, or whatever you think of me, or my current predicament.

I’ve always been fantastic at getting myself into sub-moronic situations, and now I want the opportunity to show everyone and myself what I’m really made of.

Hi Merlin

First of all, the first thing we need to do is evaluate how much damange you have done to yourself?

#1) what is your overall GPA right now?

#2) what is your BCMP (biology/chemistry/math/p hysics) GPA?

#3) Are you still in school?

#4) how many credits hours have you taken, and out of those, how many of them are Fs and how many of them are Ws

#5) what BCMP classes have you taken so far and what grades did you earn

After we have evaluated the amount of damange, we can start with a plan of how you can eventually make it to medical school, but let me warn you, it might take you as low as 2-3 years or as high as 4-5 years (depending on the amount of damange).

It seems that you have a family and a kid, so you have to keep in mind whatever schooling you decide to do, PAY MUCH attention to alot of financial aid (you have a dependent under you so you might be able to get quite a bit).

Until your able to answer my 5 questions, its really hard to give you my opinion on whats the best route to take.

Let me start off by saying that I would be considered a freshman in college. Going in now, I would essentially be starting all over again. To answer your questions:

1.) GPA = 1.00

2.) BCMP GPA = NA (haven’t taken any yet)

3.) Still in school = In and out. Jan, I start again

4.) How many credit hours = 22.00

4a.) Fs = 3.00; As= 1.00

4b.) Ws = 18.00

5.) BCMP = None (Except maybe dosage calculation, which was a W)

Like I said: I’ve made some STUPID decisions regarding school, but I think this is salvagable. Considering I have NO BCMPs, one A, one F, and the rest are Ws, my GPA should be easily rectified within a few classes. But, you tell me what you think.

Welcome to OPM . You might be surprised to find that a few OPMers have been accepted out of the “Stand Around and Get Struck by Lightning” program already, so you’re in good company ;).

I think you’ve got a good concept of what it’ll take, Medeirosaurus (ain’t copy & paste grand? ). Your youthful indiscretions aren’t anything to be proud of (as mine weren’t, and OldManDave’s weren’t, and…), but they’re hardly insurmountable.

I suspect you have an idea what you’re getting yourself into, based on your post and your blog. Essentially, you’ll be starting over from scratch, working to excel in everything you do, including being a husband and father.

Speaking of which, one other important factor: how supportive is your wife, with this whole concept? Per your blog, she’s very supportive, which is great. Had you discussed the plans percolating in your head prior to this, or did you surprise her with it on the 18th?

One thing I’d like to ask you, that you don’t necessarily have to answer…

You claim an interest in volunteer work, research, and the like. Is this because you’ve read that med schools want these things, or because you’re personally interested in volunteering, researching, etc?

First and foremost thank you for reading my blog. That is there as a personal diary, but it’s also there so other people who might be interested or already know what it’s all about can nod their heads as they read and go, “uh huh.”

I am one of those people who develop a case of lockjaw when I decide I’m going to do something. Once I get a hold of it, I don’t let it go. I’m very tenacious and willful.

Anyway, my wife is very supportive but she’s at the end of her rope with my “grand schemes.” The most recent and probably worst disaster was my small time in the Marine Corps. I joined aware of a medical condition I had, but fully expecting that they wouldn’t catch it because it’s so rare (1 in 25,000), in my eyes. Well, they did. I didn’t get into any trouble because they didn’t know I was aware of it, but my wife developed a bad case of the "I told you so"s (still haven’t developed a cure).

In regards to volunteering: it is a combination of the two. Do I want to go out and volunteer my free time with little or no immediate compensation? No. But it is a sacrifice, and something that A: would be good for me to know that I am a good person who is willing to give without getting, and b: med schools require.

I appreciate you recognize that I’ve done some of my homework. Like my primary physician said, “there is NO light at the end of that tunnel.” I guess I’ll just have to develop some really good night vision. :smiley:

Dude, your not in any trouble…

You’ve had 1 F and 1 A and a few Ws here and there… But thats not bad at all, you can easily recover from that.

All you need to do is pick a major and get a bachelor’s degree (something like psycology / biology / chemistry / biochem / or any major that INTERESTS you)… If you want to take my advice, Pick an easy major and get As in every class.

