i failed my histology class

OK - i am in a sorry state. i am pretty confident that i failed my histology course during the first semester of medical school. i have been a part of this community now for a year and a half and i’m getting so frustrated by the feeling that every time i post, i’m doing so because i’m failing one class or another. i am an “untraditional” student in two senses - the first being my age and the second being my undergraduate studies in the humanities. i have never been a math/science person. i dropped out of the premed classes during college and happily pursued other avenues of academic life. after taking several years off in the real world, i did a post-bacc program. i struggled all last year but made it through and was admitted to medical school through a linkage. so here i am, starting my second semester of medical school and i feel as though i don’t belong here - and even worse - that i am going to fail out of medical school. i always thought the hardest part was getting here. but now that i am here - i feel like i can’t master it. i’m taking biochemistry, physiology, and neuroanatomy this semester and am scared out of my mind. i posted last semester, asking for suggestions on how to become a better student and there were many of you who were kind enough to post responses. i know that the answer is - “you have to figure out how you study best” but i feel like i don’tknow the answer to that question. i am so scared and so frustrated… i know my heart is in the right place - i strongly believe i will make a wonderful doctor. but i don’t know if i can make it through the next four years…
sorry for unloading on you all but i don’t really know where else to go with these very negative thoughts…

My sympathies, Kelly. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt (except I'm not in Med school yet). Give yourself a break. It's not the end of the world.
Have you talked to the instructor about your progress? Maybe he or she can give you some feedback.
Also, you may have seen this, but there is a test to see how you learn best: auditory, visual, etc. My English Lit professor gave us one this last semester and it was really eye-opening. It explained why it helps me to read my material out loud: auditory learner.
Through this simple test that you could probably get from an academic advisor, you can find new ways to study: Reading material out loud, taping the lectures and hearing them again, or taking advantage of the note-taking service (if there is one at your school).
I hope this helps.

Found a site that has the test I mentioned before at http://www.mxctc.commnet.edu/clc/survey.htm
Answer the questions and click next to see more information about your learning style.
Again, hope this helps!

Hi Kelly,
I have not yet made it to med school but just wanted to encourage you anyhow.
My first piece of advice would be to not deem yourself as having failed the class until you actually see your final score (from your post it appears that you have not received your final grade in the course). You never know, things might not be as bad as you think.
My second piece of advice would be to hold your head up and keep moving forward regardless. The medical school that admitted you obviously thought that you would be able to get through and make an excellent physician. You just have to believe that.
Finally, a close family member of mine was an excellent student in college, received a full academic scholarship to medical school however she failed a course her first semester of med school. But you know what…she worked hard that summer, repeated and passed the course, graduated (on time) and continued on to one of the top residency programs in the country (Duke University). She is now a highly regarded physician.
Hang in there!

Kelly, not knowing your situation I can only say this:
Histo is a b!tch.
I put my guts into it and barely got thru it. Lab was fine the lecture exams were brutal.
On the final I finally found the only way to really recall all teh material and that was with a study partner and to just hash out each page of notes ad infinitum. Cross link material and dbl cross it. I was a mad man for the test and it showed, I got a B on it.
So perhaps you just need a partner who will work with you…2nd to that…get the schools tutor. I am garnering one for Physiology and Neuro before I even start. I got an A in Biochem 1 and feel good about it next semester.
Warmest wishes for success.

Think of your medical school classes like Marine Boot Camp. You all have to get over the wall. Some folks go right over because they are in good physical condition; others have to work at getting over. Some folks need a helping hand but they go over. You will go over the wall but just not on the first try. Gather up some steam and put one foot in front of the other. You are going over the wall.
The important thing to remember is that first year of medical school is an adjustment. If your system didn’t work for histo, cut your losses and move on to second semester. You can make it up in summer school and get over the wall. None of your future patients is going to ask you about your histo grade or when you passed histo. Let your grade go and concentrate on what’s coming up. Your final pass or fail grade in histo only reflects your performance on the exams taken on those days. You probably know more than you were able to get onto the test paper. You will get what you need to get a passing grade in summer school. The most important thing is to take stock and not repeat your mistakes. Start this semester off fresh and put your first-semester grades behind you.
Everyone has some class that gives them fits in medical school. Sometimes you pass and sometimes you do not. The important thing is that you learn how to bounce back and keep learning. Often the folks who struggle through medical school are the best physicians because they understand adversity and overcoming it. Struggles to keep patients alive are no different than struggling to get your classes under control. Your posts of your struggles with adjusting to your medical school class load serve to remind many folks that staying in medical school in not a foregone conclusion. This is a valuable lesson for us all.
I know that you have many small day to day successes so keep positive and don’t let your brain talk you into thinking that you can’t get the “hang” of medical school or that you need a “magical science background” to do this work. You have a great ability to bring a fresh approach to learning and you know how to learn. Sit back and take a few deep breaths. You hung in there and you made it through your first semester. Head into the second semester with a head of steam.
Never be afraid to show your vulnerabilities. We all have them. As soon as the sun goes down in the SICU, I start to become petrified that I will miss something. In the end, I handle each problem as they come and I ask for help when I think I need it. Even if everyone else seems to be doing well, trust me, many are in the same situation as you. None of us were born knowing everything and how to practice medicine. Ask for help when you need it and keep asking. Things will start to click and you will look back on this past semester and smile at how much you have learned.
Hang in there and please lean on us when you need to! smile.gif

