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It's getting rough..I need suggestions-please read!

asigna

Full Member
Sep 7, 2012
105
3
  1. Pre-Medical
    Ok first off this may sound really stupid but....

    I'm a freshman studying bio/pre med. Since I have started in August, it has been really rough. I knew pre med was going to expect a lot of my time and demand a lot of work, but I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed. I am doing pretty good at the moment grade wise, but I am studying sooooooooo much (i know im not the only one). But I mean lately I have just been feeling overwhelmed. If it isn't studying 6-8+ hours per day/doing homework, it's being completely stressed. I keep worrying about not doing good, and have been getting a lot of anxiety. I feel so stressed when my tests are coming up and I am studying hours after hours after hours. I'm not sure if I don't have good time management skills, but it seems like I have no free time..whatsoever.

    I know what I came in for, and I knew what I was getting myself into. There is no other thing I'd want to consider doing besides becoming a doctor. I'm going to keep working hard, no matter what. It's just I keep getting discouraged lately because of all the workload, or how some of the teachers are, or how competitive everyone is (people that I know won't even help me if they're pre med, because they want to get a bigger advantage). Like seriously? Idk, maybe I'm not managing my time well. I want to fit in some time to work out or do something, but then I'm afraid that I won't be doing good or have enough time to study.

    I'm trying my best all the time, and it seems like that isn't even enough sometimes. Idk, it could also be that some of my teachers might be the problem. Like the classes that I am doing good in, it's because the teachers actually care and get involved. I have some teachers that don't care whatsoever..it's a shame.

    I guess what I'm saying is that YES I am complaining, which is stupid, but I just hate being so stressed and overwhelmed. I know I will have to make sacrifices so that is not what worries me. I guess I'm looking for some advice, encouragement, tips/suggestions on perhaps better time management or just adjusting easier. I know pre med is far from easy, but I would like it to not be all "work". I'd like to enjoy some of it.

    I would really appreciate if you guys could give me some feedback! Thanks!
     

    Hemorrage

    Ambrose
    7+ Year Member
    Sep 4, 2011
    1,560
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    1. Medical Student
      You need to calm down. Freshman year typically sucks for most pre-meds (myself included). Just keep working your hardest and doing your best. This may mean studying every waking hour you have to, but in the end your grades must come first. Also, worrying about the future as a freshman isn't really a good thing to do. The reason is you hardly have any grades under your belt and have 2+ years to go. (Your gpa changes quite a bit in that period of time). So for now just focus on doing well on your tests, one step at a time.
       

      iforget2

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    • Jun 23, 2012
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        Studying longer < Studying smarter

        I don't know your study habits or whatnot, but 6-8+ hours a day? That just seems way too excessive. You also didn't mention any research or volunteering that may be taking up your time. How will you find time to study when you start your working on your EC's? It may sound silly, but try using google calender if you're not already. It's great just to sit down in the morning and just plan your entire day. I took a class on time management that taught me how to use it and I saw a huge positive jump in my time management from first semester of my freshman year to my second semester. Yes, grades are important, but you only have one college experience. Don't waste it purely on studying or you'll be miserable in college, medical school, residency, and so on and so forth.
         
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        pineapplepancakes

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        5+ Year Member
        May 28, 2012
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          Hey asigna! One thing to keep in mind is that you're in your first semester of college, so it's all new and (I would expect) much different than your high school experience. It's pretty normal to feel stressed out and overworked your first semester or year; you're still getting a hang of it. If I were you, I would just keep trucking along and doing my best. Over time you'll figure things out, develop better study skills, and become more efficient.
           

          Geebeejay

          Full Member
          Jul 18, 2012
          1,663
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          I am from the United States of America
          1. Pre-Medical
            Ok first off this may sound really stupid but....

