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Feeling defeated and discouraged

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by jcr_massage, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. jcr_massage

    jcr_massage BodyworkSweety
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    I don't know if I need someone to smack me upside the head and say "hey your never going to be a doctor" or if I need someone to say "hey your being too hard on yourself". So "shoot" everyone, tell me what you think. I am a Biology major, with a french minor and I am supposed to minor in chemistry but we we'll see about that. I do excellent in Biology clases mostly A's with a few B's and I still have plenty of Bio classes to go before I am done (at least 4 fo them) and I still have to take physics which I do not expect to be difficult for me. And if I mnior in Chemistry still I have two BioChem classes to take. My problem is Chemistry! I just plain suck at it and I just don't know what to do anymore. I got a C+ and C in Gen Chem. But and A and a B+ in Gen Chem Lab. Then I took Orgo I last semester and I got a D. I tried to convince myself that I just didn;t study enough because I was taking care of my father, even though I studied more hours than I think most people study for all their classes put together. So I set out this semester with a positive attitude to retake the class and delete the grade. Now this semester rolls around and I am having a terrible time again in the class. I just don't know what my problem is, I study, I Feel like I know the material, I do well on the practice tests and then the test comes and halfway through the test there is that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, the one that tells me I know I'm doing poorly again. After the second exam this semester with only one plus the final to go, it appears that I should withdraw from the class or risk getting the same grade or even worse the second time taking the class. I fear that would look even worse. So should I even bother attempting it a third time after withdrawing this semester or am I fooling myself.....do I even have a shot at getting in with such poor performance in Chemistry? Will my Bio grades carry me if I do well on the MCAT. I have plenty of volunteer experience and excellent LOR's already from Bio professors. I'm not so concerened with my GPA pr even Science GPA since with all my science courses and god grades in Bio it should be fine. I'm just worried about how the Chem grades are going to look. I've heard of medical school's looking past a poor grade, but an entire poor subject? I'm not so sure. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself.......I just don't know....... I need some honest advice here. I have considered giving up becoming a doctor, but everytime I consider it I am heartbroken and at a loss for what I would do with my life......working to become a doctor has become such a part of me..........Should I go for it again next semester? Or am I fooling myself that I have a shot. Help.......
     
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  3. DoctorMom78

    DoctorMom78 Sky Glory
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    Have you tried talking to your professor? Does your school offer tutoring? Is there anyway you can get a C in the class? If you can't, then withdraw. I would definitely not take a D in the class again. Somehow you need to figure out how to get through organic chemistry. If you suck at chemistry, that is going to affect your MCAT score. When/if you retake the class, I would try to find a good tutor to work with and stay in close contact with your professor. I had Cs in chemistry and physics, but my bio classes were strong. I don't think you have to give up your dream, but you have to get through organic chemistry and the MCAT. Good luck!!!:luck: :luck:
     
  4. HarveyCushing

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    I think you are being way to hard on yourself. If being a physician is something that you really want to do, you just need to overcome this small little bump in the road. I was not that great at chemistry in undergrad as well. I got a B- and an A- in Gen. Chem and then a C+ and B- in Orgo (with A's in the labs). While those were my weakest links, I did fine in my other bio classes as a Bio major. In fact my low scores in the Chemistry classes never came up in any of my interviews. Most people have weaknesses in one area or another. Just make sure to make yourself as strong of an applicant as you can, it seems like you have with your ECs and LOR, and you will be fine. Good luck.
     
  5. DragonWell

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Rather than getting discouraged and feeling like you just can't do it, I would spend some time trying to figure out what your problem is. And by figuring out, I mean changing, perhaps dramatically, how you are studying right now. If you study alone, get a study partner. If you study in a group, try studying alone. If you read the book, try making flashcards, too. What really helped me in Chemistry and Physics was doing a LOT of practice problems and questions. The bottom line is if what you are doing isn't working, try ANYTHING else. Find whatever resources it will take and give yourself enough time to use them.

    Grades are certainly important, but what med schools are also looking for is how people respond to academic challenges. The minutiae which must be learned in anatomy doesn't come easily to anyone, so when you hit that wall of material, you have to have some tools and study skills in your toolbox to fall back on - flashcards, notes, practice questions, whatever YOU need to get the material into your head.

    Good luck. We've all been there.
     