While your doing your bachelors degree, you need to focus hard on doing really well on your pre-med classes (2 general chemistries, 2 general biologies, 2 organics, 2 physics, and finally at least up to Calc-I) because these will be your primary BCMP gpa, you want to keep this as high as possible, alot of medical schools look hard upon it.

After you pick a major and start school, right away set up a meeting with one of your pre-professional advisors and tell him/her your situation, they’ll be able to guide you into what classes you should take from thier school.

best of luck

I think your grades can be overcome, but your story about the time in the Marines brings up a much bigger problem. If you joined the Marines with a medical condition that you knew about and didn’t disclose, knowing it would have kept you out, you have a really big problem with integrity. There’s no way to sugar coat this; you can’t enter medicine without it. You need to figure out why you lied and what it would take to make you lie again and what you have to change about yourself so that your threshhold for deliberate deception gets much, much, much higher.

I think you need to resolve this issue before you take a single science class. It’s that big a deal.

I did what I felt I had to do. I’m not going to defend what I did. It was wrong and a mistake. But, I have a family to take care of and I didn’t have a job. It was a difficult decision and my wife was against it. I felt it was something I had to do. Believe me when I say that I have integrity. One indiscretion in a sea of difficult decisions should not put me on the cross. If that is the way you feel then that is your opinion. But, I ask you to look at the whole situation before you step in and judge someone’s integrity. You can’t tell me you haven’t made a mistake, or misjudged a situation. Again, what I did was wrong. But that doesn’t make me an immoral person, or someone with a lack of integrity.

Thanks for the info. I appreciate it. I’m actually going to be starting at a community college first and taking care of some of my gen eds. Then I’ll be trasnferring up to the state school for microbio with a chem minor (I love bio and chem). The advisors at the CC are morons. I haven’t received much in the way of help from student support services thus far. Hopefully, the advisors at the state university will be a little better versed.


The one question that kept popping up in my mind as I read this thread was, “Why medicine, why now, and why will he not flatline this ‘venture’ like the other ‘grand schemes’ he’s had before too?”.

In short, having been on a recruitment team for my old company, I am trying to find that fire. Not just a spark or a fireball that consumes itself, but a steady strong blaze that will continue. I can’t find it - show it to me.

Before you get offended at this, I’m definitely not trying to discourage you. Instead what I’m trying to tell you is that as you go down this path, at every turn you’re going to have to put yourself in an adcom member’s shoes before making a decision and ask yourself how it’s going to look from their perspective.

No matter what you do, you could justify it to yourself in a hundred different ways. But if somebody in the audience sees it and thinks to theirself that it stinks, then guess what, it stinks! You have to figure out a way to please the audience!

Interesting. I was not prepared for a question like this. Let me give you an idea of what my “grand schemes” were, to put into perspective the path my life has taken.

As a kid (5-6 years old), my interest was science. I was incredibly curious (still am), and wanted to learn everything. I absorbed information like a sponge.

Growing up in a very poor family with a drug-addicted alcoholic step-father, my ambitions faltered. I got into middle school and my ambition evaporated. I was socially akward and had no confidence in my ability to accomplish anything. That never changed.

All the way through high school I was under-ambitious and did my best to skate by. I moved out of my mother’s house and moved in with my father during my first year of high school and that ended up compounding the problem. I stayed away from the concept of science and medicine because, judging by all my past performances, I wasn’t cut from the same mold. I wasn’t smart enough, I didn’t have the endurance, drive or will to make it through.

Undertand that as a child I wanted to be a doctor. I would study anatomy and physiology books to learn about the human body. My whole life I’ve read that stuff and been absolutely fascinated. I never get bored when I pick up a biology text book, and I never did. You ask for a “fire” well it’s right there. The only ocnstant in my life, throughout all the “grand schemes” and fouled-up plans has been science. Especially biology.

Recently, I tried to become a police officer. This was a foolish endeavor, considering the medical condition in my eyes. However, it was what I wanted and I would not be dissuaded. I’ve come to terms with that fact that it’s not in the cards.

Make no mistake, many of my plans and attempts at careers did not fail for lack of trying. They failed because I was too stubborn to see that it wasn’t going to work. My wife knows me like a book. She has predicted the failure of virtually everyone of my plans that actually failed. I went to her with idea of med school. There was no “I don’t think this is a good idea,” or “It’s not going to work.” The first thing she said was “I think that’s a good idea.”

