Just started my sophomore year of undergrad and my GPA is trash. Should I give up?

RichardHurtingOW

2+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2016
15
14
A quick bullet point of my screw-ups including a short sob story:

  • My Freshman and sophomore years are being done online at a community college-I WILL hold off on premed requirements besides BIO 1 + lab until I attend a university in person.
  • Currently have a 2.59 GPA. Mostly due to an F in Intermediate Algebra (currently retaking and feeling confident I will get at least a B) and a D in Art Appreciation -not my finest hour.
  • Apart from the D, F, and a C in Bio 1 I have A's and B's in every other class.

  • I started my first semester in bed recovering from an appendectomy that left an 8 inch scar and would take until mid-October for me to get back to normal. There was a lot of adipose tissue that was removed and the doctor opted to send me home with an open wound that was covered by a wound VAC. I was in SO much pain for the first half of my semester. I was also highly depressed. Even though I had been in the hospital for several days, it took the attending physician almost a week after my appendix exploded to diagnose me correctly even though another doctor there argued for it being appendicitis. I was really shaken up about having come so close to dying.

  • In my 2nd semester I had my implanted defibrillator replaced and spent a week in the hospital due to concerns about a potential infection. Before that I had a 4.0 GPA at midterms, but after that two of my classes dropped to B's and the algebra workload -literally four years of high school algebra I did not take- killed me and I ended up with that awful F.

  • I don't know if this matters, but it might help to explain as well. My father, my only sibling, and both of my surviving grandparents died in a 3 year period while my mother lost her mind and turned to substance abuse. 7th grade was the last grade I completed in a regular classroom setting. At the start of the 9th grade my psychologist advised my guardian to remove me from school entirely since I was a total wreck who could hardly put sentences together. We were too poor to afford homeschooling stuff and my guardian worked too many hours to teach me, so I lost a lot of knowledge to atrophy. I started teaching myself when I was 18 and much healthier. I scored low 30's on the English and Reading portions of the ACT and low 20's on Science and high-teens on Math since I didn't really figure out how to adequately teach myself those subject. I entered college (age 21) without really knowing how to study effectively and it took me a while to form strong studying habits.

There's my awful, almost Dickensian college career and life story. Should I give up? My strongest desire it become a physician and to heal others and my awful experience with my appendix has only strengthened my desire. I just don't know if I could deal with 4 years of work building up to heartbreak. I would also strongly prefer not to have to tell admissions my story if possible. Long bullet-points on an anonymous message board notwithstanding, I am generally a private person who doesn't like informing people of his personal problems.
 
6

676188

No, you don’t have to give up. ~60 hours at 2.59 gpa means that if you have a 4.0 for your next 60 hours, you’ll graduate with a 3.295...fine for DO. If you really want MD, you might need to do a 5th year or a linked SMP, but you’re not there yet.

Going forward: get to a 4-year university for your prerequisites as soon as you can. If you still struggle in math, start every semester with a tutor, start over with the remedial classes, whatever it takes. Get some therapy if you need it for your mental status.

As for not telling adcoms your story, I understand. There are things in my past I didn’t put on my personal statement, but they end up coming up in interviews explaining my poor freshman GPA and my non traditional status. What you tell is up to you, but you have a story of resilience and hardship that has shaped who you are. Good luck!
 

crazymedguy123

2+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2016
162
148
Status
Pre-Medical
Also, just some advice: If you have chronic medical issues that may become an issue in the future during your studies, do whatever you can to medically withdraw from your courses. Believe it or not, having a semester of W's due to poor health is better than letting your GPA tank. Your first year both semesters are good examples of when to medically withdraw
 
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May 11, 2018
158
169
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
First off I'm sorry to hear about all of the trials and tribulations you have experienced thus far in life. I truly believe that a strong work ethic can get you almost anything you want in life. This path in general is not easy for anyone. You are starting out at a deficit, but it isn't anything you cant overcome. Right now I think you need to focus on finding out the best way for you to study and really begin crushing your remaining classes. Once you have proven to yourself that you can handle the rigors of academia, then start delving into the pre-med coursework. I was able to overcome a poor GPA and gain admittance into a MD school this cycle, so if you have any questions or just want to talk, feel free to message me!
 
Sep 12, 2018
49
55
I finished my freshman year with a 2.3 gpa, busted my butt for the next 3.5 years and was able to apply with a 3.7 cGPA and sGPA, and on Monday I got accepted to my top MD school!

Work hard, Keep getting good grades, slay the MCat, and you’ll be alright!
 

