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Raising my GPA: 2 years at a UC with 3 semesters under a 3.0

ElliottJonesElliottJones Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
edited October 2013 in California Colleges
Hi there,

I need advice on how to rid myself of anxiety over school and on how to maintain a 3.5+ in a science major. I would greatly appreciate any advice! Please be as thorough as you'd like!

I've never been the best student. I went to UC Merced after high school because my GPA was low and I didn't want to have to fight for classes at CC. In high school I would fail classes and not go to school, but when I started college I got a 3.9 my first semester. That was before I started taking math and chem classes. For semesters #2, #3, and #4 I got GPAs of 2.9, 2.6, and 2.8 respectively. It's totally my fault because I wouldn't do the homework and I would just cram for tests, earning me two C+'s and two C's on my transcript. Although for all of my labs (including labs for chem) and bio classes, I'd be at or near the top of the lab/class grade-wise. Now that I like school more and because I'm worried about job prospects and grad school, I am extremely concerned about my GPA. It's a 3.0-3.1. I got into UC Santa Cruz and I'm moving in on the 16th (a tad earlier because of the WEST program).

I'm SO SO anxious about my grades. How do I rid myself of this anxiety? I'm taking intro physics and a genetics class and a play writing class. How do I get good grades? Like seriously, I need As this quarter. I'm a neuroscience major and I desperately want a good GPA for when I graduate. I'm NOT good at chem at all, so I'm considering declaring as ecology and evolution because seeing all the classes I'd get to take excites me more than it scares me, and because it's not as chem intensive.

I don't have a precise career goal, but I strongly believe that having a high GPA will make things a little easier on me if I decide to pursue medicine or grad school.

I bought my physics textbook early and have covered half of the material on my first midterm (I found an old syllabus online). I'm just incredibly nervous :( To the point where I feel sick. Please, please help.

All of my love,

Post edited by ElliottJones on

Replies to: Raising my GPA: 2 years at a UC with 3 semesters under a 3.0

  • CalDudCalDud Registered User Posts: 1,753 Senior Member
    1. Don't cram. Study every day and do it consistently. Find a way to make it work so you aren't rushing yourself come exam time to learn everything. While this works for some people, it does not work for the vast majority of science students.
    2. I think you should reconsider your major if you're scared of getting less than an A. If you had any idea about med school your chances are blown already. If you had any idea about attending a top university I would forget that also. Maybe if you had something to compensate such as research for it then it'd be a different story. You could probably get into a master's program of some sort at a state university and apply to PhD programs that way if you have a good graduate GPA. To atone for bad grades as a med school applicant is a whole other ordeal that you can look up on the internet. Many people have been in your shoes, but you MUST perform with great grades later on. You really have to know if you want to be a doctor for sure because of the cost and some of the people with 3.5 GPA's get flat-out denied everywhere. People go to Caribbean schools if that's all they could get into.
    3. Annihilate your general education classes. If you get anything less than an A you are doing it wrong. Those are supposed to boost your GPA.
    4. Introductory physics is not that hard. If you think about it people in high school take introductory physics that are calculus based. All you really need to do to succeed in this type of class is to do all of the problems that you can. If you don't understand something, swallow your pride and go to office hours or tutoring. Get the concepts down cold.
    5. If you can't hack chemistry, do not become a doctor. You need to take organic chemistry and you need to get good grades in those.
    6. Attend ALL class sessions! Period. Take good notes. See if you can be part of a PRODUCTIVE study group.
    7. Buy other textbooks for second references if the one you're going through is not working for you.
    8. Don't get jealous of other people. Focus on yourself and your grades. If it is going to take you 3 hours to "get" the same material as it takes someone 1 hour then you need to accept that.
    8. Suck it up that sometimes you are not going to have a social life. Technically I'm under the college of science at my college as an applied math/statistics major with a physics concentration. I don't anticipate much of a social life for my entire senior year. Probably my last quarter it'll be manageable. But you gotta really know how much something is worth to you. I want to get good grades because I want a job after college and the HR departments will put my resume in the trash if I don't make them. I also need good grades because I would like to be better than other people in an applicant pool to graduate school so I can get more money and pursue what I want. I also want to make good grades because what are you doing spending all of this money in college and just performing mediocre if you're pulling D's or something like that? I can't see how people can do that. It's around 2,000 something per class for me. You don't want to take a class again if you don't have to. I read about this guy who went to an ivy league college, but he graduated with a low GPA and had a so-so LSAT score so he matriculated to a crummy law school. At the beginning of the semester he took a piece of paper and wrote "4.0" on it and taped it up on the wall above him. He ended up transferring from that law school after his first year to UC Berkeley. You need to know what you want, what you're working for and simply go for it. Put your all into it. There's no point putting in half the effort if you're getting mediocre results. If you put your all into something and still get mediocre results, then fine. You may not be meant for that line of work. But you need to consistently put your best effort on the line to see what kind of results you can bring.

