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Hey,

 

I am truly sorry that things didn't work out for you and I can only imagine how hard it must have been, but it seems like you are taking the right steps at getting yourself back on track. Take the 8 months, recover, listen to the doctor, and truly reflect to see how you can improve when you start school again. Have you tried using office hours? Study groups? Do you understand the material rather than having just memorized it? Practice tests? University is a whole different ballgame, but I feel that from your previous grades and how you handled this situation/took initiative that you can absolutely do well in university the next time around. I've graduated, but if you want you can message me and perhaps I could help.

 

Also on a side note, 4chan is a dangerous place to be imo and I would probably take any advice you get from it with a grain of salt, especially from areas like soc, r9k, adv, and such. Some of the stuff may be interesting and funny (sometimes its 10/10 hilarious) and provide new perspectives, but I find that it can be overtly misogynistic/alt-right/racist/sexist...just not a good place to be as it can be really, really depressing/shift your worldview to a negative light. Just from what I think, stick to reality and (sometimes) premed forums for serious advice. 

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Exactly how bad were your marks in first year? This matters. If you were getting 70% in first year, and 70 now, then this might just be your new baseline. If you were getting 60 before and 70 now, then that's actually an improvement. Also consider the possibility that your exemplary high school grades may be partly due to inflation and not necessarily representative of your real ability.

 

I'm not minimizing your problem, I just think it needs to be clarified a bit further.

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Exactly how bad were your marks in first year? This matters. If you were getting 70% in first year, and 70 now, then this might just be your new baseline. If you were getting 60 before and 70 now, then that's actually an improvement. Also consider the possibility that your exemplary high school grades may be partly due to inflation and not necessarily representative of your real ability.

 

I'm not minimizing your problem, I just think it needs to be clarified a bit further.

I've been doing more or less the same since first year, the highest mark I got this semester on a midterm was a 76% and then other midterm marks were 50% and 59%. It's hardly improved. I guess there is the possibility of inflation, and I would understand a 10-20% drop in grades, but we're talking a 30-40% drop here which is not normal. Also the people from my highschool are doing fine so it's just me 

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I've been doing more or less the same since first year, the highest mark I got this semester on a midterm was a 76% and then other midterm marks were 50% and 59%. It's hardly improved. I guess there is the possibility of inflation, and I would understand a 10-20% drop in grades, but we're talking a 30-40% drop here which is not normal. Also the people from my highschool are doing fine so it's just me 

 

When you reviewed your midterms, what was the nature of the mistakes you made? Was it material you studied, but just couldn't remember? Did you focus on what your prof deemed important?

 

Bottom line: If these were open book tests, would you have done well?

 

If the answer is yes, then it's an issue of dedicated effort.

If the answer is no, then it's about the depth of your understanding of the material itself. 

 

This is how you dissect what's going on. Study groups, strategies etc are all secondary until you figure this out first.

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When you reviewed your midterms, what was the nature of the mistakes you made? Was it material you studied, but just couldn't remember? Did you focus on what your prof deemed important?

 

Bottom line: If these were open book tests, would you have done well?

 

If the answer is yes, then it's an issue of dedicated effort.

If the answer is no, then it's about the depth of your understanding of the material itself. 

 

This is how you dissect what's going on. Study groups, strategies etc are all secondary until you figure this out first.

The way I studied for anatomy, epi, and psych was to make handwritten notes where I basically transcribed powerpoints/podcasts and if I had time I would go through and make notes from the textbook, which was going through the book and trying to summarize the readings/copying out what key points

is this is a bad way to approach studying?

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The way I studied for anatomy, epi, and psych was to make handwritten notes where I basically transcribed powerpoints/podcasts and if I had time I would go through and make notes from the textbook, which was going through the book and trying to summarize the readings/copying out what key points

is this is a bad way to approach studying?

I think it's also good to always try to keep in mind the "big picture". Like what is the instructor trying to get at? What is the point of this slide? How does this impact these other concepts that I'm trying to learn? What does this really mean?

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I think it's also good to always try to keep in mind the "big picture". Like what is the instructor trying to get at? What is the point of this slide? How does this impact these other concepts that I'm trying to learn? What does this really mean?

