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Thread: hey guys, in need of some advice right now.

  1. #1 hey guys, in need of some advice right now. 
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    I'm a bio major (pre-med) and my grades are really terrible. I have a .89 gpa for my major and a 2.22 overall. I admit, i have been fooling around and partying, but at times when I did cut down on the tom-foolery and decided to take work serious, i noticed that I was overwhelmed / struggled. my math and science skills aren't that strong so that explains the struggles. I'm also wondering if I'm in the correct major for me. yes, i do like the sciences and I'm interested, but w/ my poor skills, i'm really struggling and my grades aren't good for med school.

    to help narrow things down:
    - i like to work w/ my hands (build, fix things, etc., thus I was considering surgery)
    - i'm interested in science, research, collecting data, (so i was also considering PhD?)

    if i could fix up my math and science skills, i'll be okay, but the problem is, i can't afford to take a semester off from school to self study these things. how can you self study and try to master algebra while taking organic chem and physics? should i take a semester of easy courses (math, sci) and work on my skills on the side then resume w/ the bio work?


    then what if i'm just not interested in my major? i'm considering switching to computer science, but i'm worried about finding work, etc.,

    i'm just really confused right now and don't know what to do.


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  3. #2  
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    Assuming you're really ready to buckle down for a semester and want to continue, you might consider retaking key classes--that will rebuild your GPA before the school kicks you and build on your knowledge.

    then what if i'm just not interested in my major? i'm considering switching to computer science, but i'm worried about finding work, etc.,
    That sort of answers itself--study something you're interested in; you probably won't want to work in something you don't like either and won't do you best if you do.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Assuming you're really ready to buckle down for a semester and want to continue, you might consider retaking key classes--that will rebuild your GPA before the school kicks you and build on your knowledge.

    then what if i'm just not interested in my major? i'm considering switching to computer science, but i'm worried about finding work, etc.,
    That sort of answers itself--study something you're interested in; you probably won't want to work in something you don't like either and won't do you best if you do.
    yeh. i'm reading to buckle down and do the right thing(s). yeh I definitely will re-take all failed courses, but the question is, "I'm I ready?" can i handle the rigor? I want to register for calc, trig, basic science classes next semester and also self study a bit on my own. then after that, for the spring, I will start and tackle all my bio classes again. that's plan A or completely switch majors and just self study: bio, calc, physics, chem, orgo chem on my own then take those classes and apply for med school.

    i'm still a pre-med just considering switching majors to boost my GPA, and graduate on time
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  5. #4  
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    Hi JB:

    I had a low year when I was undergrad when my GPA was 2.6. However, I made a decisive turn around and changed it to a 4.0 the next year. Thus, you have to decide for yourself how bad you "want it". A couple things that helped me:

    1. Staying in church. I believe I was "guided"; however, I could not see it at the time. Also, when I ran into things that just terrified me (like giving talks in front of groups) someone always just seemed to "show up" right when I needed him / her and helped me overcome the obstacle. Thus, I credit my faith with providing both guidance and strength.

    2. As you now know, the partying crowd can hurt you. Consider connecting with friends through church or sports. I was very shy and had few friends. However, my martial arts interests at the time kept me in the university karate club of which I was eventually elected president. It is a small thing compared to school govt. types; however, any sort of leadership experience looks good on graduate applications.

    3. Be careful about overloading. It is better to do a reasonable load and do well than to overload yourself with too many brutal courses and not do well.

    4. Be willing to look at other majors. I started in engineering and immediately realized it was not for me. I wish I had majored in computer science since computers fascinate me and I loved the one course I took in it. So if you are thinking pre-med, realize you can major in anything as long as you take the required pre-med courses. Consider majoring in something that can give you a back-up career in case med school does not pan out. Also, I think med schools like to see something different from the standard "bio" / "chem" major.

    5. Be open to those "unusual" turns in life that may be meant for your good. What really caused me to change my habits is a summer job when I was able to see people at work in a profession I was considering. I had a crush on a girl that summer and she basically "brushed me off". The experience caused me to take a total re-evaluation of my life / habits etc. I became "driven" and determined to be "good enough" for someone like that girl. I know that sounds bizarre, but it worked. I succeeded, and when I did I called the girl and she sort of laughed and said I should have called sooner because she was engaged. It did not matter, since by that time I was over the crush. A few years later I met my wife, and last year we celebrated our 25th anniversary.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by dedo; August 1st, 2012 at 09:01 PM.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Hi JB:

    I had a low year when I was undergrad when my GPA was 2.6. However, I made a decisive turn around and changed it to a 4.0 the next year. Thus, you have to decide for yourself how bad you "want it". A couple things that helped me:

    1. Staying in church. I believe I was "guided"; however, I could not see it at the time. Also, when I ran into things that just terrified me (like giving talks in front of groups) someone always just seemed to "show up" right when I needed him / her and helped me overcome the obstacle. Thus, I credit my faith with providing both guidance and strength.

