Going off the rails

Hi everyone,

I haven’t been on this board in ages, but I’m in desperate need of advice.

I’ve been doing an informal postbacc (for GPA enhancement) and am nearing the end. This might be my penultimate semester.

My issue is that, although I’ve managed to maintain a 4.0 in all my science classes (20+ so far), I’ve completely been derailed this semester. I’m just not able to focus.

I’m currently taking two chem classes and two graduate level bio classes, one of which is kicking my behind. I’m also doing research and volunteering. I don’t feel like I’m taking on too much.

My goal with this postbacc was to finish with a 4.0 but the way things are going this semester, it looks like I’m going end up with some Bs.

It is so depressing to think about. After all the work I’ve put in, I’m going to screw up at the end? Really? Is this self-sabotage?

I’ve never lost sight of my end goal, which is to get a med school acceptance. Still, I just can’t seem to focus on anything. I feel very much disconnected from my schoolwork.

Any constructive advice would be kindly appreciated.

By GPA enhancement, do you mean replacing grades or just trying to boost it with new grades? 20 hours won’t move it too much I don’t think. From what I’ve gathered at an informal meeting with an ADCOM, they look at course load, difficulty of course/school, and what all you were involved with while working on said courses. Humans aren’t perfect, med school applicants aren’t perfect. I applied with a 3.6-ish cgpa and sgpa. Like another poster said in a different topic, grades get you in the door, but it’s everything else that makes you unique that gets you the seat. It’s hard to focus on everything at the same time. If it helps, try to focus only on what you’re working on at the time and worry about the rest when it is time to focus on something new.

If I were in your shoes, I would obviously continue to bust my butt to ace everything I’m involved in, but I wouldn’t let a B kill my buzz. Keep in mind that it’s more than grades that make a doctor. Explore your interests/motivations, who you are, and how everything you’ve done has prepared you as well as possible to become a physician. And most of all, be able to convey that on paper in a way that will set you apart from the next person. That will get you to the interview, which is one step closer to a place in a class.

Thanks for the reply kennymac. Thanks for the advice.

FYI: I’ve taken 20+ classes, not 20 hours. I’ve been doing my informal postbacc since fall 2010. I’m working towards a second degree.

Just out of curiosity, would you say your cgpa/sgpa are now more competitive after all of the classes? Does the 2nd degree involve retaking old classes or all new classes? The only reason I ask is that AMCAS includes all grades, AACOMAS allows you to replace old grades by retaking the class. I’m not sure what schools you’re shooting for. Since you’re not in a formal program, you can technically apply once the school’s required prereqs are done (or will be complete by matriculation). If you don’t have to finish the informal program and you’re competitive now, it may save you some money/pain. Recency and trend of grades is also looked upon well, so maintaining a high gpa in your recent, upper level classes won’t go unnoticed.

Kennymac, I would say my BCPM GPA went up an awesome 4 tenths of a point. Getting my overall GPA to budge has been harder since I had so many credits already completed, but it too has ticked up by 2 tenths of a point.

I am aware of the grade replacement that DO schools allow and that is great news. As part of my second degree I did retake some classes. However, it was always my plan to retake the prereqs although I did well in most as a first time undergrad. I took them when I was between 17 and 20 years old, which is almost 14 to 17 years ago now. My plan is to apply to both MD and DO programs with the hope of getting in somewhere.

To your point about leaving without finishing the degree, I thought a lot about it prior to starting classes and also a lot while taking classes. It’s been a lot of heartache and pain and sacrifice considering the fact that I always have registration issues as a second degree student.

I most certainly could have been done much sooner if I didn’t have to deal with scrambling for classes every registration period. But at this point, I’ve invested so much time and I’m almost done: I cannot just walk away. Also, I will be leaving with a master’s, which may come in handy if I get rejected from every place I plan to apply to.

Pursuing this career path is not something I did lightly. I did so with a lot of trepidation and anxiety. I quit my job, moved back home, lived in my parent’s basement. I took whatever class I was able to get into. I learned I had the opportunity to earn a master’s, so I said what the heck, let’s go for it.

It’s like I’ve been on a never ending tortuous stairwell. Now I see the exit door. I can’t wait to reach for the doorknob, turn it, and cross over to the other side. I just have a few last gigantic steps to climb.