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Andre

Low GPA to Med School Log

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Hello! I'm a new member here I figured I'll just write out my progression/journey so I can get some help and stay accountable. 

Year 1 of Undergrad (2015-2016,2017): I applied to U of T 4 years ago with the intention of becoming a doctor. My first year of undergrad went pretty horrible. I finished the first semester with a 2.18 sessional GPA, during the second semester I had a pretty bad mental breakdown and severe depression. I wasn't failing any courses I was probably in the 60s range, but for some reason I was just so done with life and one day I dropped all my courses. It took a few months to recover mentally. I ended up doing 2 summer courses and getting my first 4.0. After going back to school in September I felt my depression creeping in and was struggling, I had rather odd marks. Some classes I got 90s, others 50s or 60s. At the end of the year my gpa went up to 2.6

Year 2 of Undergrad (2017-2018): Entered second year feeling lost, after going through my mental struggles in first year I convinced myself I probably wasn't smart enough for med school. I decided to do a double major in neuroscience and psychology. I guess through experiencing depression and trauma I've developed a new interest in understanding the mind. I was considering the thought of going to grad school, which sorta motivated me, but I still had a lingering feeling of resentment within myself for messing up my shot at med school, or at least thats what it seemed like at the time. I genuinely felt like I couldn't do it, and gave up trying to pursue med school, even though that's what I wanted the most. Finished this year off with mid 70s, moving my gpa up to a 2.8. 

Year 3 of Undergrad (2018-2019):

I ended up trying to look for research assistant positions in the summer, my gpa was too low to get into any psychology labs or neuro labs, and my unimpressive resume at the time did not help either. Couldn't manage to get a part time job too and felt utterly useless. I managed to get two friends last year who were in labs. They put in a good word and I got interviews for some positions. I ended up being accepted to do data entry at a clinical nutrition lab at a hospital. I did that during the fall semester on top of school, ended up getting mainly 80s and some high 70s for marks. This boosted my cgpa to a 2.92 (3.52 sessional GPA). In the winter semester, I started to feel depressed again, I learned that I wasn't that interested in research after all. I felt lost again during this time, I was holding onto the idea of grad school to keep me motivated as I realized that many schools only looked at the last two years so I still had a shot to get in. Since I decided that grad school isnt something id be interested in, I lost a lot of motivation for my studies. I still had the idea that I'm not smart enough for med school too. Ultimately I was not in a good mental state, I ended up dropping 2 courses the day before the midterm. My cgpa dropped to 2.89. 

Been doing a lot of reflecting and I think I removed myself from my opportunity to get into med school before it even started because i've slowly lost belief in myself over the years. I didn't think it was possible for me and other paths i've tried to pursue don't interest me.  I've had constant thoughts about trying for med school surface in my mind over the years and I simply dismissed them because I didn't believe in myself.  

On my death bed I know my biggest regret in life would be giving up too soon on my dream to become a doctor. 

I am going to try my best to at least have a fighting chance.  I made this post as a log to document my slow progression into med school. I don't know how many years it is going to take and I'm still working on a plan but I am going to try. Im 21 and i'm sick of living my life in quite desperation. 

I plan to do well in 4th year and 5th year or even take a 6th. Hopefully getting a 4.0. And try MCAT around 2022? I haven't worked out the details quite yet any advice is immensely appreciated. I'm new here and just trying to find my way. 

 

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Congrats on persevering! It sounds like you will indeed need very strong 4th and 5th year to stand a chance at schools that only look at your last 2 years (Western and Queen's), or you can also do a second undergrad (for McGill, for example). My take-away from your post though, is that it would be crucial to develop some self-care strategies, and make sure you take care of your mental health before even starting to apply. It may be worth taking a break from school to focus on developing resiliency and good coping strategies for when stress hits. Focus on something you like to do (like sports, arts, theatre, anything). Bonus, these activities can count as ECs, though I am not suggesting you do something to buffer your resume, but rather to figure out what you enjoy. It may be worth taking that time so you get into med school as resilient and self-aware as you can be. It won't be too late. Best of luck!