Goro

Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
62,255
93,366
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
A quick bullet point of my screw-ups including a short sob story:

  • My Freshman and sophomore years are being done online at a community college-I WILL hold off on premed requirements besides BIO 1 + lab until I attend a university in person.
  • Currently have a 2.59 GPA. Mostly due to an F in Intermediate Algebra (currently retaking and feeling confident I will get at least a B) and a D in Art Appreciation -not my finest hour.
  • Apart from the D, F, and a C in Bio 1 I have A's and B's in every other class.

  • I started my first semester in bed recovering from an appendectomy that left an 8 inch scar and would take until mid-October for me to get back to normal. There was a lot of adipose tissue that was removed and the doctor opted to send me home with an open wound that was covered by a wound VAC. I was in SO much pain for the first half of my semester. I was also highly depressed. Even though I had been in the hospital for several days, it took the attending physician almost a week after my appendix exploded to diagnose me correctly even though another doctor there argued for it being appendicitis. I was really shaken up about having come so close to dying.

  • In my 2nd semester I had my implanted defibrillator replaced and spent a week in the hospital due to concerns about a potential infection. Before that I had a 4.0 GPA at midterms, but after that two of my classes dropped to B's and the algebra workload -literally four years of high school algebra I did not take- killed me and I ended up with that awful F.

  • I don't know if this matters, but it might help to explain as well. My father, my only sibling, and both of my surviving grandparents died in a 3 year period while my mother lost her mind and turned to substance abuse. 7th grade was the last grade I completed in a regular classroom setting. At the start of the 9th grade my psychologist advised my guardian to remove me from school entirely since I was a total wreck who could hardly put sentences together. We were too poor to afford homeschooling stuff and my guardian worked too many hours to teach me, so I lost a lot of knowledge to atrophy. I started teaching myself when I was 18 and much healthier. I scored low 30's on the English and Reading portions of the ACT and low 20's on Science and high-teens on Math since I didn't really figure out how to adequately teach myself those subject. I entered college (age 21) without really knowing how to study effectively and it took me a while to form strong studying habits.

There's my awful, almost Dickensian college career and life story. Should I give up? My strongest desire it become a physician and to heal others and my awful experience with my appendix has only strengthened my desire. I just don't know if I could deal with 4 years of work building up to heartbreak. I would also strongly prefer not to have to tell admissions my story if possible. Long bullet-points on an anonymous message board notwithstanding, I am generally a private person who doesn't like informing people of his personal problems.
Read this
Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention:
 

RichardHurtingOW

2+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2016
15
14
I finished my freshman year with a 2.3 gpa, busted my butt for the next 3.5 years and was able to apply with a 3.7 cGPA and sGPA, and on Monday I got accepted to my top MD school!

Work hard, Keep getting good grades, slay the MCat, and you’ll be alright!
That is inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

Also, just some advice: If you have chronic medical issues that may become an issue in the future during your studies, do whatever you can to medically withdraw from your courses. Believe it or not, having a semester of W's due to poor health is better than letting your GPA tank. Your first year both semesters are good examples of when to medically withdraw
My heart condition only has me in the hospital every 5-10 years when I need to have my battery replaced. You're probably right about taking the W, though. It did occur to me at the time but I thought it'd be like surrendering. I wish I would have taken the W!

No, you don’t have to give up. ~60 hours at 2.59 gpa means that if you have a 4.0 for your next 60 hours, you’ll graduate with a 3.295...fine for DO. If you really want MD, you might need to do a 5th year or a linked SMP, but you’re not there yet.

Going forward: get to a 4-year university for your prerequisites as soon as you can. If you still struggle in math, start every semester with a tutor, start over with the remedial classes, whatever it takes. Get some therapy if you need it for your mental status.

As for not telling adcoms your story, I understand. There are things in my past I didn’t put on my personal statement, but they end up coming up in interviews explaining my poor freshman GPA and my non traditional status. What you tell is up to you, but you have a story of resilience and hardship that has shaped who you are. Good luck!


First off I'm sorry to hear about all of the trials and tribulations you have experienced thus far in life. I truly believe that a strong work ethic can get you almost anything you want in life. This path in general is not easy for anyone. You are starting out at a deficit, but it isn't anything you cant overcome. Right now I think you need to focus on finding out the best way for you to study and really begin crushing your remaining classes. Once you have proven to yourself that you can handle the rigors of academia, then start delving into the pre-med coursework. I was able to overcome a poor GPA and gain admittance into a MD school this cycle, so if you have any questions or just want to talk, feel free to message me!
Thank's for the advice!
 
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