is it normal?

I just started with my pre-requisites this semester, I’m taking Bio I, and Chem I, while working full time. I’m having a hard time in both classes, it seems that most of the kids know everything already, I just feel like I’m always trying to catch up. I never took a science class through college, and it’s been a loong time since high school. I’m trying my best, but I’m feeling a little down, will I be able to handle what’s coming, this is only the beginning… has anyone felt this way?

you need to realize a couple of things. First off, is that many of the kids that are in your class recently had this stuff in high school so it is fresh in their memories. Second, as we get older, it takes a little longer to process things especially complicated things, remember being able to program the VCR but now if you had to do something with your phone you are out of luck until your 1st grader comes home.

The secret is that science needs a lot of repetition. Read over, write notes, read the notes, read some more, write notes, read notes, repeat. Second, to really understand the calculations for chemistry you need to do a lot of examples.

Eventually you will get it.

Good. Glad I’m not the only one.

In organic chem now, and after a few chapters, I find myself going back to the beginning of the book, and working the same problems again till I get back to the current chapter. Just to make sure it all “sticks.”

Yea it’s normal for sure. Especially if you have like 400 of these know-it-alls in your classes. However, when you have had the subject taught to you slowly and steadily through high school, a general survey in college isn’t going to seem hard at first to these kids. Eventually as the classes get deeper and the subject material gets harder, it will come down to commitment and intelligence beyond the coddling of high school. You might argue that organic’s difficulty level is magnified by the fact that it is the first time a lot of these kids are challenged. The take home is you can’t quit and you have to always be working harder than anyone else. Eventually it will average out and you’ll be fine.

Thanks for your comments, it feels better to know you are not the only one. I’m spending hours and hours studying, and sometimes I just don’t understand some of the material, it becomes a little frustrating; but at the same time this is my dream and that’s what keeps me going!

The one thing I have found that I have on the younger students is sheer will. Most of them haven’t seen what life is like in a cubicle, and are there on their parents dime, so when the classes get tough they really don’t seem to want to buckle down. All I seem to hear from my younger cohorts is how they want the slides on the web, rather than take notes. They want practice tests, they want to know exactly what “will you be asking on the test”. Most can’t even sit through a lecture without looking at facebook. So while the start of the semester is somewhat of a repeat of high school so they are breezing through, the first sign of something new that isn’t hand fed to them rattles their cages. So, just keep pushing along, while most are out partying and it will all balance out in the end.

So ture Baileypup. I had a friend call me last week to help her resolve few issues with her laptop … and the reason was that she needs to take this to her class and can surf the web aka facebook when she is bored!!!

BaileyPup, I had the same experience going back at 34 for a second bachelor’s degree in CS. My fellow students, some only half my age, were obsessed with “will this be on the test?” rather than “is this important for me to know for the field?” They whined about the long hours of homework, some of them complaining that they had to do almost TWO HOURS of homework for each hour of class! How unreasonable! Meanwhile, I took 48 hours of core classes in two quarters and graduated with a 3.93 GPA. It’s almost unfair to put a grown-up in with a bunch of 20-year-olds. I assume medical school is a different kettle of fish, but for returning adult undergraduates, it’s almost like going back to high school. Not that it’s easy, exactly, just that it’s not nearly as hard as the younger students make it out to be.

Depending on what type of academic med program you go to, the first two years of med school may feel a little like your post-bacc experience, ie read it/memorize it/regurgitate it for the test and then forget it. The pendulum swings in the third year when didactics get replaced with the need to apply knowledge to diagnose, treat and then follow through. I struggled through preclinical years, but really hit stride when I went to the hospital. Just keep going, do your best, and rest assured it evens out in the end. Regardless of what you did in your previous incarnation, it will benefit you when it’s time to go to work.

Funny story I guess or sad depending on how you look at it. Got my first Org 1 test back and got a 93 (should have got a 100, but you know hindsight) Some one in my class asked me what I did. I said well I read every chapter, doing the problems in the chapter, then I did the assigned problems at the end of the chapter, I made flashcards of all of the memorization things that would be on the test and went through them about 100x’s, the weekend before the test I spent all day friday studying, 6 hours saturday studying and 6 hours on sunday at the library studying. Oh and I took the practice test 3 times. They looked at me like I had asked them to cut off a leg. The day I was at the library for six hours I had 5 different groups of studiers sit next to me in a sic hour period. Who studies in the library for 45 min. Oh well enough gossiping, off to study for my MicroBio test.

Micro test is a good example of why non-trads may feel intimidated at first, but ultimately have the advantage. When the Medical Microbiology teacher asked if anyone was taking the course (gasp!) as an elective, it was only a few non-trads that raised their hands. And, yes, the 19-22 year old pups looked at the old farts with amazement,…almost a deer in the headlights look…“you guys are taking a HARD course as an elective? And you don’t HAVE to?”

Similarly to BaileyPup, I had an interesting story with Organic. Its kind of long build-up so bear with me. I decided to take it in the “summer,” which started in the middle of May literally the weekend after spring term ended. A majority of students were from other schools trying to get in an extra course. Only a few were, shall I say, top-notched, including one very petite 20 year-old girl, who looked like she was 12 but was finishing her Cornell degree in 3 years. The professor had taught summer organic for some 20 years, morning lectures at SUNY Stony Brook and afternoon lectures at SUNY Old Westbury, where he was on faculty. During the five weeks of Organic I, there were 3 exams and a comprehensive final. That meant about 2 1/2 chapters a week! He gave exams with questions directly from the book problems with minor alterations (and we had the solutions manual as well as the text). He also made his previous exams readily available. Most of the class also went into Organic II. The day after the first exam in Organic II, one girl was asking how I did one of the problems (remember this girl has five exams from this professor in as many weeks). I pulled out the text and solutions guide and showed her how problem 54 in chapter 14 was done and she was shocked, shocked I tell you to find out his exams were directly out of the book!

I mentioned this to the brilliant petite girl who just looked at me in disbelief and responded "I don’t even know how to respond to that. When I told the prof in office hours, he laughed.