New Here...Need Advice

Hi all,

My name is Elisa and I am 28, married, no kids. I have an odd story and my (psych major) advisor doesn’t really advise for pre-med, so I’m in need of guidance!

I graduated from high school in 1999, and went straight to a community college. I was a varsity athlete, but dropped sports after one semester due to an injury that made it impossible to play again. I took an EMT course, which I loved, and finished 4th in my class. However, as I had my heart set on an athletic scholarship, I became apathetic and my grades bombed. I failed to withdraw and have a semester of Fs. I then went to a 2-year full-time UNPAID internship in youth ministry. I did volunteer and summer work as an EMT. Upon completion of the internship, I moved to another state and worked full-time in business.

I realized one day, while relaxing at home, that having my thumb in Gray’s Anatomy and following surgery on Discovery Health was not a past time. It was who I am. I decided to go back to school and become a doctor…at the same time I became engaged!

So I moved back to my hometown, enrolled in college (the same one I went to before), and got married. I finished my AA in Behavioral & Social Sciences in 2008, which permenant membership in the academic honor society noted on my transcript. To get that notiation, I not only had to have a high GPA, but lots of community service. I believe I averaged 975+ hours each semester (including my paid part-time job at a non-profit).

So now I have a 3.5 cum GPA (up from the original 1.8 or something like that!). I am the only transfer student to be invited to the Honors Program at University of the Pacific, where I am just starting! I’m majoring in psych and minoring in bio and chem (brain plasticity fascinates me, and can be used thereputically, I think. Love to do research there). This semester, I have Bio with lab, Stats with lab, Spanish, and an Honors course. I’m a first semester Junior. By the way, this bio class in #2, but doesn’t require the first as a pre-req. However, I feel like it might be kicking my butt. Should I take underwater basket weaving now, and start with bio #1 next semester, when its offered?

I was just appointed to serve on the county mental health board. I’ve been invited to shadow a hospitalist, and a psychiatrist has offered me a letter of recommendation or whatever else I might need. I’ve also been offered an internship at a psych non-profit (the one I used to work at: I worked with psychiatric patients for 2 years).

Now what??? What do I do with this bio class? What can I do (besides a good GPA) to get myself competative (this is California)? And in God’s name, what can I do about my previous F and W covered transcript? Helllllllllp! Thanks.

Is this your first experience at the university level (as opposed to a cc)? If so, you may be taking on more than you are quite ready for. I’m not sure why you are taking Bio-2 prior to Bio-1. Usually there is a pretty good reason for the sequence being what it is, regardless of one not being the pre-req for two.

What happens if you drop one of your courses? Should you drop the Bio or one of your other classes? Is there a problem with taking only three courses while you get your feet wet, and then take a full load next fall?

Things to think about.

As far as the woeful earlier 1.8 experience… There isn’t anything you can do about it other than acknowledge it and move on. Med schools do look at a gpa trend line, improvement, maturity, etc. so by doing very well now, you mitigate the earlier record.



Well, I agree with the previous poster regarding it usually being beneficial to take Bio 1 before Bio 2. Being successful in the class is crucial. Dropping is better than withdrawing, in terms of your academic record.

Regarding your previous record, there is an opportunity on your medical school application to make a statement explaining any part of your record that you feel needs explanation - this would be the chance to talk about the injury, the disappointment, etc. At that time you should have a premed advisor look over what you have written to make sure you present yourself maturely - indicating that you made a mistake, you take responsibility, and you made the changes necessary when you went back to school to now be successful.

Overall, probably the most important thing now is to do well, especially in your science classes. Going to TA or instructor office hours can often be helpful.