    Used to be very active in the church, christian groups on campus, etc., just lately my views have changed a bit so I haven't gone to church in quite a while. (still believe in God) just disagree w/ a few things of the church, etc., (at least my church in particular) Guess I need to get back in it, huh? Just not really into the churches here in the area of the school. Still haven't given up on God or the faith though.

    2. As you now know, the partying crowd can hurt you. Consider connecting with friends through church or sports. I was very shy and had few friends. However, my martial arts interests at the time kept me in the university karate club of which I was eventually elected president. It is a small thing compared to school govt. types; however, any sort of leadership experience looks good on graduate applications.
    yeh the partying crowd can hurt you, but staying inside all day doesn't help either. partying's okay if all the work is done. I have friends, been meeting people, girls, etc., I don't have a problem getting involved. Was on a few committees, but I dropped them because I wasn't that interested. I'll try and join something else though. I'm also trying to shadow a doctor and volunteer at a nursing home / hospital.

    3. Be careful about overloading. It is better to do a reasonable load and do well than to overload yourself with too many brutal courses and not do well.
    This right here is the problem. I've been taking 18 credits and that's not working for me. I seriously need to cut down. Every semester, I always overload myself and take more than I can handle (due to ambition). that's part of the reason my grades are the way they are. I learned this the hard way this summer. working and taking 3 summer classes. something had to give. unfortunately. so I'm not going above 13 next semester.

    4. Be willing to look at other majors. I started in engineering and immediately realized it was not for me. I wish I had majored in computer science since computers fascinate me and I loved the one course I took in it. So if you are thinking pre-med, realize you can major in anything as long as you take the required pre-med courses. Consider majoring in something that can give you a back-up career in case med school does not pan out. Also, I think med schools like to see something different from the standard "bio" / "chem" major.
    see, that's the problem. there are no jobs out there right now. so looking at other majors is very risky (for me). the hospital / health field seems to be the safest bet. I'm considering computer science (if i change majors), but it's not something I would want to do as a career. I'll do it just to improve my grades, but I'll still take the MCAT and apply for med school even as a computer science major. i'm failing terribly as a bio major. my weak math and science skills are a part of the problem. I'm struggling with the sciences, so I'm trying to work on that for a semester then I'll try again and see what happens.

    5. Be open to those "unusual" turns in life that may be meant for your good. What really caused me to change my habits is a summer job when I was able to see people at work in a profession I was considering. I had a crush on a girl that summer and she basically "brushed me off". The experience caused me to take a total re-evaluation of my life / habits etc. I became "driven" and determined to be "good enough" for someone like that girl. I know that sounds bizarre, but it worked. I succeeded, and when I did I called the girl and she sort of laughed and said I should have called sooner because she was engaged. It did not matter, since by that time I was over the crush. A few years later I met my wife, and last year we celebrated our 25th anniversary.

    Good luck.
    i hope this "unusual" turn is really meant for my own good, d. I really hope so. thinking of my future right now really scares me. my parents are counting on me big time as well.

    thanks for the advice, d. really appreciate it. I have an appointment w/ a career advisor tomorrow. I'll keep you up to date. congrats on the anniversary with your wife.
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  7. #6  
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    Thanks,

    Let us know how it goes.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Thanks,

    Let us know how it goes.
    ironically, the career test showed that i'm actually in the correct field. (i don't really take those test serious) but according to the test, some of the things i should consider are majors in sciences, bio etc., i answered as truthful and as honest as i could.
    so right now, if i can strengthen my weak math & science background, i'll be golden to continue w/ the bio major. but if there are issues w/ graduating in 4 semesters etc., then the best bet would be to take a major in like information technology, finish in 2 years, then get into a post-bacc program for med school geared towards non-science majors.
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    It sounds like you are zeroing in on a plan. The actual plan is not something that I could comment on since I don't know all your circumstances. The best I can do is recall anecdotes from my own education, or reveal what my current plan is since I am trying now to prepare for my next career. I reach retirement age in less than 10 years, and I have no desire to just retire. Also, I would like to make a contribution to society at some point. So in some ways, I will be starting anew, like you are now. I am currently trying to improve my ability to be "guided" since that is what I believe happened to me when I was younger. Except now, I am trying harder to cooperate with the process. This might cross the line into "preaching" for this forum; however, since it is a prospective experiment that should produce a result, it might pass. My current plan has so far involved three phases:

    A year or so ago I tried to improve my "creativity" by getting closer to God. It seemed to help; however, I did not produce any results. There is a paper I was working on that was sort of "half written" that went to ~2/3 written.

    Then, last February I made some more changes. You mentioned "partying". I don't party and I don't drink if I work the next day. And I try to be careful about moderation in drinking, and not driving etc. However, I did make some changes because I ran across some videos on You Tube where these kids were talking about how drinking messed up their lives. The videos shook me up--I think because we don't have kids and we wanted them. I started thinking about the times I drank in front of kids, and whether I had a negative influence on them since some kids I have known over the years did develop a problem.