Yeah you're right, I feel like I did that but my grades aren't reflecting it. I can say with complete honesty that my grades seem to be disconnected with the amount of work I am putting in, so I'm at a loss of what do now. I need to change my approach but I'm not sure and i thought I would have known how to study by now

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Hey! 

 

I just thought I'd toss in my opinion and maybe help out. It can be stressful, especially when you're clearly a stellar student and things aren't working out as well as you're expecting in university. Firstly, let me start of by saying that it's completely normal to not get good grades first year. Most people have struggled in the transition from high school to university. University truly requires a whole different approach to studying.  

 

I'm in my third year of university and I still change my approach to studying and study methods! So if one way doesn't work out, give another method a try. Does hand-writing your slide notes really work for you? I used to take hand-written notes, but I've found that a lot of my biology courses, like immunology for example, are all mostly figures. Having to take hand-written notes for 5 demanding science courses is really time consuming. And even though I thought it helped me study, turns out, I actually learned the material when I talked to myself about it after transcribing the notes. So what I started doing this semester is typing up my notes and spending more time talking about the material as if I was teaching someone with absolutely no biological background. How I organize my word document is make two columns. The left side is figures and the right side is the lecture content, explanations, my interpretations, any questions I may have etc. This really helped me organize the material efficiently and quickly. Also I don't invest too much time reading through the textbook and making textbook notes separately (unless the prof says the textbook is fair game and testable). It's incredibly time consuming making both lecture notes and reading notes. So instead try mixing them together. As you go through the slides, if there is anything that doesn't make sense or you want to clarify, skim that section from the textbook. 

 

While I talk through the material, I make sure to connect the concepts. For example the prof may briefly mention something and how it works without going into too much detail. But as the course progresses and thing start to make sense I re-vist that topic and now try to make sense of it again with the new, more in-depth material! 

 

Of course this method may not work for you, but I suggest you try it out. Most pre-meds are too busy drowning in the stress of getting into med school to enjoy the material for it's beauty. Don't learn to get that A, learn because you find the material enjoyable and those A's are gonna start pouring in.   

 

If you really think taking a break is the best thing for you, go for it. It will be harder however, in my opinion to re-adjust to university. But do what feels right to you! 

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Difficult to really give you any advice without knowing you in real life, but as a general rule of thumb anytime you're looking to boost your mental health it doesn't hurt to exercise regularly, eat well, meditate, sleep well and socialize regularly.

 

You wrote quite a bit above but it seems like there may be more to it or something you may be overlooking.

 

Just curious if you have experienced any difficulty with finishing sentences when speaking (ex. can't seem to find the word you're looking for), feel like your brain is working kind of sluggishly or if you have any brain fog?

 

Wishing you all the best as you get back on track. 

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Just curious if you have experienced any difficulty with finishing sentences when speaking (ex. can't seem to find the word you're looking for), feel like your brain is working kind of sluggishly or if you have any brain fog?

 

Yeah I experienced all of those and also I've experienced obsessive thoughts about my ability to socialize or my past relationships from first year

In general I guess I had a lot of emotional lows looking back on it

But from what i've said and the type of marks I've gotten would you suggest going back next semester or waiting until fall 2017?

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Hey! 

 

I just thought I'd toss in my opinion and maybe help out. It can be stressful, especially when you're clearly a stellar student and things aren't working out as well as you're expecting in university. Firstly, let me start of by saying that it's completely normal to not get good grades first year. Most people have struggled in the transition from high school to university. University truly requires a whole different approach to studying.  

 

I'm in my third year of university and I still change my approach to studying and study methods! So if one way doesn't work out, give another method a try. Does hand-writing your slide notes really work for you? I used to take hand-written notes, but I've found that a lot of my biology courses, like immunology for example, are all mostly figures. Having to take hand-written notes for 5 demanding science courses is really time consuming. And even though I thought it helped me study, turns out, I actually learned the material when I talked to myself about it after transcribing the notes. So what I started doing this semester is typing up my notes and spending more time talking about the material as if I was teaching someone with absolutely no biological background. How I organize my word document is make two columns. The left side is figures and the right side is the lecture content, explanations, my interpretations, any questions I may have etc. This really helped me organize the material efficiently and quickly. Also I don't invest too much time reading through the textbook and making textbook notes separately (unless the prof says the textbook is fair game and testable). It's incredibly time consuming making both lecture notes and reading notes. So instead try mixing them together. As you go through the slides, if there is anything that doesn't make sense or you want to clarify, skim that section from the textbook. 

