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Downward GPA + 5 W's: What should I do?

matibay

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Feb 3, 2019
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Hello! Just need some advice on how to move forward :)

Some background:
I did well in all my courses up until fall semester of my junior year, which included most of my pre-med classes except biochemistry and physics II. From this point forward, I was having a difficult time overall. I was newly diagnosed with ADHD and began taking daily medication. My parents were also in the process of separation due to financial issues, which affected me financially. With the side effects of medication, family issues, and needing to generate income, my grades were affected. Then the fall semester of my senior year, I decided to drop to part-time status to take a break, leading to several W’s. This spring semester, I was hoping to show that I could take a full-time load again despite my setbacks. But, with COVID-19 and having to work again to afford food and housing, I pass/failed two lab courses and received A-/A level grades in three other courses. I am now in the process of studying for the MCAT and am hoping to do well in order to help with the downward trend of my gpa.

First Year: 3.94 cgpa
Sophomore Year: 3.875 cgpa + 1 W
Junior Year: 3.654 cgpa + 1 W
Senior Year: 3.67 cgpa + 3 W’s

(No C's, lowest grades were B-)

I didn’t apply this cycle since I want to take a break from school to better manage my medication. The side effects have been difficult to deal with, and I want to consult more medical help until I really do figure all things out. For now, I’m hoping to get involved in clinical research and have a couple of potential job offers. So, I would be working full-time to generate income. But, does anyone have advice on how I should approach my gap years? I think I need to show that I can handle upper-level courses and bounce back from dropping to part-time fall semester of my senior year. Spring semester, I did end up getting A/A- in two upper-level biochem & chem classes.

Would taking upper-level science classes through a DIY postbacc at a 4-yr university be good enough for this? (Probably, 6 credits for 3 semesters and another 6 credits during the summer.) Should I do the SMP route? What would my chances be for mid- to top-tier schools?

Also, I’m a little afraid of admitting to adcoms that ADHD meds affected me a lot… is this something to worry about?

But anyways, thank you so so so much for reading this lengthy post! I’m sorry if I sound so frantic.
 
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Isoval

Year four and still haven't failed out yet, cool.
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Also, I’m a little afraid of admitting to adcoms that ADHD meds affected me a lot… is this something to worry about?

I wrote my “optional” TMDSAS essay about this very topic, actually. Specifically about how I hated the way the medications made me feel, how I made the decision to come off them and learn how to deal with ADHD conservatively, and how it’s helped me understand that, while medication is useful in many situations, there may be some where it may not, in fact, be the best course of action.

I admit that I think it’s a dangerous topic, but n=1 it worked for me; I received 4 interviews of 9 TMDSAS schools to which I applied (508/3.89).
 
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proudofmykids

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I wrote my “optional” TMDSAS essay about this very topic, actually. Specifically about how I hated the way the medications made me feel, how I made the decision to come off them and learn how to deal with ADHD conservatively, and how it’s helped me understand that, while medication is useful in many situations, there may be some where it may not, in fact, be the best course of action.

I admit that I think it’s a dangerous topic, but n=1 it worked for me; I received 4 interviews of 9 TMDSAS schools to which I applied (508/3.89).
Was your side effect Anxiety? Did you try all different dosages since you had the sensitivity? Or, did you try some of the Adderall alternatives that are often used since they can be better tolerated?
 
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Isoval

Year four and still haven't failed out yet, cool.
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Was your side effect Anxiety? Did you try all different dosages since you had the sensitivity? Or, did you try some of the Adderall alternatives that are often used since they can be better tolerated?

It was closer to what I would liken to profound depression of character. I tried multiple different doses of Concerta before deciding to come off of the medicine.
 
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proudofmykids

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It was closer to what I would liken to profound depression of character. I tried multiple different doses of Concerta before deciding to come off of the medicine.
Sorry for you struggles. Keep an open mind as you go forward and have opportunity to discuss with colleagues.
The other thing to consider is since Adderall is short acting, use the medication for academic, professional and research like tasks, but not expected social time periods.
Best of luck.
 
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matibay

New Member
Feb 3, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
I wrote my “optional” TMDSAS essay about this very topic, actually. Specifically about how I hated the way the medications made me feel, how I made the decision to come off them and learn how to deal with ADHD conservatively, and how it’s helped me understand that, while medication is useful in many situations, there may be some where it may not, in fact, be the best course of action.

I admit that I think it’s a dangerous topic, but n=1 it worked for me; I received 4 interviews of 9 TMDSAS schools to which I applied (508/3.89).

Do you mind sharing how you’ve dealt with ADHD without medication? I was also having similar side effects that you mentioned. Thank you!
 
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matibay

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Feb 3, 2019
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Thinking aloud.... I question your diagnosis or doctor’s management if you are having side effects that affect academic performance with adhd Adderall meds. Usually easy to dial-in and improve attention stamina etc.

I tried multiple doses of Adderall and did experience improved attention... alongside other negative side effects. After seeing a psychiatrist for diagnosis, which my university was able to fund, it was difficult to see other specialists because of being out-of-network and travel. Much of my medication changes were being handled by my primary care provider at campus health (which we were free to see since it was covered under tuition). She later left campus health my senior year, and my new provider did not want to handle my medication. It’s been a complicated situation, especially with financial issues. But since the beginning of medication, I’ve been fazed with whether I want improved attention with negative side effects or being impulsive with my daily life.
 
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