    So I gave up drinking for Lent and decided that instead of looking forward to going out with my wife and having wine with dinner on the weekend, I would do these "creative weekends" and see if I could come up with anything. I still went out with my wife; however, I just volunteered to be the "designated driver".

    Interestingly, the project I was working on took a giant step forward during this period. So even though I am not a "teetotaler" I am continuing what I started last Lent because I want to see it through. So on most weekends, I don't drink because each weekend I have lined up a mountain of articles to read, and I am revising a paper that I finally finished for resubmission. If the paper is accepted I want to move quickly on to another project, because I believe what I came up with last Lent has a commercial application.

    So I really don't know the answer about drinking etc. Some people shouldn't drink. I am blessed that I never developed a problem. However, now I don't drink much for a different reason--because I believe I get more done without it.

    The third change I made just recently. I was having a difficult time with a couple issues coming down on me all at the same time. The issues are not that important. We all have issues. It is just that sometimes you get in situations where things come at you from several directions at once, and it can make you discouraged, or hard to get along with. Then "coincidentally" I ordered some CD's from this televangelist that explained that sometimes these "rough times" are actually a "test", and if you pass the "test" then you advance. However, it is nice to say that except it is not easy to act like a sage if you are getting pounded. The second part though is not to pass the "test" under your own power, but to draw on Christ for power.

    So I started giving everything to Christ. So now if I worry about something the answer becomes an "affirmation of faith" such as "In Christ I will solve that issue." So in addition to not missing church, I spend time with Bible study every day because I believe that connects me to Christ.

    However, this time my goal is not just about "succeeding" but it is about "contributing". I have this "hope" that if I can improve my game all around then somehow we will end up with a kid. I know it sounds crazy. However, I did it before (my wife), and I believe I can do it again.

    The third part of this plan has improved my focus a lot and allowed me just to think about what I need to get done tomorrow instead of worrying about 5 things that may or may not turn into a problem.

    Anyway, that is my current plan. If any of that is helpful to you, then great. If not, maybe someone else has a better plan.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by dedo; August 5th, 2012 at 06:51 PM.
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  10. #9  
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    There are things that purport to be career tests that are the stuff of magazine quizzes and then there are career tests that are used by counselors and have data to back up the claims. So there are useful tests out there - just stick with the ones administered by professionals, though (Minus the O*NET website one, that's a short form of one used by counselors).

    When I was an undergrad, I was not mature enough to be in school. I am fortunate in that I found motivation in things - such as my boss at my then-restaurant job saying we'd make so much in tips we wouldn't have to finish school, and man, I was going to prove that guy wrong. I graduated with honors with little issue, but I spent a lot of time doing assignments to the extent that it would get me an A and not any time actually learning about the things I was interested in.

    Professional schools, graduate programs, and doctoral programs want students who are interested in learning and have the ability to think. Those aren't things taught in school, and they probably couldn't be. If you are just working towards a grade and not taking the time to think critically about a topic, read, and ask questions, you won't fare well.

    If I were you, I would not be asking yourself if you can handle the workload but rather if you can handle the workload, be able to speak intelligently about what you are studying, take extra time to learn more about your field, make connections with your classmates and professors, and still enjoy what you're doing more often than not.

    I've found working to be easier, though I think it has more to do with the way I socialize and behaviors that don't make me want to throw furniture through the window. I've had my share of wretched coworkers, but it has been in academia that I have found a larger than I'd like population of folks that are difficult for me to get along with. I generally like everyone and it takes a reasonable amount of behavior to set me off. Narcissism - the true kind and not the label we slap on people who are just full of themselves - is unfortunately common in academia, or atleast my field and a few others I've dabbled in. It is also one of those personality traits that I have difficulty tolerating. I'll definitely take work weeks with coworkers in need of learning boundaries than a few weeks of being at the whims of someone with that personality trait. Again, not the pejorative label, but the thing you find in the DSM.

    Anyway, figure out what works and try to hang in there. Life after graduation has it's own difficulties, but it is pretty nice overall.
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    Hi,

    My advice to you would be to first keep your focus. You are studying avery good subject which will give ypu success in the long run. All you need to do is focus in your studies. However, if you feel you cannot cope up with the studies, then you should visit a career counsellor. I am sure you will get some useful suggestion.

    Good Luck!
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    Become a revolutionary and change it all.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Lamarck View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    Thanks,

    Let us know how it goes.
    ironically, the career test showed that I'm actually in the correct field. (i don't really take those test serious) but according to the test, some of the things i should consider are majors in sciences, bio etc., i answered as truthful and as honest as i could.
    so right now, if i can strengthen my weak math & science background, I'll be golden to continue w/ the bio major. but if there are issues w/ graduating in 4 semesters etc., then the best bet would be to take a major in like information technology, finish in 2 years, then get into a post-bacc program for med school geared towards non-science majors.
    Something I wish I did when I was in school was make use of tutors to get you by the rough spots that are going to crop up from time to time. Every school has very knowledgeable students and staff looking to make some extra money tutoring and you pick the tutor that is specializing in the subject you need to catch up in.
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