            I'm a freshman studying bio/pre med. Since I have started in August, it has been really rough. I knew pre med was going to expect a lot of my time and demand a lot of work, but I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed. I am doing pretty good at the moment grade wise, but I am studying sooooooooo much (i know im not the only one). But I mean lately I have just been feeling overwhelmed. If it isn't studying 6-8+ hours per day/doing homework, it's being completely stressed. I keep worrying about not doing good, and have been getting a lot of anxiety. I feel so stressed when my tests are coming up and I am studying hours after hours after hours. I'm not sure if I don't have good time management skills, but it seems like I have no free time..whatsoever.

            I know what I came in for, and I knew what I was getting myself into. There is no other thing I'd want to consider doing besides becoming a doctor. I'm going to keep working hard, no matter what. It's just I keep getting discouraged lately because of all the workload, or how some of the teachers are, or how competitive everyone is (people that I know won't even help me if they're pre med, because they want to get a bigger advantage). Like seriously? Idk, maybe I'm not managing my time well. I want to fit in some time to work out or do something, but then I'm afraid that I won't be doing good or have enough time to study.

            I'm trying my best all the time, and it seems like that isn't even enough sometimes. Idk, it could also be that some of my teachers might be the problem. Like the classes that I am doing good in, it's because the teachers actually care and get involved. I have some teachers that don't care whatsoever..it's a shame.

            I guess what I'm saying is that YES I am complaining, which is stupid, but I just hate being so stressed and overwhelmed. I know I will have to make sacrifices so that is not what worries me. I guess I'm looking for some advice, encouragement, tips/suggestions on perhaps better time management or just adjusting easier. I know pre med is far from easy, but I would like it to not be all "work". I'd like to enjoy some of it.

            I would really appreciate if you guys could give me some feedback! Thanks!

            I did not study nearly 6-8 hrs per day, and I did fine....I think you're doing something wrong. Either that or you're studying for the 100 instead of for the 90, so to speak. That 4.0 might be shiny and nice, but if it's causing you emotional and personal harm, then it's not worth it....put the books down for a while and enjoy yourself
             

            Pandas are love

            Full Member
            Dec 1, 2010
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            0
            1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
              Calm down! Life is not about making everything perfect, and I know exactly how you feel. You seem like a perfectionist, and I am also a perfectionist. But when you put things in perspective, this is the beginning of your life and a beautiful career, so try your best to enjoy it as much as you can. Of course, this doesn't mean slack off, but maybe before you go to bed drink a cup of hot tea, and relax as you watch an episode of your favorite TV show. Or maybe try getting study buddies (real ones! not just those fake pre-med friends that want to see you do badly). Go watch a movie one weekend when your workload isn't as bad. Doctors will deal with people on the daily, so by locking yourself up in the library every waking moment, you are seriously neglecting that one important aspect of your application. I'm just a pre-med too (just one year older than you!) but always think positive. I suggest visiting your academic support office for ways for them to help you manage your time better and improve your studying habits. It will pay off! Trust me. Oh and get involved in medically related clubs/activities! It's nice to have a little study break every once in a while. And this is coming from a student at one of the most GPA-deflating schools in the US, so don't worry some people have it way worse! hahaha
               

              ClemsonFirst

              MD 2017
              Sep 23, 2012
              291
              2
              1. Medical Student
                It's all because of the change from high school to college. There is more information you need to know at a more intense level. The transition from college to medical school is even worse (I have heard and pretty much common knowledge).

                Make sure you are studying effectively while you are studying. This means studying complementary to your learning style. If you are a visual learner (diagrams), then don't spend hours learning pages of text. Try to study effectively, and learn to do this by visiting your schools academic excellence group. Try pacing while you study as the muscle stimulation also stimulates your brain. Read aloud to yourself, this way you are not only speaking the information but also hearing the information (hitting two learning types).

                For undergrad, understand it, then apply it. This does not mean memorize every detail on every page, but it does mean make connections of how the information works together. This helps you compartmentalize the information better so you can remember it more easily. Understanding how the information works together will make classes much easier.

                I know two girls who I see always studying all day every day and when they aren't, they are volunteering, leading clubs, and they seem to have enjoyed their undergrad. They have the 4.0s to show for it while I have a lower GPA than they do, but I sure enjoyed my much more leisurely undergrad route. It is doable, but most people are not up for the stress and discipline for all four years.

