I'm trying to fight discouragement

Hello, everyone.

I am desperately trying not to be discouraged, but it’s so hard not to be. I really don’t have any moral support right now, so I apologize in advance if I sound whiny in this post. I’m 28 years old, and I’m going back to school to finish my bachelor’s. My biggest problem is that I messed up horribly during my college years, because of health issues and personal stress issues due to depression and being a caregiver. I gave up attending my classes, and just got a bunch of E’s, after finally dropping out altogether. I’m much better equipped to handle stress now, and I finally bit the bullet and decided that I needed to finish school. I haven’t taken any science classes, and essentially, I’m starting a new degree as I’ve only taken a couple of bullshit classes in the past. My GPA is low because I didn’t care at the time. However, when I talk to advisors, I feel like they’re trying to discourage me from a dream that I have. I’m very much a doubter, so already their discouragement has made my mind oscillate more than I’d like. I REALLY want to be a doctor, so I’m just seeking tales of encouragement or hoping I can get some feedback from others who have had similar woes/experiences since I don’t know that many non-trads, and it’s always great to talk to those who are on the same path. I’m going back to school, and I feel weird that I’m competing with those that have an edge on me because they are a decade younger. Thank you for your time. Good luck to those that are applying these year!

Don’t think of school as a competition. The other people in your classes have no input into your grade. If there is a curve, no one is stopping you from being the one who sets the bar high… If anything, it’s you that has the advantage having gone through it a little bit already. You’re likely more mature than your classmates and now have a greater understanding of the impact that grades can have on your future.

Have you forecasted your GPA based on your expected performance during your degree? You may be able to recover from a poor initial showing if you haven’t completed a ton of hours. The DO route offers grade replacement considerations as well that may help you if you’re essentially “starting over” for your undergrad work. On your application, you’ll have to account for poor past performance and gaps. Own your past mistakes and be able to show (not just tell) how you have developed and grown.

I appreciate an advisor/mentor that doesn’t pull punches. However, a good adviser/mentor will not just tell you your faults but will try to help you help yourself achieve your goals. You may seek out someone who is more willing to put in the time with you.

There are a lot of stories on here of people overcoming their past to get into med school. You’ll get the support you need, but the hard work/success rests on you overcoming your self-doubt, rocking your classes and the MCAT, and preparing yourself for the future you want. It’s a marathon.

azchiq- you a fellow Arizonan?

The quantifiables are tough. I’m working to get over those too. I BSed my way through my B.A., and the 2.95 I received from it isn’t doing me any favors these days. I did a postbac 8 years later and got a 3.85. I’m now getting my MPH and have a 4.0. And now I’m writing my secondary apps and trying not to become a nihilist.

The AZ schools claim to look at trends in grades and seem to be interested in non-trads with redemption stories. I interviewed last year but didn’t get in; I’m told I have a pretty decent shot this year. We’ll see.

Don’t be afraid of your classmates that are still in diapers. (Joking- made a lot of friends when I went back…) But, you’ll find that you will have a more realistic and disciplined approach to classes and preparation. My 20 year old buddy could pull an all-nighter better than I could; but the difference was that I didn’t have to. I studied regularly and surpassed him in nearly every class we took.

So, keep your chin up. It’s about selling the trend and proving to the committee that you’re wiser because of the youthful indiscretions.

Hit me on private message if you need some AZ specific advice; I’ve done grad work at the Maricopa system, ASU, UA and Kaplan.

Good luck!

Listen to the others! I’m 29. I;m finishing up my bachelors now. I also went to school and screwed up royally right after high school (12 years ago). I completed my AMCAS app and secondary apps and have been tentatively scheduled for three interviews ( i applied to 11 schools). What is for you is yours.