Nov 20, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hey everyone! I just wanted to see if you all had any advice for a struggling pre-med. I'm a non-traditional student trying to complete my pre-reqs after being out of the sciences for a few years. My academic performance this semester has been discouraging to say the least. It's not terrible (no Ds or Fs or *hopefully* Cs we'll see), but it definitely has room for improvement. The course load is: physics, biochem, and o chem through Harvard Extension. Anyone have advice on studying for o chem and physics in particular? I'm looking to form that upward trend!

ALSO, I was thinking about postponing the rest of my pre-med classes for a while. As it is, I'm basically on my fifth year of undergrad (I just graduated with my BA in May) and I'm getting a touch burnt out on academics. Not to mention that the online learning is just absolutely killing me this year. But, I'm worried about what med schools will think if I'm starting and stopping my classes. For reference, I took pre-med classes when I was a Freshman 4 years ago, decided I didn't want to go that route at the time, came back this year to do more pre-med classes, and am now getting burnt out and wanting some real life experience. So I was thinking of working as an EMT and getting my paramedic training. Any advice?
 

CricB4Tube

2+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2018
79
278
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Hey everyone! I just wanted to see if you all had any advice for a struggling pre-med. I'm a non-traditional student trying to complete my pre-reqs after being out of the sciences for a few years. My academic performance this semester has been discouraging to say the least. It's not terrible (no Ds or Fs or *hopefully* Cs we'll see), but it definitely has room for improvement. The course load is: physics, biochem, and o chem through Harvard Extension. Anyone have advice on studying for o chem and physics in particular? I'm looking to form that upward trend!

ALSO, I was thinking about postponing the rest of my pre-med classes for a while. As it is, I'm basically on my fifth year of undergrad (I just graduated with my BA in May) and I'm getting a touch burnt out on academics. Not to mention that the online learning is just absolutely killing me this year. But, I'm worried about what med schools will think if I'm starting and stopping my classes. For reference, I took pre-med classes when I was a Freshman 4 years ago, decided I didn't want to go that route at the time, came back this year to do more pre-med classes, and am now getting burnt out and wanting some real life experience. So I was thinking of working as an EMT and getting my paramedic training. Any advice?
I pretty much just used flashcards to raw memorize orgo reactions. It's also very important to actually understand the concepts in orgo so you can work through synthesis problems, but your study habits should be based on however your professor decides to test your knowledge. Orgo isn't a huge deal on the MCAT anymore, but GPA matters. Physics was just something I got very easily from the beginning so I can't offer much advice there since I barely studied.

I don't think taking time off between classes will kill your application, so long as you use that time very productively. working full-time as an EMT (or even better, ER-tech) would be great in giving you hands-on clinical hours. I'm an EMT-turned paramedic and will say becoming a paramedic is more of a career move and less of a stepping stone for pre-meds. Paramedic school/work requires much more time and focus than most people can give if they aren't fully committed, and the reward over being an EMT-B in the premed process is minimal. I'd say go for your EMT-B and get as much clinical experience as possible if you absolutely need a break from college. I also think working as an ER-tech is more beneficial than doing ambulance work because as an ER-tech, you get to work alongside tons of physicians and get a better feel of the work they do which gives you plenty of talking points on your application/interviews.
 

Dral

10+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2009
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1,184
Dermatomicroscope
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  1. Attending Physician
Focus on your learning and memorization style. I'm very visual so physics and Ochem were kinda natural to me. Ochem synth reactions were like geometric proofs to me (kinda fun...don't hit me).

I remember getting the ochem ball and stick model set because we were told to get it. I made an EtOH model out of it and put it on my desk at home and never used it again. I remember seeing people at the exams using them and wondering why in the world they even ever needed them. I was ignorant to the fact that people can have very different learning styles and way of thinking. Example: I always told myself I was good at math because I got decent grades in it, but it was because I had to work my ass off. In reality I suck at math (other than geometry).

If you are not a visual person, I feel these courses may take more work (just like pharm took A LOT of extra work for me since it's so non-visual). Try to come up with alternate ways to memorize things. I'm not sure what to tell you to do specifically. For me, in pharm, I used a lot of colored highlighters and came up with visual stories about things to help.
 