                In the end, make sure you are connecting ideas, so you understand how they work together and not just memorizing straight facts. Visit your academic success center for tips and tricks on how to optimize your studying, and give it time. You will become more accustomed to the material especially after the seemingly overwhelming freshman intro, weed out courses. Good luck and hang in there. I assure you it will get better over time.
                 
                Last edited:

                ClemsonFirst

                MD 2017
                Sep 23, 2012
                291
                2
                1. Medical Student
                  Work on studying smarter and studying with others in order to reign in your anxiety. There is plenty of time to work on extracurriculars starting next semester. I would encourage getting ECs that require an hour a week or less requirement as of now, and you can crank your commitment up sophomore year where you will get club, volunteer, and shadowing experience in before you apply your senior year. Just a timeline for now.

                  Make sure you take care of what you need to now for your academics and work on those later. You can always get more EC experience later. You cannot always remedy a low GPA. Well, unless you go DO.
                   

                  coyotelime

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                  Mar 29, 2011
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                    Agreed with above posts regarding studying smart.

                    I personally didn't do well freshman year but realized I spent considerably less time as my courses actually got harder because I paid more attention during class and reviewed after.

                    6-8 hours seems like a lot. How many hours are you in?
                     

                    moco89

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                    Jan 7, 2010
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                    1. Pre-Medical
                      I would not try to restrategize too much since you are a freshman and you are just starting to get the hang of things. It will get easier.

                      This is what I would consider doing differently

                      1. Use a calendar to make a schedule and stick to it

                      2. Work in groups when doing homework problems. Plus it is faster when you don't know how to do certain problems. Everyone helps each other and learns.

                      3. Find people in your major who work hard like you. You can do tasks individually with them (such as independent reading) to keep up morale and motivate you.

                      You are not the only one in this situation. It is normal. Keep up the good work. The people who refuse to study in groups (or as you say, "help" you) will not do well in their upper division courses.

                      Remember that you are about at the final stretch of the semester (the last month) where in a lot of classes you still have 50% of your grade to be determined by midterms and final exams, etc.

                      Give it your all for the last month of the semester and leave nothing at the table. I promise you it will pay off. After that, you will have the winter break with at least a month of playtime and freetime. That should be your motivation.

                      If you are having anxiety, you may want to talk to counseling services at your school. But I was that stressed my first semester of college. On my Calculus I exam, I had nightmares that I failed the exam, when I received ended up a 100 on it. It was a pleasant surprise.

                      Just remember you are not alone and keep doing a great job. It will pay off at the end of the semester. Afterwards you have at least a month to do whatever you want.
                       
                      Last edited:

                      calvnandhobbs68

                      I KNOW NOTHING
                      10+ Year Member
                      May 20, 2010
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                      1. Attending Physician
                        Transition from high school to college blows as a pre-med/science major/engineer (as opposed to most other people on campus who don't aren't taking 2+ science classes with labs every semester for a couple years). I still remember it sucking because I basically slept through my classes in high school, so when I showed up at college I was like "holy **** I actually have to work now".

                        6-8 hours a day does sound like a lot but I think you'll probably figure out what type of studying works best for you by the end of the semester. It takes this semester to transition and figure out exactly how much work you need to put in and where you need to put it in. Try out different stuff...notecards, printed out powerpoints, typed notes, etc. Figure out what fits you. For instance, I've printed out powerpoints two per page since freshman year of college to take notes on and I'm still doing it in medical school. Something will work for you. Also, figure out the tricks for each class. Are there some old tests people are studying from? Do the TAs have reviews that basically lay out half the questions? Are the homework questions totally useless and you should never look at them again after you've done them or does the teacher reuse the exact same concepts from the homework?

                        Anyway that's my pep talk because I'm feeling extra nice today.
                         

