What are my chances after a terrible semester?

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5+ Year Member
Dec 25, 2016
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Hey all,

I am a second year BSc student majoring in neurosciences at a Canadian university. I decided I wanted to go to medical school last spring after doing decently in my first year without working very hard (~3.6 GPA).

The summer prior to my most recent semester (literally a week before classes started), however, I suffered a traumatic event that left me completely lost and spiraling into a state of terrible mental health. I was/am depressed and currently suffering what I would describe as severe anxiety attacks triggered by things as simple as being exposed to large crowds. I could barely focus in class and spent the majority of my time in lectures trying to prevent anxiety attacks and then trying to teach myself the material later, and often could not even make it between lectures without experiencing an anxiety attack of some kind. This trend of near-constant anxiety continued throughout the entire semester and sent me spiraling in deep depression, and despite seeking counselling and group therapy (which seemed to be helping), my grades suffered.

I recently received my grades back. An A-, a C+ (for a year long course, so I can still save that grade if I work really hard), and two Fs. The fails were close to the passing range (49% and 48% in Calc and OChem), but I am extremely discouraged. I had an anxiety attack during the OChem final, but thought that I had recovered enough to do well on the exam, which I studied really hard for. Evidently not.

I have an appointment to see a psychiatrist at the beginning of the spring semester, and will hopefully be able to sort out a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan so I can recover from (or at least manage) the anxiety and depression. I have also rearranged my schedule for the coming semester so that I am taking some of the "easier" courses while I figure things out and get myself together. I will also be continuing with counselling and group therapy. I will obviously be retaking the two courses I failed and believe I can do well in them.

My concern is that my terrible academic performance this semester will ruin my chances of being accepted into any medical school at all, let alone my top choices. I have good ECs, a ton of volunteering, and am planning on getting involved with more clinical volunteering and work in research. I strongly believe that with enough hard work and learning to manage the mental health struggles regarding what happened to me, I can bring my GPA back up in the 2ish years left of my undergraduate degree, but I am terrified that this semester will reflect poorly upon my application and I will be rejected because of it. I have never wanted anything more than this, and I am terrified that the combination of my mental health issues and my own mistakes regarding the management of those issues has ruined everything.

Will retaking the courses, providing a strong upward trend from here on out, and acing the MCAT be enough to get into medical school?

Does anyone here with a similar experience have any advice in terms of getting my life back together? Any advice at all would be appreciated.

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I don't have anything remotely similar but please take a big breath. I'm sure you are shocked at your grades but your focus has to be on yourself at this point. I wouldn't retake the F courses yet. If you are going to enroll next semester take some gen ed courses. The retakes can wait. It seems like you are pretty fragile and really don't need more stress right now. Get yourself well or things will most likely continue to collapse around you. Get the help you need and see how you are in a few months. @Goro always says that med school is a pressure cooker and can destroy the strongest person. You have to be well to deal with that pressure. Don't worry about med school right now. Worry about you! Good luck!

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