  6. jcr_massage

    jcr_massage BodyworkSweety
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    Thank you for your advice, I think that I will give another crack at OCHEM in the fall and I'll take the recitation section along with it to help me out, perhaps even get a tutor. This summer I will build my confidence a little with a little Genetics and Physiology, a few bio classes usually boosts my confidence level and renews my faith in my abilities.

    Blessings
    Jen
     
  7. Bluemirage

    Bluemirage Senior Member
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    Do not let these grades get in the way of your dreams. If becoming a physician is important to you then you must find a way to rectify your past mistakes. Try to figure out exactly why you are weak at chemistry. HOw are you studying for the classes? Are you working through a ton of practice problems in your study?Or are you just reading texts over and over again like your Biology classes(Note: you cannot study Physics/Chemistry the same manner you study for biology. To be successful you must use the same study method as Math classes...tear through lots of practice problems in addition to memorizing important facts). If you are already at a C or D average and there us no hope of getting at least a B, even if you get 100% on all of your subsequent exams, then I would say drop the class. For your other classes that you got C's and D's in, you can retake them again next semester (for DO schools your most recent grade will replace your older grades). This is just a little bump in the road compared to what is ahead of you. If you really want to become a doc then you won't let this "little bump" get in the way of your big dreams. Now sit down and figure out what went wrong and come back and get A's! I wish you the best of luck!

     
  8. VALSALVA

    VALSALVA sh*t or get off the pot
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    There's a reason why Organic Chemistry is considered a "weeder course." Perhaps examining other career paths wouldn't be a horrible idea...especially since you haven't invested all that much into the process yet (i.e. taken the MCAT, finished the pre-req's, gone through an application cycle, etc.).

    Organic chemstry is much like medical school coursework in that there really aren't very many concepts that are difficult to master, singly...it's just that there are a lot of concepts to memorize and understand! So, when someone struggles with Organic Chem. that raises a red flag - if you struggled with organic, who's to say you'll cut it in med. school?
     
  9. jcr_massage

    jcr_massage BodyworkSweety
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    Valsava,
    Thank you for your reply but I must disagree with your opinion now that I have had a day to calm myself.......I have three friends who are doctors, just completing their residencies, they actually disagree with your statement about OChem being similar to med school, actually they told me I would most likely forget 90% of it and never use it again. Now Biochem they said obviously was a little closer to med school classes but they detailed that even with that class you take it and rarely use any of it again......it's all just part of the game.

    Thank you for your opinion.....but I think that bailing out now is premature and I would not be able to live with myself.......I want to be a doctor........I am not a stupid person.....I am a good student........I cannot let this one poor subject ruin my dreams.....I have to find a way to get through OChem and then strive to do really well in Biochem so I can prove I can do upper level chemistry. Besides I don't even begin to know what a backup plan would be for me.........I just want to be a doctor.

    Jen
     
  10. DragonWell

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Are you a massage therapist? Just wondering with your username...
     
  11. TerpDO

    TerpDO Member
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    Gen Chem I - B
    Gen Chem II - C
    Orgo I - C
    Orgo II - C

    MCATS >30

    Touro _____ Class of 2011

    So it can be done, also keep in mind that on the MCAT there will be a much more material on Bio than Orgo in the biological sciences section so if you feel that Orgo is still bothering you when you are preparing for the MCAT, focus hard on the bio and make sure you get all of those questions right. Do all the bio problems first and then go back and attempt the Orgo. (For those that say they had a test with lots of Orgo, well the chances are most people did not do that well on that version so the scores would have been raised accordingly to reflect that). Best of luck and it's true from what I hear, most if not all of what you learn in orgo in college won't be crucial to know in med-school.
     
  12. theraball

    theraball Panned
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    That's the spirit. If medicine is what you want, you'll achieve it. Don't let the naysayers discourage you.

    Look at me:
    gen chem (years ago freshman year): C, C-
    gen chem retake: B, B
    orgo B-, C-
    orgo retake: B, B
    MCAT: 30R
    Not exactly a stellar performance, but good enough for several acceptances to osteopathic schools. And I'm a massage therapist too, by the way. Good luck to you!
    Therapy Ball
     