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10 minutes ago, medschool40&cool said:

Congrats on persevering! It sounds like you will indeed need very strong 4th and 5th year to stand a chance at schools that only look at your last 2 years (Western and Queen's), or you can also do a second undergrad (for McGill, for example). My take-away from your post though, is that it would be crucial to develop some self-care strategies, and make sure you take care of your mental health before even starting to apply. It may be worth taking a break from school to focus on developing resiliency and good coping strategies for when stress hits. Focus on something you like to do (like sports, arts, theatre, anything). Bonus, these activities can count as ECs, though I am not suggesting you do something to buffer your resume, but rather to figure out what you enjoy. It may be worth taking that time so you get into med school as resilient and self-aware as you can be. It won't be too late. Best of luck!

Thank you for the advice! I'm definitely going to be working on developing resilience, better coping skills, better time management and study skills. These are probably the main root issues I need to work on before my GPA can improve.

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It sounds like you've had a really difficult time coping with the mental health issues. Depression is insanely tough and kudos to you for managing to do as well as you have. There's no doubt you have the motivation and intelligence to accomplish your goals, but I think the biggest hurdle for your right now is your recurrent depression. Your (mental) health seems to be the deciding factor in your long-term success, not the academics (we've seen that you can get 90s when you're in a good place). So please definitely try to look into getting help for the depression so that it doesn't continue to bog you down.

Your journey reminded me of this cool motivational video from Tyson Fury. Back story: he became the heavyweight champ in 2015, but soon after fell into a cycle of depression, went through substance abuse, become super out of shape. He lost his boxing licence. But ended up making a comeback in 2018 and working his way up to the championship fight that ended as a draw. Really inspiriting stuff. Here's the video :)
 

 

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Hey,

You are surviving and you are strong. Depression, and other mental illnesses in general, are such annoying things. They waste your time and make you sad for no reason. I used to have depression during my school years and first year of uni (and occasionally still have episodes) , and realize that you can get better. I try to keep myself very busy, with lots of volunteering. If you volunteer a lot, it will help make you feel better because you will realize that you are helping others. Slowly, you can be a leader in these positions too, if you like the activity enough and are motivated. And guess what, you will also have impactful ECs for med school. Also, volunteering at hospitals, might get you motivated again for med school. There are still masters and PhDs, and lots of people apply to med school with a masters degree (especially to schools like U of T). My advice is to keep busy with volunteering, activities, sports, hobbies, and just being a good person. You can try studying with friends, or in a location where there are people around. I found out I would get depressive episodes when I study alone in my room. My first year GPA was also very bad, with my marks being mostly in the 60s and 70s. I am hoping to bring that up next year, but if med school is your dream, please do not give up. Find study habits that work for you. There are so many ways you can still get in, just continue to move forward and better yourself. And forget about research, a lot of schools do not care about that, especially if you are not interested. Find other activities and hobbies to do to build yourself up, keep busy, and to also help yourself become the best leader and best person you can be.

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On 8/26/2019 at 8:15 PM, afnanjuma said:

Hey,

You are surviving and you are strong. Depression, and other mental illnesses in general, are such annoying things. They waste your time and make you sad for no reason. I used to have depression during my school years and first year of uni (and occasionally still have episodes) , and realize that you can get better. I try to keep myself very busy, with lots of volunteering. If you volunteer a lot, it will help make you feel better because you will realize that you are helping others. Slowly, you can be a leader in these positions too, if you like the activity enough and are motivated. And guess what, you will also have impactful ECs for med school. Also, volunteering at hospitals, might get you motivated again for med school. There are still masters and PhDs, and lots of people apply to med school with a masters degree (especially to schools like U of T). My advice is to keep busy with volunteering, activities, sports, hobbies, and just being a good person. You can try studying with friends, or in a location where there are people around. I found out I would get depressive episodes when I study alone in my room. My first year GPA was also very bad, with my marks being mostly in the 60s and 70s. I am hoping to bring that up next year, but if med school is your dream, please do not give up. Find study habits that work for you. There are so many ways you can still get in, just continue to move forward and better yourself. And forget about research, a lot of schools do not care about that, especially if you are not interested. Find other activities and hobbies to do to build yourself up, keep busy, and to also help yourself become the best leader and best person you can be.

