Should I even bother trying??

Hi all,

So here is my situation: Im taking a leave of absence from my MFA creative writing program to finish my 2nd BA (in Biology) - im 2 semesters away from completion. I have a BA in English and a minor in biology at the moment.

My plan back in college was to earn a BA in biology and pursue med-school. However, I faltered and wound up with a handful of poor grades (below C’s), which discouraged me and will forever tarnish my transcript. I panicked and settled for a BA in English.

Recently I got a hefty pang of motivation to finish what i started. My question is: is it worth it to pursue again? Sure, if you really want something you can get it, I’ve heard that many times. But lets be realistic…

  1. my transcript is scattered with failing math grades and not so desirable chem grades, a few retakes, and drops.

  2. my overall GPA is not even above a 3.2 (yet) I’d be the laughing stock of my schools pre-med society.

  3. im a horrible standardized test taker which might pose MCAT problems (the GRE was even a nightmare)

  4. At least I have a great resume and a lot of drive.

    Should i forge ahead? Try and ace the rest of the classes I have left? Or should I cut my losses, face the music, and not waste my time (if it is in fact a waste of time)? I’m 25 by the way.

    One can look at it as either a) prospective candidate cant even handle a basic course-load or b) prospective candidate struggled, yes, but stuck to it and redeemed herself. Noteworthy.

    Any opinions would be really helpful!! Thanks in advance!

I’m 27 with a degree in MIS and a current GPA of 3.03 (based on AMCAS). I still decided to go back to school and finish the prereqs and try to earn this goal. There are many of us here in similar situations. Yes the AdComs are going to question you, yes the applicant pool is filled with people who have amazing numbers, ec’s, etc. The one thing that matters to me most is being able to one day exhale my last breath without any reservations or regrets on how I chose to live my life.

To put it into Hollywood terms …

Mr Smith: You can’t win, it’s pointless to keep fighting! Why, Mr. Anderson, why? Why do you persist?

Neo: Because I choose to. …

You’ll never know what you can do until you try. You just might surprise yourself. But if I might

Sorry I had to go away from my computer and it timed me out. Anyway, I was just curious why you’d even want to interrupt your MFA program.


thank you for your feedback. great quote too! now to answer your question as to why I would bother interrupting my MFA, I have several answers:

  1. I can always come back to it. There are people in my class MUCH older than I.

  2. an MFA in writing is a great tool, yes, but it wont help me put food on the table. Besides, some of the best writers never went to school for it…

  3. Its not what I really want.


Thank you, yes, i suppose I will be the underdog compared to everyone else… which means ill have a lot more weight to pull…but it is important to have no regrets or reservations, i agree. unfortunately, in a world where numbers, rankings, and scores matter so much, the question of “is it worth the effort” keeps coming up. How soon will you be applying to schools?

#3- Yeah, I totally get that one. It used to happen to me with startling regularity while I was doing my student teaching; standing in front of one of my geometry classes giving some lecture on vertical angles or some $hit like that, and this voice would say to me, quite loud and clear, “what the hell are you doing here?!” And it wasn’t a location or geometry thing (geometry is my fave! The whole philosophical ‘squaring the circle’ thing is like mathematical Zen for me!)- it was a transcendental career thing. It got really disturbing after a while. It didn’t stop until I finally quit teaching, which was the most joyous day of my life! Granted I only make about 75% of what I used to, but I’m happy.

#2- Okay, right now an MFA doesn’t pay, but please remember it is a terminus degree and can get you at least a professorship. I’ve had many an English teacher friend who wanted to complete their MFA in order to move up (or out) in teaching. But that’s your call. Times are tough right now and “creative writing” seems like too much of a risk.

#1- Exploring your options! Run with it!!! Carpe diem, dude!

And if you don’t mind, I’d like to share with you my philosophy about going for this m.d.:

1)you miss 100% of the time the chances you don’t take and

2)when you are drawing your last breath, your life is said and done ask yourself, will you (or won’t you) regret taking (or not taking) a risk at going for your medical doctorate degree?

Personally, I decided that I’d rather fail in trying than fail from an abundance of cowardice and sloth (one seventh of the Deadly Sins).

I just had to add that your philosophy on regrets is awesome – I completely agree. I don’t think I could have lived with myself if I didn’t take this chance.


I’ll be kicking myself for a while if i dont go for it but it doesnt change the fact that I still feel like I’m groping in the dark hah… Are you almost finished with your pre-reqs? How important is it to be involved with the pre-med society btw? I know they give a lot of guidance but if i “cant get in” bc of a crappy GPA (im still too embarrassed to admit mine) , its like a catch-22. I have to fend for myself? Find my own way??

Ah little grasshopper, we all have to find our own way. Leap and the net will appear. Do what you love and the money will follow.

I’m running out of cliches.

But seriously, you ask good questions. While I enjoy discussions of big ideas with like-minds folks, it’s still my own life to live. I have to make my own decisions and places like OPM are around to help each of us make the most informed decisions for ourselves. As for my own pre-req’s, I’m about half way through. I’ve got to do some physics and the chem requirements. Because I still have to put bread on my own table (or rather Starbucks in my coffee holder on the way) I have to work. So I’m hoping at part-time, I’ll be ready to start applying by 2012.

Fantastic well good for you then. Im increasingly motivated thanks to OPM. :O) I have some orgo and physics to finish up as well… bleh… Im going to push myself and start applying next year.