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I joined a fraternity and partied for the last 3 yrs- now I'm paying the price. help?


Replies to: I joined a fraternity and partied for the last 3 yrs- now I'm paying the price. help?

  • scout59scout59 Registered User Posts: 3,531 Senior Member
    Afan has some really good points in post #8. Please make sure that you really, really love biology before you go to grad school. You will have at least two more years of classwork (and in most cases, anything less than a B+ in those classes is unacceptable), and believe me, some of those classes are VERY dry and VERY uninteresting. (And face it - science profs are usually granted tenure based on their research, not their teaching skills.)

    Not to mention: The grad student life is often grueling - classes, teaching, and many long hours in the lab. Make sure you're ready for the lifestyle, because there aren't any shortcuts.

    Good luck. I recently wrote some recommendations for a senior applying to grad schools in a hard science. She had excellent GRE scores, lots of undergrad research, and a 4.0 GPA, and I was surprised at how many schools turned her down.
  • jonrijonri Registered User Posts: 7,387 Senior Member
    Actually, Pauch was pretty much detested by everyone at Brown OTHER than Andy Van Damm. Pauch said Andy took him for a walk and said something along the lines of "Some people think you're arrogant. You do create that impression. It's sad because I think the way people feel about you might stop you from achiieving success." As Randy P says "Isn't that a nice way to tell you you're a jerk?"

    Pauch's problem wasn't his grades or his GRE...it was his personality. He's the first to admit it.
  • jessiehljessiehl Registered User Posts: 3,328 Senior Member
    You may not get in anywhere, possibly not even master's programs (I assume, since you are a bio major, that you are going for a PhD). Your GPA is low enough that a lot of programs will just cut you from the pile regardless of your other credentials (I sympathize, by the way, with having better research performance than GPA).

    But all is not lost.

    Here's what I would do in your situation. A lot of the advice I am about to give you is stuff I have done or am doing. Feel free to PM me if you want more details about my situation.

    1) Apply to a mixture of PhD and master's programs. I know that a master's degree in bio is not terribly useful as a credential. The reason you do this is that good grades in a master's program can be used as a springboard into a PhD program for someone with poor undergrad grades.

    Are you interested in computational/mathematical biology? I'm wondering because of the math minor. You can apply to master's programs in fields like applied math and computational biology as well, if this is the case - these are reasonably useful credentials, even.

    2. Start looking for and applying to field-relevant jobs, preferably ones involving research. If you get into a grad program, you won't need these, but if you get rejected across the board, which is a real possibility, you're going to want them. Since you're a bio major, some of the obvious possibilities are:

    - Research associate/assistant for a biotech company or at a hospital
    - Lab tech at an interesting lab at your university or elsewhere
    - Entry-level research worker in the biodefense or other bio-related division of a defense contractor

    3. This step is assuming that you got rejected across the board and took a job from step 2. Once you are working, network like crazy - you have learned to do that, it seems - with the upper-level researchers. Join relevant professional/academic societies - your work may even fund this (mine does) - and try to get involved in their technical or other activities. Do a good job at work and keep up with the scholarly literature in your field. If you get the opportunity to publish or present at a conference, do so.

    Once you have adjusted to working, start taking classes, preferably grad classes, part-time, either as a special student or through a certificate program. If you can do well in the classes it will look very good for you.

    4. Once you've been working and taking classes part-time for a year or two, if all has gone well, reapply.
  • ticklemepinkticklemepink Registered User Posts: 2,764 Senior Member
    dmd77- I will have to try that line when I get my rejection lettesr from my advisor's alma mater and another school that my internship is very close to :)

    Dude, you need to LOVE bio in a way that you do more loving than hating in your relationship to the subject. You'll need to develop a love-hate relationship with the love winning most of the time. You have to WANT it as badly as getting girls on weekends. You have to love it in a way that there's very, very, very little to complain about because you can find other ways to enjoy that "boring" class. If you can do all that, then you're making a step towards graduate school- it's very specialized that there's no leeway. Seriously, you need to be willing to spend Friday nights in the lab because that's going to happen in graduate school. There's little outside life. Try it now for a couple weeks and see if you can stand it. If not, then you're not ready.

    First, just cool it with your fraternity and then start exploring what you like in your academic work.
  • stridddestriddde Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thanks to everyone for helping me out- I sincerely appreciate this. I've read and reread your posts, and I think this is a fantastic starting point to work out what I'm going to do with my situation. I went through and took every point from this thread and posted it in this list in case anyone in a similar situation wants a reference.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions - having such a great resource available makes dealing with this situation much less stressful.

    The plan before application-time

    -cool the frat, wear earplugs, go to bed early
    -work really really really really hard next semester & the next (to up that in-major GPA i signed up for 5 major classes)

    Plan A - apply to grad school directly

    -will probably get rejected globally, be ready for it
    -package myself well (show but not state that i was a lab rat who was more interested in research than reading textbooks, but realized classes were still important after being inspired by the lab)
    -no upward trend in the grades

    answering the bad grades question
    -bad grades in school might help me be a better candidate since i'm more motivated/focused now and have more to lose
    -working in a lab gave me the motivation necessary to raise the grades
    -I used to party and meet girls, but now I've seen the light and I'm ready to work, i grew up

    Plan B - apply to masters programs & jobs

    -apply to masters programs also (applied math & comp bio - jessiehl has me pegged)
    -post undergrad job for a few years (lab tech, hospital, research institute, etc)


    -isn't the fraternity's fault, and the frat was fun
    -networking gets you places, sometimes farther than those who did the work
    -boring professors shouldn't stop me from enjoying a subject i plan to specialize in
    -Randy pausch pulled some strings (for different reasons: he was a jerk), get allstar PI to make some calls
    -should i really go to grad school?
    -need to see a scantily clad girl and a partial differential equation and feel similarly :)
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