Anyway, I’ve always had a desire to help and do good. I just haven’t had the opportunity to channel it. I know that this is what I’m supposed to do. I’ve known it since I was a kid, I just ignored it because I was afraid of it.

I’m not afraid of it anymore. I’m aware of my potential, and what I’m capable of.

I’d like to make another response to your question. I am genuinely interested in research. More so then volunteer work, actually. If I get into med school, I’d really like to get into oncology or virulology. Why? Because I want to help people who are really sick. I want to research the solutions to the problems that can’t be solved. I want to help the people who need it the most. I figured that cancer patients, and HIV/AIDS patients really need the help.

Don’t worry too much about how you were kicked out of the marines. Trust me, I have a friend of mine who was a marine in Iraq for 3 years and hearing him tell me the horror stories of Iraqi battles / tourtue chambers of Saddam is something that should make you glad you were kicked out.

Anyways, You had your reasons to lie about your condition and no one school with its right mind would automatically throw your application out of the window because you “lied”… Trust me, like HOUSE says “everybody lies”.

Umm, I would suggest one thing to you though, I would not talk about your bad child hood, its useless, because there are thousands of doctors out there who DID have bad childhoods and still managed to do really well in high school & college, so why are you the exception? You see what Im saying… I wouldn’t talk about that at all.

secondly, no need to talk about how you’ve always wanted to be a doctor since you were 5, they can easily question your Sincerity and say “if that was the case, why did you not do too well in your early college years”… Your going to give them an easy way to trouble you with questions.

Instead, here is a better story for you, you were young, you were a “typical” teenager, you wanted to have fun with your buddies and throw away your books, you wanted to go partying around your first few years in college and didn’t realise that it would haunt you down after you matured… When you got married and started your family, you realized just how demanding life can get, you had a medical condition that caused you get kicked out of the Marines ~Notice how I worded that… You were kicked out of the marines because of a medical condition…I didn’t mention anything about you lieing… if they ask you further (which I highly doubt) then you can tell them you lied for your specific reasons… Anyways, finally when you were out of the marines, you started looking around at different careers, this is where you have to be creative and link the progress of your life into wanting to be a doctor…

One more thing, I would strongly recommend you take all your classes at a 4 year university (there is no law against Community college credits) but medical applications look stronger with 4-year university credits… if you MUST take a few courses at a CC, then I suggest you take the lower end classes there (english, writting, public speaking, etc etc), but take all your sciences (esspecially your BCMP) at a 4 year university.

good luck

Oh. I had no intention of telling an adcom any of this. As far as they’re concerned, it took me a little while to get my act together once I got out of high school. I had a medical condition that got me medically discharged from the Marine Corps, and, like you said I had a child and that helped to straighten me out and start really looking at medicine. Believe me, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s how to spin off my stupid decisions into a positive light…because I’ve made so many of them…

Your pattern of mixed grades, withdrawals, and things you look back on and say, “wow that was dumb” sounds like you might have a self-regulation disorder. I know ADD is sort of a fad, but seriously, before you embark on another attempt at college, find out what you might be up against. Having great intentions and then falling on your face is status quo for a lot of people with ADD. My brother got mailings from Ivy League schools based on his standardized test scores, but he was just barely able to graduate from high school.

  • "Merlin" Said:
Let me start off by saying that I would be considered a freshman in college. Going in now, I would essentially be starting all over again. To answer your questions:

1.) GPA = 1.00

2.) BCMP GPA = NA (haven't taken any yet)

3.) Still in school = In and out. Jan, I start again

4.) How many credit hours = 22.00

4a.) Fs = 3.00; As= 1.00

4b.) Ws = 18.00

5.) BCMP = None (Except maybe dosage calculation, which was a W)

Like I said: I've made some STUPID decisions regarding school, but I think this is salvagable. Considering I have NO BCMPs, one A, one F, and the rest are Ws, my GPA should be easily rectified within a few classes. But, you tell me what you think.


Welcome to old premeds. Let me tell you, you are far from alone in that many people have a similar academic past and have made lemonade out of lemons when it comes to their final academic standings.

Remember, remind yourself of this truism: "there's no hope like that which tomorrow brings."