 

While I talk through the material, I make sure to connect the concepts. For example the prof may briefly mention something and how it works without going into too much detail. But as the course progresses and thing start to make sense I re-vist that topic and now try to make sense of it again with the new, more in-depth material! 

 

Of course this method may not work for you, but I suggest you try it out. Most pre-meds are too busy drowning in the stress of getting into med school to enjoy the material for it's beauty. Don't learn to get that A, learn because you find the material enjoyable and those A's are gonna start pouring in.   

 

If you really think taking a break is the best thing for you, go for it. It will be harder however, in my opinion to re-adjust to university. But do what feels right to you! 

yeah I might try this I noticed when I would write midterms this year, I felt like it would have been helpful to study in a way that would let me review/interact/practice with the material more but I thought by handwriting it I would learn it more solidly the first time around, which is what happened in high school, so the need to go over it many many times would not be necessary but I guess that isn't working

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Yeah I experienced all of those and also I've experienced obsessive thoughts about my ability to socialize or my past relationships from first year

In general I guess I had a lot of emotional lows looking back on it

But from what i've said and the type of marks I've gotten would you suggest going back next semester or waiting until fall 2017?

 

Sounds like you need to take some time to get your headspace right.

 

Essentially, considering the headspace you're potentially currently in, it is quite plausible that your brain just isn't in a state that is amenable to learning and succeeding academically at this moment and is likely contributing to why you haven't seen much in terms of results with what you described as extended periods of studying.

 

From the limited information so far, it sounds like you'd be better off taking more time off from school for now and instead focus on investing in yourself, as if you continue to try harder from the headspace you may currently be in, you may simply continue to experience increased frustration with potentially only marginally improved grades if at all.

 

If I were in your position, I'd do the following:

 

-meditate daily (doesn't have to be a planned thing, once you learn how to get into a meditative state you can do it anytime, anywhere throughout your day)

 

-ensure you are getting great sleep quality and quantity (if you're not falling asleep quickly, staying asleep throughout the night and waking up feeling refreshed then you need to improve your sleep hygiene)

 

-socialize regularly with good friends, don't just stay inside on your own for extended periods of time when not necessary

 

-exercise regularly--lift weights 3 times a week focusing on just 3-4 full body movements and do some moderate intensity cardio to warm up on those days and consider additional cardio workouts or any other activities that you enjoy

 

-take a look at your nutrition--bump up the variety of fresh and frozen vegetables that you eat, get adequate lean protein and eat sufficient fat (you might consider trying a low-carb "paleo" style of nutrition to see if it helps alleviate energy crashes for you during the day as well as the brain fog)

 

-take this time off from school to not only invest in yourself as outlined above, but to also go beyond yourself and be an active member in your community--go volunteer within one or more organizations that have initiatives you are passionate about or at least interested in and this is a great way to help get your mind off of some things, focus on making a positive contribution and it allows you to still work towards your eventual goals (although this should not be your focus at this time, your focus should be on taking care of yourself).

 

Considering the obsessive thoughts about your ability to socialize, past relationships and the emotional lows you described, it would not surprise me if you have a considerable amount of negative self-talk occurring in your mind on a daily basis. I'd encourage you to do your best to not judge yourself--if you examine the kinds of thoughts you're having they're likely rather self-critical and probably exaggerated.

 

If you work on letting go of this habit of judging yourself/self-criticism and pair it with the meditation especially, as well as all of the above things I mentioned, that should help you improve your mental clarity and you should find that you experience less mental fatigue as all of that self-judgment likely wears on you quite a bit as it would to anyone.

 

Seeking professional assistance would likely benefit you as well--in particular a counsellor who you can talk through things with, share progress with and also discuss studying strategies if applicable, later on down the line. You may also consider pharmaceutical options as you previously mentioned.

 

Do not underestimate any component of the above suggestions. The more you incorporate, the better off you will likely be.

 

I am certainly not an expert, but I hope that helps.

