Hello everyone out the in Non-Trad land!
Here to vent (and I’ll try not to make it a habit).
My background: I finished my first BS in nursing with a GPA of 3.85 in 2001 (as a single mom, I might add) & managed to take a 11-credit semester in 2008 with 2 As & a BA.
Long story short: I’m currently back in school full-time after a long time away working as a nurse/raising my daughter/getting good at being a wife/et cetera to finish what should be the semester that gets me 1.5 years away from finishing a 2nd bacc in Biomed (FYI I know everyone takes a different path - getting a 2nd bacc just seemed to work the best for me). In order to do this we have had to borrow a LOT in private loans, which I and my husband are resigned to as I can hopefully join the military or other governmental program for med school.
The problem is, as I am not working at all right now I started out this semester super pumped at 20 credits (Organismal Bio & lab, Organic Chem & lab, Genetics, Pre-Calc - my Math scores were WAY behind as I really didn’t take anything besides basic Math in HS 1992 - and Intermediate French). The first week I dropped French. Last week I took 3 exams after studying like I’ve never studied before. Felt I completely aced them. Got a B in genetics, C- in Pre-Calc (I don’t know if she is curving the grade yet), and Chem I don’t know yet - felt I aced it but who knows at this point. Tonight I freaked out and dropped Genetics.
So now I’m down to 12 credits and feeling really disappointed in myself. As you can see from my GPA above I was always able to handle school (took up to 18 credits per semester back then) and if I didn’t mention it I also am a Critical Care nurse, so it’s not like I can’t handle multiple things at once or stress.
My husband and my daughter are really supportive and saying “Do what you have to do to get good grades and stay sane.” But at the same time I am completely FUD-ing and thinking “Holy crap, does this mean I won’t be able to handle med school? Is my brain too old for all this? What the hell am I doing?!”
I suppose the money situation doesn’t help the stress as I feel there is absolutely no room for failure - which there really isn’t any way as I am ABSOLUTELY sure this is what I want to do with my life. I have done 10 years of “shadowing” physicians as a nurse and I know what they do and that I am absolutely capable of doing it.
But flipping out at 15 credits? What the heck is going on?
Thanks for listening & I hope at the very least there is someone out there saying “Yeah, been there” and hearing me say this has been a comfort to them. In addition to feeling stressed about the amount of work my campus is almost completely void of non-traditional students and I am honestly the oldest person in my classes. Maybe it is my imagination but I feel invisible all day long at school - doesn’t help me feel like I’m being “supported” in this crazy dream. My thanks to Old Pre-Meds for simply existing!
Hello everyone out the in Non-Trad land!
So, you started the semester with one of the most dreaded pre-reqs and it’s associated lab, then added 2 upper division biology courses and a second time-intensive science lab. Then you thought a math class and a language would be a fun twist. In my experience, labs count as 1 or 2 credits but you do as much as 3-6 credits worth of work in them. And you chose to have two of those.
Realize I say this with a smile, but if you told me this in person I would quietly back away, convinced you were insane.
You bit off more than you could chew in this first semester back. While you may be able to build up to 20-credit madness again, you should start slow. It’s not the end of the world, or your pre-med plans.
I’ll let wiser heads suggest what to drop or keep to fix this mess, but I will say that keeping at 15 is probably still overdoing it, and I’d drop the upper division bio to focus on organic.
- PixieSanders Said:
Realize I say this with a smile, but if you told me this in person I would quietly back away, convinced you were insane. :)
You bit off more than you could chew in this first semester back. While you may be able to build up to 20-credit madness again, you should start slow. It's not the end of the world, or your pre-med plans.
I'll let wiser heads suggest what to drop or keep to fix this mess, but I will say that keeping at 15 is probably still overdoing it, and I'd drop the upper division bio to focus on organic.
Rule 1: Take a Breath
as the Pixie has already pointed these out but they bear repeating as part of my rule set for nontrads
Rule 4: Donâ€™t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew â€“ Logistics of Life
Rule 5: Do Not Risk Bad Grades By Taking Too Much â€“ Good Grades Get You In
While starting out with too much set you off on this cascade, it isn't the 15 credits that is freaking you out. Its the freaking out that is freaking you out. You are in the intellectual equivalent of emotional panic. Yes, your are a critical care nurse and can multi-task, handle stress, etc. But is for a role and tasks you have trained for and practiced for years.
You are now in new role, heavy duty student, with the panic of "OMG I have to do this, it is my life dream, and I in fear of screwing it up".
link to SLAP! SLAP! SNAP OUT OF IT
To put it in appropriate medical terms, the first rule at any cardiac arrest is to take your own pulse. You are taking a hard 15 credits, you have time to do better, and you can make it to medical school. But first you have to CALM THE F**K DOWN
Sorry if I have come on too strong but panic begets panic and fear begets fear. Once you get a "mental" grip on what is really going on with yourself, I am sure that you will do much better than you believe at this very moment
Totally agree with Pixie. Your load is crazy. Start with 9 credit or 12 at most and avoid combining science classes because they tend to require twice more work (lab + lecture).
You should seriously review your timeline and your schedule. In my opinion, and at this speed, you may jeopardize your chances. Your GPA looked very good, why try to damage it? Take your time and you will get there.
Thanks to all 3 of you for some very REAL and RATIONAL replies. I appreciate the support. You made me laugh (and isn’t laughter the best medicine?)!
I am actually going to print out these replies and post them on my bulletin board - so the next time I freak out I can SNAP OUT OF IT!!!
- coquelicot Said:
My husband and my daughter are really supportive and saying "Do what you have to do to get good grades and stay sane." But at the same time I am completely FUD-ing and thinking "Holy crap, does this mean I won't be able to handle med school? Is my brain too old for all this? What the hell am I doing?!"
Hi! I'm sure your brain is NOT too old for this. But, as Gonnif (Richard) has pointed out, this is a new role and you can't expect to start out with the same level of competency that you have achieved as a critical care nurse (from one RN to another - I did 13 years in ICU/CSICU).
I think it's a combo of the "expert to novice" transition and the high stakes (this is costing money! I need to do perfect!) that are freaking you out. It will feel uncomfortable. Get used to it. Same in med school. I feel sure it will be the same for me in residency. Change is uncomfortable (but, interesting!) Also, you don't need to do perfectly. But you do need to excel- so you have to triage what you need to do to accomplish your goals. I found studying for an A (and retention for MCAT's) required a different approach from studying for "as good as I can"). Leave yourself the time to do it well.
Best of luck!
THREAD HIJACKING - Richard, where are all your rules hidden? I wanna see the list.
RETURN TO THREAD - Coq, glad to see a little sanity has returned. I’m interested in seeing how you decide to lighten your course load. Good luck!