What am I doing wrong???

sad.gif This is my last semester as a post bac until the MCATS 2003-Aug and it has become the worst. I am taking Orgo II, Physics w/ lab and Orgo Lab- along with shadowing a physician 10 hrs a week. In the beginning of this semester I became a witness by default to a vandelism/domestic abuse, which occurred the same night as my first exam. 10 minutes Prior to my exam I was with police and detectives. Failed that exam big time. One day later, my roommate dropped the charges against her boyfriend ( big slap to my face) but I vowed to let this pass and do excellent the next exam. I got tutoring, did problems, practice exam, and felt pretty good about the next exam. All this, while the detective of this case harrassing me twice a week- so bad to a point that now that I need to seek a criminal attorney ( as soon as I know her grounds I will let y'all know). Regardless, I went into the 2nd exam and came out feeling--sort of ok. I just got my grades. I failed again.
My situation is what it is. I have to seek an attorney- no choice, I have to complete these classes, can't drop them. Can't move because I am stuck in this lease until June 1st.
I need advice on how to tackle ORGO II for the rest of this semester and show this subject no mercy. I have contacted my professor as well and I have one more exam plus the final which is accu. Any suggestions on study tips is appreciated. I am so stressed and feel like just dropping all this now but I am so close. I am willing to get a C in this class- it seems I have no options. Thanks for reading my book. smile.gif

When I was studying orgo, I used to draw “maps” of all the reactions. I had a separate map for each chapter, with the starting reagents in the middle of the page, and arrows going out in all directions toward the various reaction products. I also had a corresponding page for each mechanism where I included any details that didn’t go on the map. Basically, I made sure I knew the big picture for each functional group, and once I knew that part of it I worked on memorizing the details. When I was really feeling ambitious I’d consolidate all my maps into one big master guide.
Another good strategy in orgo is to see patterns among all the reactions you’re learning. There are only a finite number of concepts you really have to master in orgo I and II. Write them down as they come along, memorize and make sure you understand them, and then watch carefully to see how they apply to each new functional group–I think that will help ease some of the burden of memorization that goes with this subject. For example, can you explain Markovnikov’s rule in a couple sentences, and recognize it when it shows up?
Do as many practice problems as you possibly can too. Do them several times, until you’re able to answer them quickly and confidently. Then you should ace those exams!
The last thing I’d say is make sure you make the best use of your time with the tutors. I tutor chemistry myself, and I KNOW it doesn’t help students a whole lot when I just explain stuff. It works better if they explain what they know to me. Let your tutors give you hints, but no more.
I hope that’s helpful.

The story you describe suggests a much more emotionally complicated situation than you are letting on–perhaps more than you are acknowledging. At any rate, I am very concerned about you and your well-being. You are not going to be able to pass any of your classes or do anything else until you get yourself into a more calm situation, and you're not going to get yourself calm until you get out of that house. I suggest talking to some domestic violence advocates who can help you get out, lease or no lease. They will not require you to press charges to help you. 1-800-799-SAFE is the National Domestic Violence Hotline; they can help you get help in your area. They can help you get the legal help you may need but they can also help you to get out of the situation which is the bigger problem. Again, they will not require you to press charges to help you.
You are describing yourself simply as a witness to violence; but because you are in that house and both legally and emotionally involved in what is going on there (and in both cases, involved against your will), the violence in your home (and the threat of future violence) is also against you. I can not emphasize that enough. That violence is almost certainly affecting your ability to take care of your own best interests, as well as your ability to concentrate on anything else. Please consider talking to someone about more creative approaches to getting out of this situation; diagramming concepts or making flash cards won't do a thing for you until you do. Since I don't know where you are or more about your situation I recommend calling 1-800-799-SAFE for referrals to people who can help you in your area. Again, this violence has also been done to you and you deserve and need help to get out of this situation. Because the police officer is focused on making the case against the person who did the violence, the police officer is not looking out for you or your interests; you need to find someone who is looking out for you, who can help you, and not just in a legal sense.
You may also want to consider getting some counseling through the counseling service at your school. This will not only help you as a person (and get you evaluated for effects that these traumatic events may be having on you) but also can help you get clearance to drop the class.
I strongly advise you to drop the course. A C is not what you want for medical school. More importantly, I am not convinced from what you describe that you are going to be able to get a C, since the emotional situation around you will continue to prevent you from being able to gauge what you need to do to learn the material. And you need to learn this material anyway for the MCAT.
This situation is not going to magically resolve itself and in the meantime you are going to have a very hard time concentrating. Because of that, you have a very good reason for dropping the class. What you need now is someone who can help both you and the school understand the effect that this trauma is having on your life and your ability to go to school, and help you to get the support from the school that you need to drop the class in order to improve your life circumstances before trying to tackle academic work again. The counseling service at your school should be able to help you get clearance to drop the course.
You are feeling powerless in your academic life and in your living situation. That is because other people are exerting power over your life and causing you to feel several different kinds of fear and anxiety that are preventing you from living your life the way you want and need to live it. You need help to get back your ability to control your own academic and emotional circumstances.
Because I trust that the hotline number I gave you will lead you to people who are more trained than I am in handling your difficult situation, and will be better able to help you, I am sending you to them rather than trying to problem-solve with you myself, but please know that I am worried about you and would like to know that you are getting some control over your life back. If you are willing, I hope you will keep me posted about your well-being.
Good luck, and take care–

