Bad first semester hurt my chances?

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ABC Doctor

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10+ Year Member
Apr 1, 2013
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Hey all, I know this is brought up many times on the forums, but I wanted to post my own stats/situation so I can stop worrying about it, and see what people who were in my situation did about it and how they succeeded (if they did).

I go to a top 25 public university, out of one of the top private highschools in the country where I always did decently without trying too hard. I went to college thinking it would be a breeze, and I was very wrong. I ended up with a 2.52 gpa first semester, which is about a point worse than ive ever been in my life. That semester my major was economics, so i wasn't taking any pre-med reqs except for calc. I pledged my first semester of freshman year, and the time commitment/hazing was pretty bad, so that definetly cut down on my grade potential, but the main cause was I just didn't care and didn't use the time I had effectively. My parents and their parents and the rest of my family it seems for many generations have all been doctors at some point in their careers, and the idea of being a doctor now appeals to me, although my parents try and talk me out of It all the time. Anyways, after pledging ended before finals, my grades began to recover but not enough to pull a 3.0. Now ive switched my major to biological sciences, and Im more interested and engaged in classes than I have ever been before, which makes me think I definetly want to pursue this career. Here are my grades for this year (the 2nd semester is the grades I have now which are very unlikely to change unless I bomb an exam, which wont happen, or I make a 100 on the final 2 exams in biology, which is also unlikely)

1st Semester
Spanish -C ( Ive never been good at Spanish, but I should have had a B, except I foolishly slept through my final class of the semester, which was one too many absences, reducing my grade by 3% giving me a C)

Astronomy - B
Astro Lab - C (I would skip this in order to get some sleep in during pledge season. Clearly a bad idea, but I didn't realize that so much then.)

Calc - B (Im good at math, and as soon as I started really trying in this class at the end, I received all A's, just not enough time to have pulled it up)

STS- C (random GenEd, didn't interest me so I didn't apply myself)

Econ - B (failed the first and got a C on the 2nd, but on the last 2 exams I was the highest scorer in the class of 400)

Ended with a 2.52 GPA

2nd Semester

General Biology- B ( This is the 2nd of the two general biologies, the first is cellular at my school. Cellular isn't offered 2nd semester so I had to take this one in order to start my major this year. that made it a little tougher than it other wise would because I hadn't taken bio since 9th grade). This is also supposed to be one of the "weeder" classes for the major at my school, most people make C's, but many also do make A's. I just finally got my First A on one of these exams, and ive definetly learned how to study for a really hard class because of this class, so im happy with a B here.

General Chem and Chem lab- A

Calculus- A (pass fail course required for the major, leads into another calc class)

Econ 2- A

Unless a miracle happens im going to keep a B in Bio which counts for 5 credit hours, and since calc is P/F, it wont help my GPA, which means even though I have 3 A's and a B, my ending Gpa is going to be a 3.53, with only 12 credit hours going into the calculation, instead of 16.

All in all, that gives me a semester of 17 credit hours and a semester of 16 giving me a total gpa of 2.97. I realize I messed up the first semester, but I learned how to study/motivate myself with this experience, and I know I can do at least as well as I did this semester for the rest of college, and most likely improve on that. With that in mind, is medical school still an obtainable goal? If so, what do you suggest I do to bolster my resume as far as volunteering/shadowing? This summer ive asked my dad to ask some of his associates to let me follow them around during the work day, and so far I know ill be following a neurosurgeon for 2 weeks, including getting to sit in the OR. Ive seen lots of posts about volunteering or interning at hospitals to get nice EC's, but im not really sure how to do that since hospitals have very little use for a 19 year old (at least that's what my Dad says). So if anyone has advice on what EC's to try and add to my resume that would be awesome. Lastly, my Dad went to Emory, and we still live in the state. Would that make it any easier to get into that school?

P.S. My school has the major set up so that you take 1 biology class every semester until you graduate after 4 years. I wasn't in the major so I missed cellular biology. Would it be ok to take it in summer school? and if so, should it matter which school I take it at? it would be either Georgia tech or Georgia State.

Thanks a lot for the help

I reposted this, I think I had it in the wrong forum.

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Tl;dr.... Just remember an upward trend is key. Especially in upper level courses. Everyone takes time to adjust. You just have to find your groove and roll with it. Good luck!!
I don't think first term grades are indicative of a person's potential or capability. Everyone needs time to adjust, and it's clear you've done so quite well. Just keep up the good work and you'll be fine.