  13. simbalimba

    simbalimba Junior Member
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    Have you tried using alternative methods to study? Oddly enough I did much better in organic chemistry when I studied it on my own for the mcats then I did in the class (C). And now that i am retakin it, its much easier b/c i had learned it all but in a method that i can understand, the teacher sucks. Also if thas not working I had a friend who said she couldnt understand orgo to save her life, she also was a bio major and a very smart girl, but she got this video from the library, its an old skool video made in the early 90s, but she said it did wonders for her as far as understanding, comprehensive, rentention, and confidence. If you think this will help you, pm me or jus reply to this and Ill see if I can get the exact name of the video and stuff for you. good luck
     
  14. krbirc03

    krbirc03 krbirc03
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    First of all I know where you are coming from. I almost bombed ochem I but then recovered in the second half. I don't particularly enjoy chem but I am taking a synthesis of pharm substances course that will certainly kick my butt, MY FINAL SEMESTER OF COLLEGE. But anyway enough about me, i say scrutinize your study habits, and "perhaps get a tutor????" No , you will get that tutor. Don't have so much pride that you end up hurting yourself for it, tutors can really help. Also I know ochem, is ochem and it doesn't change much from school to school, but profs do. Maybe you just can't learn from your prof very well, there are different methods of teaching that work with certain people. Maybe you can take the course at a nearby college with a different prof and see if that works. All that said...keep your head up.
     
  15. GreenShirt

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    If Orgo is the subject you struggle with the most at your school, I would recomend taking it at another college where it will be easier. Doing this with just one course, will not be a big deal. You'll save yourself the time and frustration that's going to eat into your other classes.

    Don't worry yourself silly over whether or not you will get into medical school right now. If you want to go (for the right reasons) you'll get yourself there. You're like me, good at the life sciences (bio) but have to work harder at the physical sciences (chem, phys). Other than biochemistry and pharmacology, the majority of your med school courses are more life science oriented.

    I'll be matriculating into medical school in a few months, and I still have to re-take the second semester of Orgo before I go. But who cares, I'm still going.

    Stay positive and take it one step at a time.
     
  16. jcr_massage

    jcr_massage BodyworkSweety
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    Dragonwell, yes I am a licensed massage therapist in the state of Ohio.

    And slim I woul love to know that name of that video, if it ven slightly helps then It would be a lifesaver.

    Thank you all for your encouragement.
     
  17. Tired Pigeon

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    OP, definitely don't give up over this. Here are some thoughts that come to mind:

    1. Use all the resources available to you -- this includes tutoring, TAs, professor office hours, etc. You should be working every problem in your textbook -- not just looking at it and saying, "Yeah, I know how to do that one," and moving on, but actually writing it out. And every single thing you absolutely can't figure out on your own, go to your professor's office hours and ask him/her to explain it. Plant yourself in their office until they explain it in a way you can understand. Remember, their job is to instruct -- also, most professors appreciate a student who is actually trying to master the material and many will go out of their way to help you.

    2. If the instruction is very poor quality or the instructor is extremely unhelpful, consider taking ochem from a different instructor if possible (another section, or another school in your area) -- sometimes an instructor's style is just a lousy fit for a particular student.

    3. At this point, it's clear chemistry is not your thing, which is fine. Not every one of us excels in every subject. Your talent for undergrad chemistry really doesn't mean you'll have a hard time in med school. I hated undergrad organic chemistry with a passion -- it was an uphill battle to earn a respectable grade, I couldn't stand my professor's teaching style, and I didn't feel like a learned anything. Fortunately I was strong in the other sciences so it didn't matter at all (36 MCAT, accepted at my top choice school.)

    4. The 'chemistry' you do in med school is really applied, much more interesting, and much easier to understand (for me at least!) than some crazy ochem electron-pushing mechanism ****. (Note: I am at an allo school, but I can't imagine DO is going to be that much different in terms of chemistry knowledge required -- somebody in DO school feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about this.)

    5. Just do what you have to do in order to get out with a C. Don't worry about what you retain/don't retain, just get it done and get out.

    I know your situation sucks, but it's just another thing you have to deal with to get to where you want to be. Keep your eye on the ball.:luck:
     
  18. lateapplicant

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    You definitely should take everyone's advice and keep plugging away at it... especially focusing on scrutinizing your study habits. Also, killing the bio questions on that MCAT section does work, I didn't have any more than knowledgable guesses on the orgo questions and it was still my best section.

    I say f*ck good luck, persistence is the key to success. Don't let people who tell you it's a sign (there is a place for that advice so I'm not making a statement to any of those who offered that opinion but you obviously have it in you). Some people can't swim, some struggle with math, many with orgo... but keep throwing yourself in the pool and you'll learn to swim eventually.