Thank you Andrea and Joe for your responses.
As far as the tutoring, it is done in a group study fashion, not one on one in this school - unless I have money of course for an actual one on one tutor. As he explains, I understand and I apply - nothing.
As far as my situation in the house Joe, I will call the number you suggested. My grades are taking a major toll because of all my stress and it's starting to get me really down . AT this rate I have no idea… The beginning of last semester, my mother broke her knee cap and as the eldest of 4 children, I have to still run back and forth between home and school. Money is extremely tight and I am paying out of state tution at this school. IT was huge sacrifice for me to go to school. This is why I keep going ahead. I also have to do something because all this pressure is unbearable. My roommate has let him back in and he did come to apologize- I told him any man with a short fuse like that is a dangerous man and he needs to get help as well. I need to worry about myself because she is a licensed PharmD recently and I am just a struggling post bac. Thank you so much again.

Good luck–I'm rooting for you and I'll be thinking about you.

Hi there,
I can't add anything to more to the excellent advice that Joe has given you but I can encourage you to seek an appointment with the Dean of Students. You need to bring your attorney with you if necessary because you need to drop this course and possible drop any others. You have had more than your share of victimization and should not have the pressure of trying to keep up with your studies, which are competitive under the best of circumstances.
At your Dean's meeting, you need to be prepared to bring dates and occurances of things like when the incident occurred and your dealings with the police. You also need to request a leave of absence from your studies until this matter can be resolved and you can put your attention back into your studies. If you have been doing well up to this point, your case is even stronger but even it that is not the case, you should not have to continue to study under this much psychological stress.
You also need to put your requests in writing and keep a copy of all correspondence concerning these matters. Keep a pen and pad by your phone so that you can make notations of every call that you receive. You also need to have records of every court appearance. Consult your attorney but under certain conditions, you may not have to stay in this lease. I am not a lawyer but I do know that you need protection and you need to take care of yourself emotionally before you can move on with your studies. You may lose the cost of the classes but you should not have to lose your career and become more victimized by these unfortunate circumstances.
Do know that you have legal recourse against the university if they force you to continue with classes after a serious event such as this. Again, you are going to need legal representation to pursue these avenues. I know that students have been granted a leave of absence for much lesser events than the ones that you have described so read Joe's post one more time and get some legal counsel. Keep good records and keep in contact with your professor and your Dean's office. If you are in a good university, your academic well being should be of prime consideration to them and they should be willing to assist you in allowing you to get these matters resolved and to return to your studies without penalty.
Good luck and I wish you the best.

Hi again,
After reading the other posters' advice, I agree with them–you have a serious situation on your hands, and should probably get outside intervention. Dropping the class makes sense, so contact your Dean as soon as possible. When I responded before I was just thinking about ways to make orgo a little less stressful, but those strategies will only be helpful when you've got the time and concentration you need to devote to the class. Get things settled and then go back to orgo next semester!
Best of luck.