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yeah I might try this I noticed when I would write midterms this year, I felt like it would have been helpful to study in a way that would let me review/interact/practice with the material more but I thought by handwriting it I would learn it more solidly the first time around, which is what happened in high school, so the need to go over it many many times would not be necessary but I guess that isn't working

 

 

And I felt that way too. I thought if I didn't write it down, not matter how many times I talked over it, it just wouldn't set it. But turns out I was totally wrong. As you're typing it, obviously try and understand the material. That way you're not just absentmindedly copy pasting the notes. 

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Sorry you're going through a difficult period of time and struggling with your academics. First, I think the university has offered you an amazing opportunity to wipe part of the slate clean and come back for a fresh start. I would definitely take them up on the offer and at this point I think it would be difficult to develop a healthy routine and stabilize the issues that you're dealing with in just a month or two. I think it would be beneficial to take the time to work on the issues you have with some professional guidance.

 

As per the academics. There are good resources at universities in the academic learning centres that allow students to get guidance on how they're studying and why they might not be as successful as they expect through undergrad education. I would strongly suggest checking out these resources. If your exams are written and not multiple choice, I would also have a chat with your TAs to see what might be going on and what they suggest for moving forward. You may be missing very key points when you're absorbing information.

If you're studying the hours you state, then I would suggest that you're either missing the key elements in the material or there is a memory issue underlying the performance (or some combination of the two). I think sorting out this point would be important before moving forward. 

Best of luck!

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On a K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) basis, you need to remove yourself entirely from academics, gain some life experience and let maturity work. In other words, do whatever you would enjoy, retail sales, customer service, grocery bagging and volunteer in areas of interest (e.g., with the elderly, the blind, the disabled, Big Brother). I would consider taking off a year or two and then revisiting academics, after you received counselling that shall have helped to pinpoint the issues you need to address. And BTW, we are not all necessarily cut out to be physicians, there are so many other fields, including within healthcare, so be flexible in your approach toward life. Mental fitness and health is your top priority. And it seems you may want to stay away from getting involved with another relationship for awhile. Good luck.

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On a K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) basis, you need to remove yourself entirely from academics, gain some life experience and let maturity work. In other words, do whatever you would enjoy, retail sales, customer service, grocery bagging and volunteer in areas of interest (e.g., with the elderly, the blind, the disabled, Big Brother). I would consider taking off a year or two and then revisiting academics, after you received counselling that shall have helped to pinpoint the issues you need to address. And BTW, we are not all necessarily cut out to be physicians, there are so many other fields, including within healthcare, so be flexible in your approach toward life. Mental fitness and health is your top priority. And it seems you may want to stay away from getting involved with another relationship for awhile. Good luck.

So are you saying I should consider giving up on medical school? The only thing I could see myself wanting to do after that is grad school but I'm not doing good enough for that either. I guess it's just weird because I actually really like school and have for a long time, so not doing well in it is confusing 

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We can only really guess at what's happening to be honest. A formal assessment would be useful.

 

In short the following alone or in combination can cause the challenges you're experiencing:

 

Depression

ADHD and other attention disorders

Anxiety

Poor study strategies

Sleep disturbances

Lack of capacity

Etc

 

So really. What you need to do, is gather information about yourself. Be honest and reflective. Consider the results of formal assessments. And then choose a path to the outcome that is meaningful to you, and reflective of your personal challenges. I doubt that you CANT do it, but rather you haven't found out HOW yet.

 

Taking a short period of time off of school to work on yourself, get some cash etc might be a good way to get some needed perspective. Consider doing some independent learning in that time. Teach yourself anatomy, and practice different study strategies and test them out on downloaded tests etc. Buy some mcat books and self study and see how you do. See if there are patterns in your behavior affecting your outcome. Try the medications you were perscribed. Get another assessment to see if you have an undiagnosed learning disability.

 

All in all good luck! I really struggled out of the gate (high school), but I'm a 4.0 student now. Remember. YOU were chosen to be in that spot, in a competitive program. You deserve to be there. Don't forget that.

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Hi threeescore,

 

Sorry to hear that you've been struggling. You've clearly had some difficulties recently.

 

I'm a past BHSc graduate and currently in med school. I can understand the pressures of getting into med school especially in a program where a lot of people are very focused on getting in. 

 

Stacey and the other BHSc office staff are great, so it's good that you sought them out when you needed to.

 

If you want someone to talk to feel free to private message me here or to talk on Facebook.

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