Introducing myself and seeking advice

Hi everyone. I’ve hung around the perimeter a few times without introducing myself and I’m starting to feel kinda creepy about that… AND I need all the encouragement/ advice that I can get from ANYONE so here I am. My name is Tracey and I’m finishing my eighth quarter (undergrad) at the University of Washington. I’ve tried to take a reasonably light class load for the past couple years, since just going back to school was overwhelming (much more so that I thought it would be). Beginning fall quarter, however, I’ll be taking 3 science classes each quarter for the next six quarters, summers included. No breaks! Yikes! How will I do it?? I’m in this position because of financial aid issues and having more than enough credits to graduate, although I’m nowhere close to a degree. I can only receive aid through winter '06 (they want me gone, although I’ve only received aid for 2 years, I’m over the credit limit). I just feel like I’m being set up for failure. This current quarter I’m taking two science classes and that feels like plenty. I keep wondering when it will get easier. Some people say it gets harder, but, for me, this IS the hard stuff. I’m building foundation that many already have. Any thoughts from others with no science background?? Are the introductory classes the hardest? Does it get easier?? When?? I thought calculus was hard, then it was gen chem, now it’s organic chem and cell biology. It’s not getting any easier. The first one or two classes in each new subject are always the most challenging. It takes me a while to catch on.
Any strategies for handling way more than you ever thought you could? I’m already doing way more than I ever thought I would, but I’m starting to panic about next quarter. AND how am I to do research, volunteer, have interesting hobbies, attend social events, and keep my grades up?!!!??? If I can’t handle this, will I be able to handle medical school?? Sometimes I think I’m crazy, but I WANT to do this. I just need encouragement. Advice??? (Grin)

Hi Tracey,
While you may not have a “science background”, you have a learning background and are totally capable of doing well in any of your pre-med sciences if you apply some basic skills of learning to your coursework. If you have successfully navigated your non-science classes, you can navigate the scientific ones. Just be open to mastering the material as it is presented. Review systematically and make sure that you are mastering basic concepts as you try to build upon them.
You need not fear any math or scientific disciple. My IQ is 100 and I have managed to do very well in every scientific discipline that I encountered. My graduate degree is in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. My undergraduate degrees are in Biology with Physics minor and Analytical Chemistry with Math minor. I worked very hard but I never talked myself out of doing well in anything so you should not fear any class or test along the way to becoming a physician. It can be done by a person with an average IQ such as myself.
If you feel that you might be falling behind or off the right track, seek help during your professor’s office hours. Schedule some time (preferably long before the exam and early in the semester) to discuss some principles even if you think you have the right handle on everything. You can pick up valuable hints and approaches that can make a real difference in your class performance.
Finally, don’t let anyone psyche you out of doing well. Resist the urge to “buy into” rumors of impossible professors and ultra-difficult classes. Any class can be mastered with diligent study and work. Set a good daily schedule and keep with it. Keeping up is 90% of the work.(The same is true for medical school). The study habits that you set for yourself now will serve you well later.
Good luck!