My dear…first you need to R - E - L - A - X!!! Nat makes some beautiful points…read them and take head. Furthermore, know that you are not alone in feeling lost, bordering on loosing control and unable to master med school – you have three types of classmates: 1 - those who are also openly expressing the same feelings that you are, 2 - those how are hiding those feelings & 3 - the bald-faced liars who deny having those feelings.
Precious few enter med school w/o having a few close calls. The problem is that the process of getting in is so over-focused on academic excellence that when we stumble, we are no longer able to keep it in a realistic perspective. Prior to medical school, I had never failed an exam (that I bothered to show up for), even when “impaired” when I took it. In med school, I failed, or came close to it failing, at least 1 exam in every quarter. I had a couple of classes I thought were gonna get me…but I grabbed my boot strings, hauled my large @$$ up and got over the wall. Medical Students could be nicknamed “barhoppers” – no matter how high the bar is set, you bitch, piss & moan – but you will learn how to clear that bar. And, when you do, they will only move the bar higher.
Getting out of medical school is far tougher than getting into medical school!!!
As someone above has wisely mentioned, take advantage of your school’s resources!!! And, discover other resources that you may have to scrounge up. No one is the ace of all topics and no one will master all of them…period! There is a critically important lesson for you to learn here — learn & know your personal limitations and be sufficiently confident in your personal & professional self to state when things are over your head and ask for help. This creed should be at the center of how you practice medicine until the day you retire! So, you might as well begin implementing it now.
Do not feel ashamed or hide that fact that you are struggling. Go to the professor, the Office of Student Affairs or what ever office runs the tutoring program…if there’s not a tutoring program, ask the professor to recommend a couple of classmates that he/she feels would make an excellent tutor. Than, take full advantage of this resource!
At KCOM, if you fail a class and are w/i remediation range (about 3% from passing), they give you time to prep and then retest you. If you pass, then you are assigned a passing grade for the course. If you fail the retest, you may have to make arrangements to extend your basic science years. If you are not w/i remediation range, the level of maturity & professionalism you have displayed is a large determinant as to how the Promotions Board handles your case. If you are actively attempting to solicit & implement resources, they will bend over backwards to help you too.
Medical school is far too hard to attempt to stand alone like some ivory tower. We all needed help and provided help to others to survive. I know that I struggled with certain courses. But, having been engaged in patient care for many years, I have excellent patient exam skills – so, I bartered my strong suits for help in my weaknesses to folks who werr postioned opposite of me. There are also tremendous advantages to judicious use of small, dedicated study groups.
Long story made short, if you failed it – you can’t undo that. But, instead of letting this psych you out, take an aggressive & proactive stance…take ownership in your education! Do not wait to learn of the outcome. Go to the professor and inform him/her of your fears. I cannot imagine that this is a novel situation for him/her nor that he/she would do anything other than to set things clear. If you have passed…not to worry. Even if the grade is not what you hoped for, chaulk it up to experience and modify your learning strategies for the furture. If you have not passed, then it is time to begin exploring your options.
My point is, do not let simply waste valuable time, energy & resources fretting away or worrying over “what if”. Take a mature & assertive stance, find out and then address the situation if indeed it merits intervention. You will much more empowered & in control than merely sitting around waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.
Finally, surrender this illusion of “mastering medical school”. No one does. Not to sound like an Asian philosopher, but it is like a young willow sapling vs a stately old oak in a massive windstorm. Try to stand too staunch, alone and inflexible ( not seeking help when you need it) and you will break during the storm. However, if you learn to flex in the wind and adapt to the environment at hand, you will survive.

the competitive pre-med mentality dies hard… when I got a “conditional” in biochem, I was desperate for some companionship in my disappointment, and told EVERYONE in my class that I’d gotten the conditional, that I’d be doing remedial work in the summer. My reason for doing that was to try and flush a few compatriots out of the woodwork - I knew darn well that I could not possibly be the only person who had not passed the course.
But no one 'fessed up to it. And the remedial work was customized to each of us depending on our exam performance, so I didn’t find out who else was in the boat with me until I showed up for the exam.
There are absolutely, positively other people in your class who are sweating bullets. At least SOME of them are science majors and/or fresh out of college. So do NOT go thinking that this is an “age” thing or a “non-science” thing. Don’t read so much into it. IF you failed the course, it simply means, you failed the course. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure, or that you can’t hack science courses (you DID do the prereqs and the MCAT right?!), or that you’ll be a bad doctor.
It’s what we call around here AFGO - Another Farking Growth Opportunity!
Let me assure you that my conditional in biochem, which shows up on my transcript and will be mentioned in my dean’s letter, gives me not one second’s pause or thought at this point. If I knew then what I know now, I coulda passed the class, sure. So focus on learning from the experience and go forward, don’t look back.