As to your grades, you've got some work to do, obviously, but the good news is this: you've only attempted 22 credit hours. That is absolutely NOTHING. Remember, to get an A.A. degree, you have to have 60 credit hours. Another thing that works in your favor is that many colleges have grade forgiveness policies meaning that if you retake one of the courses that you failed and this time around got a B, then the B would replace the F on your official academic transcripts and the F would be completely erased. Check into whether or not your college does this, most all of them do. Even IF they don't, you're still in good shape credit hour wise, having only attempted 22 credit hours.

In terms of your personal life, there are many people on here who have given you good advice. Not only do YOU have to have your head on straight and the ambition to do this, but your family does as well. This is a massive undertaking, not just personally, but also for those around you.

I think you're in fine shape, just get those grades up & F's off your records. I wouldn't sweat the withdrawals. I know a doctor who graduated in 97' from LSU who got accepted into med school and she had over 12 W's on her transcripts. She just said that they asked her about them, she told them it was before she matured up and realized that she needed to apply herself and found out that she desired medicine more than anything else. She said they never said a word beyond that about the W's.

Don't sweat the small stuff, tomorrow brings hope.

Go get em'.


I have considered that possibility. However, if that were the case, I probably would not have spent four years of my life trying to get into a police department. The only reason I truly gave up is that there is very little opportunity where I’m from for aspiring police officers. You need to move out west, which I was going to do, but my wife would not have it.

So, after a long hard think, career placement tests, and a lot of research I’ve decided medicine is the path I wish to follow. I will be as relentless in my pursuit of my medical degree as I was in pursuit of a job with a police department.

Thank you for those encouraging words. I appreciate it. With such intensive expectations on you, it is nice to know that you have a support system of sorts, of people who understand what you’re going through and where you’re trying to go.

This will end well for me. I know this because I have decided it will. Nothing will stop me from doing this unless I decide I’m going to let it. The time I spent away from school in the real world has taught me that you are your most important resource. My past indiscretions have shown me my weaknesses. With this knowledge all it will take me is will and ambition to get this done.

As a point of order, I believe that AMCAS doesn’t care about grade forgiveness. The look at every single college level course you have ever taken.

Realistically, it basically boils down to whether you want it, which only you will know that but it sounds like you do if you took the time to seek out a pre-med forum, volunteer all this info so you could be given advice, and then respond constructively.

That being said, 22 credits is not nearly enough to significantly damage your GPA in the sense that even if you took only one class, it would have a significant effect on your GPA. Now, if you had a 1.0 GPA with say 60 credits, then I’d say you have your work cut out for you, but as it stands now, it’s not going to take /that/ much work to draw your GPA back up.

I kinda felt like there was a little of me being described in your story as far as “grand schemes” go, considering I’ve tried several different things including starting my own business and getting kicked out of the Army because apparently once you get injured you’re very expendable to them, and I have to say, every class you finish successfully with a good grade is only going to add to your confidence and everyone else’s…you’re basically going to be making a snowball and rolling it down the hill. Once you have a semester, maybe two, of straight A’s, I doubt there’ll be many people who question whether this is another grand scheme or whether you’re dead serious. Hell, when I first started two years ago I had no idea what to expect in college and didn’t know whether I could do it or not, and now, well shit I’m graduating next semester with an AS in biology and transferring to UCSB with a 3.94 overall GPA. If you’re dead serious about this, in a couple years you’ll be in a similar situation. It’s great that you don’t have any science or BCPM classes on the record, not having even damaged your BCPM GPA should help a lot.

I’d say there’s not nearly as much damage as there could have been and to go for it if this is really what you want to do. You may find that the hardest thing of getting your degree could be on deciding what major, since medical schools don’t particularly care (although they seem to be leaning towards non-science degrees these days)…I can’t even count how many times I’ve changed my mind.

If you can, try to decide on a major beforehand, since it’ll make a significant difference because usually for science degrees, you have to complete some of your BCPM classes before you transfer to a 4-year whereas non-science degrees, since those BCPM classes aren’t required for the degree obviously, you can save your BCPM classes for the 4-year. Try to take as many of the pre-med reqs like gen chem, organic chem, etc. at a 4-year as you can, but if you’re going to major in science, don’t do what I did and take nothing but GE for your first two years because you’ll be held back from transferring until you complete the minimum required classes anyway. Do your own research too…don’t listen to college counselors without verifying everything they say, there’s way too many of them who are idiots.

Lastly, figure out your finances now…if I had planned how to pay for college beforehand, I probably could have quit the job I had which kept me from taking science classes a lot sooner and not have taken a 3rd year at CC.