    Side question for anyone here: What is the percent range for letter grades? My school doesn't give out letter grades and everytime I try and look up the info I get different answers.

    A - 90+
    B - 80-90
    C - 70-80
    D - 60-70
    E - 50-60
    F - <50

    or

    A - 80+
    B - 70-80
    C - 60-70
    D - 50-60
    F - <50
     
  19. DocBR

    DocBR MS-3
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    Jen, if this is how you feel about medicine, don't give up. Ochem is do-able, you just need to change the way you are learning it. With your past in Chemistry, make sure that you have enough time for Ochem (don't take physics, cell bio, or any of those along with it). Also, switch instructors for it and find a review group.

    Also, there are some great books that explain the reason behind all the minutiae, rather than just the minutiae - a friend of mine swears by this one. http://www.amazon.com/Pushing-Electrons-Students-Organic-Chemistry/dp/0030206936/ref=sr_1_2/002-7996942-5862417?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173001864&sr=1-2

    One thing that helped me, although it seems counter intuitive was cramming. Normally, I like to be adequately prepared and caught up through the entire course but I did so much better when I was spending 10-15 hours over 2 days studying right before the exams (I went from a B in sem 1 to an A in sem 2 and saved a lot of time).

    I also managed to retain a lot of it which made studying Ochem for the MCAT much easier, I think this is because I was covering so many mechanisms, moving so many lone pairs, etc in such a short period of time that I started to just get the general patterns rather than memorizing specific mechanisms.

    As far as Ochem being a weeding out course, I think this is because people lose faith in themselves and give up, not because they are unable to do it. So don't give up.

    :luck: Good Luck!
     
  20. miasapearl

    miasapearl Member
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    I think that every school is slightly different in the way they give grades, but this is the percent range for letter grades for my school:
    A+ = 97-100%
    A = 93-96%
    A- = 89-92%

    B+ = 84-88%
    B = 79-83%
    B- = 74-78%

    C+ = 70-73%
    C = 66-69%
    C- = 62-65%

    D+ = 58-61%
    D = 54-57%
    D- = 50-53%

    F = <50%
     
  21. scpod

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    True, and it's usually different for med schools as well. Some are just pass/fail, but mine gives letter grades:

    A - 90+
    B - 80-89
    C - 70-79
    F - <70
     
  22. supersport

    supersport supersport
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    my first chem course in college was chem 100, no college credit for this remedial course. I had to drop the first time I took it. the second time I took it I ...well...F. I refused to give up and am graduating a degree in chemistry this semester. I have several pubished papers in organic chemistry.
    whatever that tells ya:cool:
     
  23. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    to the OP:
    get this book
    http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Chemistry-Second-Language-Translating/dp/0471272353/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3725589-2212038?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173032613&sr=8-1

    The problem with orgo is that ppl don't know how to study for it. I also thought i sucked at chemistry. While i got A and B in bio 1 and 2 I did horribly in chem classes---->got C and D in gen chem (retaking gen chem2 now and so far have an A in the class:D ) and i was terrified of orgo especially after stories about my teacher.

    I took orgoI last semester and got a B (missed an A by few points).
    I didn't study countless hrs but i did find the right way to study for me.
    First i would read the above book (this book is priceless and i wouldn't understand half of the material if not for that book. It explaines things in a way that is very easy to understand and it gives a lot of practice after each section so when you finish chapter you already practiced enough to remeber everything), then i would go to my text and make notes and flash cards. Sometimes i would literally rewrite the text in my own words and go over my notes before exams.

    The thing with orgo is that you can study for 10 hr a day and still do bad on it if you try to memorize things rather then understand and practice them. The only way to learn this subject is to practice, stare at molecules and practice some more. Write, write and once more write things down as you go along.
    I didn't even go to class but i would sacrifice my whole saturaday for orgo and go over everything that was in lecture that week untill i wanted to puke.

    I think what helped me a lot too is that i am extremly visual (ex-architecture major) so i had no problems seeing things in space. If you do have that problem then get a molecular kit and bild molecules as you study. try to understand how they are oriented in space etc.

    And most of all approach the subject with a good attitude. Take an interest in it. It is so easy to study if you are interested in something. And orgo can be very interesting. Use internet if you feel like your text doesn't explain things in the approachable way.
    You can do it! Belive in yourself and you will be fine.