    I'm the kind of guy who skated by freshman and sophomore years because I was too busy having a social life, too lazy to care about grades that much, and I was honestly burned out by school after my first year. I did okay in my classes 'cause sometimes you're naturally gifted at some things more than others. Junior year I was still a slacker (been relying on "talent" most of the time), but I definitely put more time into my major than I ever did before and earned good grades and I completely annihilated every GE course. Now that it's senior year I realize how critical my grades are if I'm going to get into Stanford or UCLA. I think I stand a chance, but it is going to come with a lot of hard work. And I'm only applying to master programs, not PhD. I know I would not get to where I wanted to go if I applied to PhD programs. You gotta be realistic if you were coasting and have an OK GPA. And if given the opportunity to get a master's degree at one of these fine schools, I will work my butt off to crush the program and get the best GPA possible. But you know what? I'm actually hoping to get a job too and it isn't easy when you're competing with people who have consistently since day one put their best foot forward. You gotta work your butt off the rest of your school career and you gotta find a way to make up for it. I'm sure my grades will come up as a talking point and you're going to need to have a good way to steer that interview question in the right direction. Interviews are not just for jobs either, you get interviewed by someone to get into graduate school programs a lot of the times.

    You need to think about what you want to do. You need to create that upward trend in your grades. Your last two years are the meat of the major. The good stuff. The hard stuff. If you can do well in those, good. A professor once told me, "If the guy got an A in Real Analysis (hardest class in my major), who cares that he/she got a C in Calculus I?"
  • ElliottJonesElliottJones Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    8. Don't get jealous of other people. Focus on yourself and your grades. If it is going to take you 3 hours to "get" the same material as it takes someone 1 hour then you need to accept that....I also want to make good grades because what are you doing spending all of this money in college and just performing mediocre if you're pulling D's or something like that?

    Such excellent advice. Thank you, truly. I am printing your response and putting it on my wall above my desk.
  • ElliottJonesElliottJones Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Does anyone have some advice for dealing with the anxiety I mentioned?
    It's kind of like there's this fuzzy cloud of a reason, but nothing that I can directly sort out. It's not like being worried over a particular assignment, where I could just do it and get it over with, but a really draining constant feeling of worry with no specific solution.

    Maybe someone who has had and overcome this feeling could answer? It's hard to explain and I feel like most people are not very understanding about this issue. If anyone else feels like this and needs someone to talk to, feel free to PM me. Or just write back. I always feel sick or something, like I'm about to go on stage when really I'm just trying to live my life.
  • BrownParentBrownParent Registered User Posts: 12,776 Senior Member
    Before you go off to school go to your doctor and discuss this anxiety. Usually people with anxiety have some depression and vice versa. Get evaluated. If you aren't even in school yet and anxious, then do something now. Anxiety that has edged over into a disorder can be treated with medication and/or cognitive therapy. The therapy can teach you how to rewire your reaction to stress, or in this case anticipated stress. Learning to look forward instead of behind is one technique. You can see what counseling services are available at college.

    Doing some daily exercise is very beneficial. When you get to school I recommend that you take a yoga class. You learn to focus and have the physical benefit too. Look at these tips and force yourself to go through the motions until you learn to get the benefit.

    Grad schools will concentrate more on classes in your major and your research experience. The last 60 units are the most important. So change your study habits.
  • siliconvalleymomsiliconvalleymom Registered User Posts: 4,461 Senior Member
    You got a 3.9 your first semester, then tanked three semesters in a row because you started taking science classes. It's time to reconsider your academic plans. What were you taking that first semester that made you want to go to class, do the homework and prepare for tests?
    I think your feeling of anxiety is the prospect of even more science classes that you are not very excited about. Consider stopping by the career center at UCSC and talking to their advisers about career testing to help you sort out your interests.
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