Pre-med

Updates

Hi everyone,

I have some awesome news to share. I got an A- on my O-Chem exam! I followed the plan I outline in my last post and it helped so much! I’m really excited. My grade in class has gone up from a D+ to a C+, which is not a great grade but it’s something I can definitely improve on, especially because my professor drops our lowest exam score. Once he does at the end of the semester, my grade will be much better, since my lowest score so far was a 61. I’m going to continue studying so I can make sure my grade remains high.

Now comes the interesting part. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m signed up to take the MCAT on May 19th. I signed up two days ago for a prep course through Altius Test Prep. I’ve been reviewing content on my own since August on and off, but I knew I would need something more structure to prepare at some point. Finances are tricky though, so it took me longer to sign up than I was expecting.

I was excited and ready, until I looked at their introduction. I knew the course would be difficult, and I knew it would take time, but what scared me was how advanced their other students are compared to me. I’ll start a little over a month AFTER their short track students. Surprisingly, they say that they won’t accept students later than the beginning of February, but I was still allowed to join a group. I’m worried that I won’t be ready by May, and I thought about pushing back the MCAT for another month to have more time to prepare.

I kept reading what they gave me. The time commitment, the things that need to get done… and honestly, I panicked a little. I don’t think I can finish all of that in under three months. I’m seriously considering pushing the MCAT until next April. I won’t be taking classes so I would be able to concentrate on studying for it. However, that means I’ll have to postpone applying to medical school yet another year.

Honestly, postponing it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I could ensure I’m more competitive by having a strong MCAT. However, I would have to contact everyone that wrote my letters of recommendation and asking them to change the date on them, again. It’s been difficult to do that already, since some people are more cooperative than others. I’m still waiting on one for this year, and another one that should’ve been written by now but hasn’t. It’s discouraging. Additionally, I’ll lose a lot of volunteering, shadowing, and patient exposure hours. What I mean by this is that my advisor let me know that only extracurricular activities from the last four years will count. Since I’ve been pre-med for such a long time, a bulk of my hours came from 2013, which won’t count if I apply in 2017. I’ve been looking for info about this from the actual AAMC website but I couldn’t find anything about it, so it’s difficult for me to make a decision.

I’m going to wait a few days and think it over. I’ll wait until my tutor contacts me and I get a better idea of what this program will require. If I feel like it can be done, I’ll stick with it. Otherwise, I will get a refund and start the program in the Fall.

I’ll keep you guys posted. If anyone knows anything about the four year extracurricular cap I mentioned, please let me know! It would help me out a lot!

I do have another update that I’m afraid is the worst of them all. The hospice patient I’ve been visiting for the past year and a half passed away on Wednesday. I’m usually sad when my patients pass away, but I cried over this loss. He had become a good friend and I learned so much from him. He was an amazing person who will be sorely missed; he wrote a book about his life, which was really interesting, just so he could donate all the profits to charity.

RIP Walter. We will all miss you; from the happy “Hellooooo” you gave when you answered the phone and the “wunderbar” answer you gave when asked how you were doing. I will always remember you and the lessons you taught me about life. Thank you for everything.

Andrea.

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Pre-med, Study Strategies

Operation Save O-Chem Grade

Hi everyone,

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what I can do to bring up my O-Chem II grade. I’ve been feeling discouraged because of it and we have our second exam on Wednesday. So, what can I do to make sure I do well on this exam get an 85 or above? (I need an 85 to go up one letter grade)

Here is my plan. I figured I should write it down somewhere so I make sure I stick to it. I already do most of these, but I’m adding more strategies that I hope will help me.

First, I’m going to read the sections from the book that I’m still confused on. Second, I’m going to try to do some problems from the book, preferably the most difficult one so I’m exposed to different types of problems. Third, go over my Organic Chemistry as a Second Language Second Semester book again and do more problems. Fourth, study group with my friend and study group/tutoring with my Physics tutor who already took the class and is incredibly smart. Fifth, I’m going to watch all the Leah4sci and Khan Academy videos on the subjects, since learning the mechanisms helps me a lot more than memorizing. Last but not least, I’m going to go over my professors’ study guide and old practice exams to make sure I’m ready.

If you have any tips or other resources, please let me know! I cannot afford a bad grade, both figuratively and literally. If you’ve found anything that helps with this class, leave it in the comments! 🙂

Thanks in advance!

Andrea.

Pre-med

Semester Struggles

Hi everyone,

Instead of sleeping I’m up writing this post. I’ve been struggling this semester, and it doesn’t feel good. I have a B- in Physics II, which is okay because my near perfect score in the lab should bring up my grade to a B. I know I can do better, so I will keep working hard and hopefully bring that up to a B+ by the end of the semester.

O-Chem II is a different story. I dunno what happened to me this semester, but I’m struggling. I keep changing my studying strategies to see if it helps, but I keep making silly mistakes because I don’t myself anymore. I have a D+ in the class and a B- in the lab, but for some reason they are separate classes so it will not improve my grade. I can’t afford a bad grade since my GPA isn’t great and I’m on my post-bacc years.

So I’ve been pretty down, trying to figure out if I should withdraw and postpone medical school for another year. Since I would get a W if I withdrew today or March 28th, I figured I should wait and try to improve before the deadline before making a decision. If I’m able to get near perfect scores from now on, I could pull off at least a B, so it’s not impossible.

I’m trying to believe in my abilities but honestly I’ve been pretty down. It seems like such a trivial thing to be upset about, but I take pride in knowing I can do well in difficult classes. I didn’t use to be this way; growing up I didn’t care about school and didn’t do well. It took me moving to the state to learn about well, learning. So when I don’t do well it takes me back to those years, and my self-esteem plummets.

That being said, even though I’ve been feeling down, I will continue to keep going. I’m not a quitter, and I know I’ll regret not trying more than failing. So here’s to keeping on, even when we feel like we won’t make it, because quitting is never an option.

So here’s one new thing I’m doing starting tomorrow (today?) I’m volunteering at the hospital I delivered my boys at! I’ll be helping out in the Cardio-thoracic unit by keeping patients company. I’m a little nervous since it’s my first day, but I’m excited to be doing something in a hospital setting! Wish me luck, I hope it’ll be a good day tomorrow!

I’ll also be participating in this thing called Brain Awareness Week in March. Our school does it every spring break and it’ll be my first year volunteering. We basically go to schools and talk about the brain to get more kids interested in neuroscience. I love the brain, so the neuro minor in me is happy to be doing this. I’ll try to write a post about it after it spring break; maybe I can get some cool pictures of brains. 🙂

MCAT prep is going better than last semester, but I’m feeling a bit burned out. I basically wake up and study until I go to bed, with a few breaks in between to play with my boys and eat. I’m hoping to sign up for a prep class soon, but until then I’ve been doing content review by using books and watching YouTube videos. I’ve taken two half-length practice tests, and even though my scores are horrid, I still improved by about 10 points in a month. I’m sure after I’ve finished the semester and finished reviewing that I will do even better.

I hope my next update will bring good news from an improved MCAT score and improved O-Chem grade. I really don’t want to put off applying to med school another year, but I will make it work if I have to. Time will pass anyway, right?

Good night (morning?) I hope you’re all doing well. 🙂

Andrea.