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

Midyear Update

Hi everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated this; life has gotten busy! First of all, I graduated! I even managed a 4.0 during my last semester. That A in Biochem was difficult but I did it! I even got close enough to my professor to ask for a letter of recommendation. 🙂

Unfortunately, I’m not done with that school and pre-med classes. I had to change my schedule to be able to graduate before my financial aid ran out, so I still have O-Chem II and Physics II to go through. I planned on taking O-Chem this summer and Physics this fall, but after a day in O-Chem I realized I wasn’t ready to take it. When I looked back at my transcript I realized it had been two years since I took O-Chem I and Physics I. I didn’t want to bring down my GPA, so I decided to drop the class and re-take O-Chem I and Physics I this fall. That means O-Chem II and Physics II will happen in the spring. After that I’ll be done with my pre-med classes, yay!

I’m not sure if I’ll take the MCAT next year, but I feel if I don’t do it now I’ll never do it. Taking it will make it much easier to apply to post-bacc programs as well, and the ones with the best programs require either the MCAT or GRE. I decided because of this that I will start studying tonight. I still plan on taking a course, but I’m not sure of the timeline. Most post-bacc program deadlines are in January or February, but I would like to take the MCAT in May so I have enough time to prepare. I think I’ll make an excel sheet with information about the schools and their deadlines. I think if most of them are later in the year, I’ll take the MCAT closer to May. If not, I’ll take it closer to January if I feel ready. I wish more deadlines were closer to June, but I understand schools need time to fill their classes for fall.

I’m hoping to start a post-bac program next fall. My husband and I are already planning a move out of our state, since there aren’t any programs available here. I’m so ready to move on, but I am kind of nervous. I’m mostly nervous about getting into a program; I still have doubts about being smart enough. I know I’m not the perfect student, but I have worked extremely hard for this, and I will continue to do so. I guess it’s just hard to believe in yourself, at least it is for me.

Besides MCAT and classes, I need to find a job as a CNA to get more patient exposure. I had one for a week, but the schedule wasn’t working out and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought. I decided I’ll look for a job at the hospital close to my university, the one I had my boys at, to make it easier to go from school to work. It’s also much closer than the other job, so it’ll save on gas.

I’m also still volunteering at a hospice, and I have plans to go back to Big Brothers Big Sisters this school year. However, since I need another leadership experience, I might need to stop BBBS and find something else. I was planning on using hospice as patient exposure, but since I can work as a CNA I was thinking of using that instead so hospice can be my medical-related volunteer experience. If not, I need to find another medical-related experience, and fast. I’m not sure what I should do, or how to fit it all in my schedule, so I may need to talk to my advisor first.

Anyway, I think that’s all I can think of. Life is going well, for the most part. Hope you’re all doing well! Hopefully I’ll have some time to update this more often. 🙂

Andrea.

Pre-med

Latest Semester

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I keep thinking about what to write but never have enough motivation. I’ve been feeling kinda down this semester; it’s been a very difficult one. Finals are coming up and I’m getting nervous.

My Cell Biology course is going horribly. I haven’t done this poorly in a class in years. I feel like I know the subject, but I hesitate at the last minute and change my answer. Since my professor has the multiple choice section be worth three points per question, missing a few really messes up your grade. The lab isn’t any easier; we have a different instructor for it. She’s notorious for being a harsh grader. We do these literature labs where we read a scientific paper she chooses and then we have to summarize it based on one of the figures. She expects us to write at a PhD level to get full points and makes the average for the class be a B-. Needless to say, I don’t do very well in these. It makes me incredibly mad at me. I know I can do better, but I don’t understand what she wants. I dunno if maybe it’s a language thing; I’ve lived in this country for almost 12 years and although I hardly ever have trouble with it, scientific papers take me a while to comprehend. She’s also extremely intelligent so the way she words her questions during quizzes confuses me sometimes. This is no excuse for me doing so poorly, I should be able to study more and do better. If I can get a C in the class, it’ll be a miracle.

Anatomy is going okay. I should end with a B in the class if everything continues to go the way it is. It makes me a little sad because I really wanted an A, but since I can’t live in the cadaver lab due to needing to be home and care for my boys, I think it’s an okay grade. I didn’t do so well on my last exam so my class grade dropped to a C+, but we still have the lab grade to consider and two more exams for lecture. I plan on talking to my professor about the questions I missed so I can do better on the cumulitative final. I really love the class though, and the cadaver lab is extremely cool. I have loves everything we have learned about and I will be forever grateful for those who donate their body to science so we may learn it and help others. My instructor for lecture used to be a surgeon, so he always has interesting stories to tell. He also cracks jokes all the time which makes the class even more enjoyable.

My Research Methods class is okay too. I have a B currently and my research project is under way. Unfortunately I had to change it at the last minute, so I’m not doing anything related to sign language like I wanted to. I also realized there may be a mistake in the data collection so I may not have any valid data to analyze. This really bums me out because I have to do a final paper and presentation on it before the end of the semester… which is about 3 weeks away. I have to talk to my professor about it and see what we can do.

Oh and I dropped Biochem because I couldn’t give it the attention it deserved.

Lastly, I signed up for the MCAT for May 14th. I’m taking the rest of my pre-med classes next semester; Biochem I, O-Chem II, and Physics II. However, I’m unsure about the professors. I’ve taken a class from one of them before and her teaching style and my learning style didn’t match. The other professor is known for not being a great one… most students just skip the class until they can take it from the only other professor that teaches it. Since I’m graduating soon, I don’t have that option unless I drop a class, which is the one with the other professor I’m unsure about.

I was planning on graduating, taking the MCAT, and applying to a post-bac program that focuses on academic enhancement. However, because of how difficult it is to study and take care of my little ones, and because of the professors I’ll have to take classes from, I think I may put off the MCAT another year. I may drop those classes, take maybe one with a few “easier” ones to help keep up my GPA, and apply to a post-bac that focuses on career-changers since I have a major in Psychology instead of a “science” one. I can take the rest of my classes then, take an extra two years, take the MCAT somewhere along the line, and make sure my husband has his degree so he can support us/work from home so I don’t have to worry about my twins being home without one of us. I have to run it by my advisor before I make my final decision, but it seems at this point in time it’s the right one.

I think this will calm me down, give my time to boost my GPA, spent time with my twins, study for the MCAT, finish my pre-med classes, and give me a bit of my sanity. School will always be there. Who cares if I’m 40 before I can practice, right?

Right?

Wish me luck.

Andrea.

Life, Pre-med

MCAT Study Schedule

Hi everyone,

I started studying for the MCAT today. Since I don’t have a ton of time, I’ve decided to study one hour a day during the summer. During the weekends I will probably increase it to two hours a day. It’s not a lot but since I’m about a year away from taking it, I figured this is a good way to start.

Wish me luck!

Andrea.

PS: This is the only way I’m allowed to study. Better than not getting anything done, right? This little one is Syrus, the oldest. Sirius is sleeping peacefully on his crib. The dog in the background is Harry; he thinks he’s their babysitter.

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