    P.S i agree with DoctorMom that if you are doing poorly in class drop it. Orgo is not a history course. If you skip or do not understand the previous material getting an A on the next exams will be imposible (unless you relearn everything from the beggining).
     
  24. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    oh man...i envy those of you who go to schools with 1/2 letter grades.
    My GPA would be so much higher with all those classes in whcih i missed an A or a B by few points:(
     
  25. MaximusD

    MaximusD Anatomically Incorrect
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    Sometimes it's just getting over that hump. Personally, I think it's all psychology. Things are easier when you know you can do them.
     
  26. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    100% agree with you:)
     
  27. Dr. Josh

    Dr. Josh Guest

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    Hey I know where you're coming from too. I was defeated after orgo 1. My grades are As in all my sciences except a B+ in physics 2 and then a defeated D+ in orgo 1. I wish I had taken the W but at the point I could drop I was doing ok. I must have really bombed the final. I am retaking in summer school with a different professor and hopefully a better one. Did you have both courses with the same prof? After doing poorly once I would never retake with the same professor. In fact even if I had pulled it out with a C, I had no plans of taking orgo 2 the next semester since it would have been with the same professor. i was planning on taking that at a CC in the summer after I graduated. Now unfortunately I'm taking both then.

    Does everyone get separate grades in orgo and orgo lab? That's what many of you seemed to imply. Mine all counts as one grade.
     
  28. Dr. Josh

    Dr. Josh Guest

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    Wow I would have loved that scale and my gpa would be much higher that way. But doesn't AMCAS or AMCCOS recalculate.
     
  29. lateapplicant

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    So a high 60% in premed is some variation of a C rather than a D in almost all cases when AACOMAS looks at it?

    If it's not I have to retake a couple classes this summer, so I'm hoping that's the concensus.

    Thanks
     
  30. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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    Just to clarify:
    AACOMAS calculates your GPA according to your transcript GRADES.
    As you maybe don't know transcripts have only LETTER grades not percentages you got in the class. AACOMAS will never know if you got 35% or 80% or how the class was curved or whatnot. All they see on the transcripts is A, B etc.


    That is why going to a college where 1/2 letter grades exist is nice since you will get for instance a 3.25 for a B+ vesus 3.0 for a B (and in my college 89.9 is still a B so that is how you get screwed).
     
  31. nichtmeinbier

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    I'm pre-allo, but i venture to DO too because a doctor is a doctor is a doctor. I just posted something similar for all those worrying in pre-MD. My doctor (an MD) knew several of his friends at UPENN that did terrible in ochem...and theyre still doctors. Just keep trying...you'll be laughing someday at how much you worried as an undergrad, and advising people to just relax and try their best. BTW, my doc wasn't a science major...and everyone knows science majors have it worse than anyone else.;)
     
  32. lateapplicant

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    Thanks for the feedback, but I think my situation is a little more unique as my transcripts only show percents with no letter grades. I'm just trying to get the general concensus on what a D denotes percent wise and whether or not I should be retaking a high 60.
     
  33. Dr. Josh

    Dr. Josh Guest

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    Check this out; this is how AMCAS does the conversions for numerical grades. I assume AMCOMAS does something similar. Good luck.

    http://www.aamc.org/students/amcas/2007amcasgradeconversionguide2.pdf
     
  34. GreenShirt

    10+ Year Member

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    UNECOM offers an online ORGO course....all the quizes and the final is open book...if orgo is not your thing, that's one way to go. (I'm taking this class for my prereq)
     
  35. VALSALVA

    VALSALVA sh*t or get off the pot
    7+ Year Member

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    Hey there OP,

    I salute you in your quest for a career in medicine. I truly with you the best.

    If you read my post more closely, you'll see that I made no comparison between the specific content of organic chem. versus medical school cirricula. I simply pointed out that the material is presented similarly (simple yet numerically overwhelming concepts). That is why OC has classically been a weeder course (along with Calculus, of course).

    Gone are the days when pre-med advisors and chemistry profs. discouraged students away from med. school if they achieved anything less then a B-. I think they were onto something, but I'll bite my "e-tongue" as the dumbing down of medicine is one of my pet peaves and I could type on and on for hours - all the while upsetting most of the people on this forum.
     
  36. lateapplicant

    2+ Year Member

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    Awesome, exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.

    And to the OP... I think the general concensus is that we all struggle on certain things... keep your head up and you'll get there.
     

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