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jhmmd

supernatural
Apr 28, 2020
1,411
952
on the wall
Hey everyone! I just wanted to see if you all had any advice for a struggling pre-med. I'm a non-traditional student trying to complete my pre-reqs after being out of the sciences for a few years. My academic performance this semester has been discouraging to say the least. It's not terrible (no Ds or Fs or *hopefully* Cs we'll see), but it definitely has room for improvement. The course load is: physics, biochem, and o chem through Harvard Extension. Anyone have advice on studying for o chem and physics in particular? I'm looking to form that upward trend!

ALSO, I was thinking about postponing the rest of my pre-med classes for a while. As it is, I'm basically on my fifth year of undergrad (I just graduated with my BA in May) and I'm getting a touch burnt out on academics. Not to mention that the online learning is just absolutely killing me this year. But, I'm worried about what med schools will think if I'm starting and stopping my classes. For reference, I took pre-med classes when I was a Freshman 4 years ago, decided I didn't want to go that route at the time, came back this year to do more pre-med classes, and am now getting burnt out and wanting some real life experience. So I was thinking of working as an EMT and getting my paramedic training. Any advice?
Re:
1) The first point: I would get Physics as a Second Language and Organic Chemistry as a Second Language. I also did the exercises in the book Pushing Electrons the summer before organic (so you might want to do the exercises one semester ahead). I used the Ochem as a Second Language book extensively when I couldn't ascertain a concept from class and/or using the textbook. Remember to do plenty of practice problems, and don't skip the homework--the only purpose of homework in college is to get smarter, even if nobody checks to see that you did it.
2) The second point: Becoming a paramedic is not really a good use of your time if you already have your EMT license. The reason I say this is that your scope of practice as a medic is not really going to be much more than an EMT's scope of practice (although the EMT tends to be the ambulance driver and the medic tends to do most of the medical stuff). If you want to get your EMT license and work as an ER tech, all the more power to you. But I would caution against becoming a medic simply for med school. It just isn't worth it.

Good luck!
 

Prncssbuttercup

Established Member -- Family Medicine Attending
10+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2010
3,124
237
Where ever I am, I wish I was in Versailles
Status
  1. Attending Physician
The schools want As. The course load you're taking online is ridiculous. Take the classes in a way that allows you to get the highest grades possible. It won't hurt you to be an EMT/Medic, especially if you can use those classes to bolster your GPA. I took my EMT course as a 6 cr graded class, so I got an easy 6cr A.
 
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Jan 16, 2021
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Hey everyone! I just wanted to see if you all had any advice for a struggling pre-med. I'm a non-traditional student trying to complete my pre-reqs after being out of the sciences for a few years. My academic performance this semester has been discouraging to say the least. It's not terrible (no Ds or Fs or *hopefully* Cs we'll see), but it definitely has room for improvement. The course load is: physics, biochem, and o chem through Harvard Extension. Anyone have advice on studying for o chem and physics in particular? I'm looking to form that upward trend!

ALSO, I was thinking about postponing the rest of my pre-med classes for a while. As it is, I'm basically on my fifth year of undergrad (I just graduated with my BA in May) and I'm getting a touch burnt out on academics. Not to mention that the online learning is just absolutely killing me this year. But, I'm worried about what med schools will think if I'm starting and stopping my classes. For reference, I took pre-med classes when I was a Freshman 4 years ago, decided I didn't want to go that route at the time, came back this year to do more pre-med classes, and am now getting burnt out and wanting some real life experience. So I was thinking of working as an EMT and getting my paramedic training. Any advice?
A little advice as someone who has taught a whole lot of paramedic students, many who were pre-med- being a paramedic will help you gain a deeper understanding of some aspects of emergency medicine, but it's not something to do if you don't really plan to dedicate a few years to working as a paramedic. The schooling is intense even with a good science background, and you can expect to spend a good half year up to a year after didactic full time doing clinicals/field/ testing/ on the job training, and after that you've got so much more responsibility that your downtime is really spent trying to be a good medic. So if you really want to do it, it's a great experience, but if it's a way to kill time there are much less consuming options. Definitely get on an ambulance at least a little bit though, even doing IFTs provide a great opportunity to develop bedside manner and read through charts
 

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