                        ValentineLissar

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                        Jun 3, 2010
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                          Hey asigna! One thing to keep in mind is that you're in your first semester of college, so it's all new and (I would expect) much different than your high school experience. It's pretty normal to feel stressed out and overworked your first semester or year; you're still getting a hang of it. If I were you, I would just keep trucking along and doing my best. Over time you'll figure things out, develop better study skills, and become more efficient.
                          +1

                          You have to understand that you're still in a period of adjustment to college. Give yourself time and know that it might be a couple of semesters before you get a handle on your life. I remember studying constantly to keep my grades up in my first two years. After that, I think I began to learn how to manage my time more efficiently and I got smarter about seeing what material was important and what I could skim.

                          Also, think about any habits or chores that you can consolidate so that you can save time.
                           

                          CuttingCorneas

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                            911 Turbo

                            middle schooler aspiring doctor
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                              Don't know if this helps but I am taking 15 credit hours: bio, bio lab, chem, chem lab, calc 1, philosophy, and a freshman seminar class.

                              That actually sounds like a very easy course load. Its only going to get harder.

                              Are you actually interested in what you are studying?
                               

                              TheMightySmiter

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                                That actually sounds like a very easy course load. Its only going to get harder.

                                Are you actually interested in what you are studying?

                                I would not call that "very easy" for a freshman. Not only is it a huge change from high school, but a bio major won't ever have a schedule that's absurdly difficult unless they choose to.

                                OP, here is the best and most efficient way to study: frontload your classes. Read over the material BEFORE you go to lecture, then go to lecture, then spend one or two hours going over the lecture immediately afterwards. Spend a few hours each weekend reviewing it all again, and then review once or twice more right before an exam. You will notice a dramatic increase in retention, and you'll have a lot more free time. Most undergrad classes only have 3-4 hours of lecture per week, so this really isn't terrible. I did this for summer Orgo and do it now as a med student, and we have four hours of lecture every day of the week. It's a really great way to study.
                                 

                                TheShaker

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                                Jan 31, 2012
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                                  Like others have said, you're still starting out and making the transition. I remember being exactly like you, always studying hard as hell to get everything perfect. While I did do well enough, I eventually learned which corners to cut and how much leeway I can give myself. Soon you will be experienced enough to handle a full course load while doing other EC's and your own leisurely stuff. Hang in there, it gets better.
                                   

                                  lovesfall

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                                    Try and figure out what your professors think is most important and use that knowledge to help customize your study plans. It's nice to think that you can absorb entire textbooks and retain the information indefinitely, but frankly, you most likely won't get it all on the first try.

                                    One thing that might help is to look at your exams/quizzes and figure out where you may have studied too much and where you may have not studied enough, and look back at your notes and syllabus to figure out how you could have predicted those areas better. If you can find a way to target the learning objectives that you are going to be tested on and focus less on the material that you are unlikely to encounter, you can free up more time for yourself and reduce your stress levels.

                                    Also, figure out how you're spending your study time. If you're memorizing, learn some techniques (mnemonics or otherwise) to help you get things into memory faster and stay there longer. Try different learning styles. For example, if you find yourself reading things over again and again but not retaining it, try studying the illustrations or watching related content on YouTube or OpenCourseware. Draw concept maps or quiz yourself on definitions or key ideas. Basically, figure out how to engage with the material in a way that helps you really understand it. Chances are good that if you're beating your head against it and it's just not sinking in, that you're trying to study in a way that doesn't fit well with how you learn best.
                                     
                                    Don't know if this helps but I am taking 15 credit hours: bio, bio lab, chem, chem lab, calc 1, philosophy, and a freshman seminar class.

                                    That isn't hard. Something went wrong in your study skills. Try reviewing lecture notes instead of the textbook.

                                    That actually sounds like a very easy course load. Its only going to get harder.

                                    Are you actually interested in what you are studying?

                                    Definitely agree. OP, you need to revise your study plan and make sure you study efficiently. It's actually going to get much worse when you take harder classes. Those classes seem to be what high school students took (like AP/IB/higher level courses). Sure, it's intro and serves as a weed-out, but really, you should find a way to study efficiently.
                                     
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