Jan 16, 2010
Any other non-trad going through this?

I'm fine usually, but lately i've been struggling in one of my classes, and the constant studying for it has taken a toll. The feeling that all this studying has no rewards (my grades have not improved) doesn't help. Between work and class and studying, I barely have time for me. And it's taking a huge toll on my relationship too. I get incredibly depressed when I don't have time to work out, cook, etc.

I've had this same professor and TA for two semesters now, and the depression has just gotten so much worse. I know i'm not the only one, there are others in the class that just don't even want to get out of bed in the morning. But I honestly have no time to worry about being down about this stuff. It doesn't help to feel the constant guilt about work if I need to take a day off to study, or the constant personal guilt I feel when I am at work. It's especially hard, bc usually when i work so hard for something, I'm able to accomplish it.

How does everyone else get through it? :(


Fascinating, tell me more
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 15, 2007
Medical Student
Ah, the low points. I definitely was there. One thing I had going for me was the support network of family and friends. Especially a SO who can listen to you bitch and complain at the end of the day.

I'm not sure about your personal situation, but try reaching out to other people. I found that the best people for therapy are non-trad premeds. After that, just older people in general. It's hard to relate to traditional premeds b/c they're just not at the same life stage as you.

Have you thought of getting a loans or other financial aid? Not working (especially FT work) goes a long way in bringing your grades up. Of course, this may not be a possibility, but it's worth giving a second look. My mental health skyrocketed when I figured out a way to go from full-time to part-time in my post-bacc.

Realize that sometimes the extra effort isn't worth it. I noticed that non-trads have higher standards because of their background (bad grades, stigma of being an older student). Letting a prereq class slip to a B isn't necessarily going to keep you out of med school.


Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
Staff member
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Oct 12, 2004
Fellow [Any Field], Attending Physician
Sounds like you have a classic case of burnout to me. Unfortunately, there is no known way by which we can cram more hours into a single day. I agree with Isoprop; you really need to take a step back and think about what you can let go. Your choices are basically to work fewer hours, take fewer classes at a time, or get lower grades. Option #3 is not optimal for a premed, especially if you are trying to overcome a low UG GPA. Option #2 is reasonable if you don't mind adding some time to your post bac. Option #1 is also reasonable if you can afford working fewer hours and/or take out loans.


Membership Revoked
Apr 28, 2010
You can think of it in two ways: 1) your grades don't improve, as you said, or 2) your grades aren't going lower and without the extra work they would. You are doing good by studying more.

I suggest you take one entire weekend off. If you can't, wait until winter break. Just toughen it out for now. I think your mind just needs a break before the routine repeats.


7+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2009
Perth, Australia
This is not a problem that only non-trads face. I suggest going to see a councellor, getting some help and maybe on some meds. Depression is not an easy beast to slay and its better to deal with the problem sooner rather than later, especially when your marks are still good!

Jun 18, 2010
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I suggest taking a break. Go on vacation. Sleep.
Even if you have to take the whole semester off. Few months here and there are not going change the global picture!
A burnout is natural. You run for a certain amount of time, dealing with high amount of stress and putting your maximal effort into the struggle, but you can't do it at a constant pace all the time. You need to slow down and take a breath.
Maybe, finish this semester and go somewhere on the break to change the scenery.


7+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2009
within the labyrinth...
Medical Student
if you're getting into that cycle of putting in more and more time to studies and getting nothing out of it, then dropping other things/activities to put in MORE time for studies, then having history repeat itself, then i would say set aside time for other activities. i know you feel you have no time already and depression can make you pretty unmotivated, but if you feel you're not succeeding so you need to cut this and that to put more focus on your school, then eventually school will own your life, you may still not feel you're getting out what you're putting in, and you'll be left wondering where 'everything else' you used to enjoy went. guard, or carve back out, some blocks of time (doesn't have to be much!) to do activities, whether it's a sport, going to eat with your so, reading something nonschoolrelated, whatever. it gives your brain a break, and you get to check something off, which is a mental cookie. if the only thing on your todo list is "stop being awful at school :(" and you aren't progressing like a madman, then you'll feel like you're never getting anything done, ever. that would wear on anybody. mostly, just keep going!


Established Member -- Family Medicine Resident
7+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2010
Where ever I am, I wish I was in Versailles
Resident [Any Field]
I agree, take some time off, and chill for a bit.. even if it's only a few hours. Rarely does studying something that you aren't understanding help anyway... the more you get frustrated, the less you'll retain, and it is a vicious cycle. What class is this? I have to think physics or chemistry?

The side note, clearly you are pre-med... what happens in med-school when school occupies the time you currently work and study right now? This is something you need to figure out how to manage so that when you make it to the big time, you don't have to worry about this...

Best of luck
Nov 10, 2010
Well, I know you sound crammed for time and haven't been able to work out...but if you can find a way to get exercise back into your schedule, that might help cure some of the blues.
Nov 28, 2010
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
ugh, i have been there! too many times during undergrad. though i didnt have a job (i tutored a few hours a week, but i hardly count that), i did have the responsibility of raising my daughter as a single parent while taking a full pre-med courseload. now that i am married (my husband and i met during my freshman year of college) it is a very different story, but i have totally been there and felt sooo depressed and frustrated as a result.

i always tried to take it one day at a time and not beat myself up if i didnt have time for things i loved (i, too, enjoy working out and cooking!). to me, the biggest reward was that final grade...so i just tried to plow through it day by day, giving myself an hour here or an hour there to take a break. do you have a favorite show? i have a couple, and no matter HOW crazy my workload was, i always took that hour to relax, watch my show, and sip hot chocolate or something tasty! i did try to squeeze in gym time as well, but i have to admit that it didnt always work out.

as far as professors go, i have had some NASTY ones. i went to a very tiny undergrad institution (1700 students total!) so repeat professors were all too common. sometimes this was wonderful, others it was not. i had the same professor (a complete jerk) for both gen chem I, gen chem II, and organic I. i had ENOUGH and actually took organic chem II somewhere else!

i really wish you luck in balancing everything...you can do it! it can be so overwhelming at times but just try to take it one day at a time so you feel like you can manage everything!