Thanks for your reply! The more I think about it, the more I realize that there is nothing else I'd rather do. I will get in someday, regardless of how long it takes. Also been working on developing strategies to prevent depressive episodes for this next semester. 

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Let me just say that getting in does not cure everything. New problems can and may arise, and can really mess your shit up, the glow of being in does not last long. So yes, having strategies to deal with and prevent temporary episodes, as well gaining a strong sense of self will go a long way. 

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Thanks for sharing your story!

I went through something similar when I was in the early years of my undergrad around 2011. It takes a lot of perseverance and self-motivation to work your way toward being a successful med school applicant. I am still currently in the applying and re-applying process as a grad student, but I think it's important to pause every now and then and be proud of all the steps you've taken along your journey and reflect on your self-growth. I believe you'll get there with hard work, best of luck :)

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Hi !

As I read this post I thought also about my story, when I completely lost hope and motivation because I had a lot of anxiety. I had chosen to study in McGill because I wanted to push myself and accomplish a lot but instead, I just completely freaked out after one year of constant performance anxiety etc. So I struggled to have average grades and then I just completely got overwhelmed with feelings of not being good enough and could not make it. 

At that time, since I was completely new to the North American university system, I didn’t know about the CRU and so I just continued to try new courses in hope that I would find the strength to finish my bachelor, but instead my GPA just went down and down. It was an awful experience.

It’s been 10 years now and since then I registered in another university to complete a bachelor and my grades are very good now so all is better. 

The problem is that, my CRU is still awfully low even after completing a bachelor with around 4,0/4,3 because of that bad experience.

I am really desperate to be accepted in a program with a limited number of places. Would you have some recommandation or advises about what would be the best way to improve my grades ? 

Also, I don’t understand how there can’t be a way for people who can prove that they are able to get good grades, to be taken seriously. Why is it that your bad grades from so many years back, can still make it impossible for you to study someth you want to study. Is there a way to erase bad grades somehow or does it really follow you til the rest of your life ? :\

thank you so much for your help and advice !

 

 

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Hey all, been a while.

Final marks came in, got a sGPA of 3.7 for the fall semester. It's an improvement from my previous semesters but not enough. This probably means that I may need to do another year to be competitive. Now, the question is whether I should delay my graduation and stay for another 2 years (if thats even possible) for a 5th and 6th year or graduate and do a second undergrad. Currently only need 1 more class to graduate. I'll make a post on my decision on that soon. Any opinions are appreciated too.

 

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3 hours ago, Andre said:

Hey all, been a while.

Final marks came in, got a sGPA of 3.7 for the fall semester. It's an improvement from my previous semesters but not enough. This probably means that I may need to do another year to be competitive. Now, the question is whether I should delay my graduation and stay for another 2 years (if thats even possible) for a 5th and 6th year or graduate and do a second undergrad. Currently only need 1 more class to graduate. I'll make a post on my decision on that soon. Any opinions are appreciated too.

 

Have you thought of applying to US or overseas school or another career path in the medical field (ie PA). It’s not that you can’t become a doctor it just seems it will take you a very long time to even get a reasonable application submitted with ko guarantees. A backup plan at least wouldn’t be the worst thing. Getting into med school isn’t the be all and end all of life 

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2 hours ago, Raptors905 said:

Have you thought of applying to US or overseas school or another career path in the medical field (ie PA). It’s not that you can’t become a doctor it just seems it will take you a very long time to even get a reasonable application submitted with ko guarantees. A backup plan at least wouldn’t be the worst thing. Getting into med school isn’t the be all and end all of life 

I'll consider US schools, although I've mainly been focusing on queens or western. I don't really mind how long it takes. I'm 22 at the moment. Hopefully I can get in around 25-27, once I get my GPA sorted out. Also aiming to do the MCAT in August. 

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