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Thread: In need of advice

  1. #1
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    In need of advice

    Hello. I just wanted to get advice on what I should do about my college career. I did not want to ask parents/friends because I know they would just tell me to work harder, not to give up, etc. but it's not that I do not work hard enough or that I'm quitting, I am just finding myself extremely confused and frustrated with college.

    All of my life I wanted to work with animals. There was no question about it. I wanted to work as a marine biologist/conservationist, travel the world in this field, and discover new things. I've always been a perfectionist when it came to school; I graudated high school in the top 10% of my class with a 3.9 GPA. However, with college, I cannot seem to excel. I have a 2.8 GPA which is killing me. I cannot seem to do well in the core classes that a biology major requires. I received C's in both my general biology courses, I am retaking chemistry and precalculus for the second time and I still do not understand what I am doing. I go to my professors office hours and ask for help and I recieve tutoring but I just cannot seem to pass. It is really bringing me down because I know with these grades there is no chance I will get accepted in graduate school.

    Over the summer I went to honduras with a marine research team and I absolutely loved it. I looked forward to getting up everyday at 5am to see what the day would bring. I loved diving and collecting data to discover new ideas. This makes me feel even worse that I loved this type of work but my intelligence is just not up to standards to recieve further education needed to the field.

    So my question is do you think I should change my major? I find psychology pretty interesting; I took an introductory course as an elective and I fully enjoyed it and received an A. It's just frustrating that I cannot enjoy the work and pass the classes for a job that I know for a fact that I enjoy.

    Ps. I'm a junior and have three more semesters for school left. I know if I change my major I would not be graduating on time.

    I just need some guidance and advice on how to handle this situation :/

    RIP Sally

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by sallyandsnowx View Post
    Ps. I'm a junior and have three more semesters for school left. I know if I change my major I would not be graduating on time.

    I just need some guidance and advice on how to handle this situation :/
    At this point, I would not advise changing your major just so you can get better grades. You want to work with animals, marine biology - something in that field. Once you graduate, if you enter the job market, no one is likely going to care what your GPA was, just that you passed the courses, and did the work.

    Do you really want to go to graduate school right after college? Or would you take a couple years to work or intern in the field before continuing? That would seem more logical, to narrow your focus and discover what exactly you want to pursue.

    A psychology major may appeal to you right now because that course was interesting and fun, but what would you do with a psychology degree? It is one of those fields, like teaching, that I believe you should not enter unless you really have a burning desire to do it.

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  3. #3
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    And I was thinking that you might try taking those tough courses like Chemistry in another setting. My daughter graduated from college last year. She used her summers to take some of the courses she knew might be harder for her. She lived at home and worked during the summer, and took the classes online through a local community college and was able to get credit at her university for those classes. That way, she only had to focus on the one class and tended to do much better. I think I would also try a paid tutor to get you through the remainder of this semester. If you could get those classes behind you, perhaps you could proceed in your major and later enter graduate school. I know that I had to change my major in college because of the Chemistry class. I learned quickly that it wasn't my best subject so I switched to something else. I don't do what I studied in college for a living, but having that diploma has been helpful.
    Good luck to you.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen View Post
    At this point, I would not advise changing your major just so you can get better grades. You want to work with animals, marine biology - something in that field. Once you graduate, if you enter the job market, no one is likely going to care what your GPA was, just that you passed the courses, and did the work.

    Do you really want to go to graduate school right after college? Or would you take a couple years to work or intern in the field before continuing? That would seem more logical, to narrow your focus and discover what exactly you want to pursue.

    A psychology major may appeal to you right now because that course was interesting and fun, but what would you do with a psychology degree? It is one of those fields, like teaching, that I believe you should not enter unless you really have a burning desire to do it.

    My 2˘.
    Karen reflects a lot of my sentiments very well.

    However, a different approach from my own personal experiences, if I may:

    Everyone is of the mentality that you graduate high school and then jump straight into college. Well, I was not one of them. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and going to community college with a general education associates or bachelors did not appeal to me. I didn't want to "waste" my money on school that really wasn't going to work for me.

    So... I waited a few years to go to school until I figured out what I wanted to do in life until my sister told me about a new program they were starting up at her technical/trade school for a veterinary technician program. I immediately called to get more information, sent in my application and application letter, and haven't looked back.

    I was terrible in high school, but did AWESOME in college. Every class was tailored directly to my profession, so there were no writing classes, there were no english classes, there were zero classes that didn't interest me because every one was directly tailored to this field. I finished second in my class only because I missed getting straight A's by HALF a percent in one class, graduated with perfect attendance, was on student council, etc.

    So... what Karen said holds a lot of weight. Don't stop and switch majors now. If you're passing, that's fine... as long as you're passing, once you get out into your field it won't matter what your GPA was or which class you did better in over others. What will matter is your attitude, eagerness, and willingness to learn.

    The most important thing I can tell anyone going into a field such as yours or mine is to get as much hands-on experience as you possibly can. Volunteer, try to get as much experience under your belt as you can. That will look FAR better on your resumé than any GPA, and it will also forge relationships with people who can write you letters of recommendation that will also speak louder volumes than any GPA.

    So... my advice? Stick with it. Grin and bear it. Look to the future. If you're struggling to pass classes, maybe reconsider, take a break, or find a program that is more tailored to your specific field so you're interested in the classes.

    But if you aren't struggling... stick with it!

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  5. #5
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    Thank you everyone!

    This actually makes me feel a lot better. Since I am almost so close to done, I'm just going to stick with it. I didn't realize that GPA did not play a huge significance after graduation. I do have a good amount of work experience in the marine biology field so I guess that is a plus side!

    Logan, that is a good suggestion! I was actually thinking of retaking chemistry again over the summer. I do struggle a good amount with the subject so maybe just focusing on one class at a time will be more helpful.

    RIP Sally

  6. #6
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    Your GPA does not play nearly as important of a role as will letters of recommendation, experience (volunteering or otherwise), and showing that you are willing to learn.

    I think you'll be happy with this decision. Just grin and bear it for just awhile longer!

    Food for thought: not all doctors graduate at the top of their class; some graduate at the bottom, but they still graduate, and they still go into practice.

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  7. #7
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    I had a very similar experience about a year ago, and actually I did wind up changing my mind on a few things but I always stayed within the same realm. I changed my major this Spring from Wildlife Biology to Natural Resource Management. I wanted something more broad but similar and I can likely still get the same/similar jobs as I would have before. I had difficulty with Pre-Calc and Chemistry, however I did manage to pass both with a C. I was in Community College though, so I still wasn't quite sure of my major at my 4 year college yet.

    Anyway, all my credits transferred and I have been successful and in love with my major 100%. At this rate, I would not advise you to change your major. You are getting by with a C, which is fine because you won't have employers checking your GPA. If you already know you enjoy your actual major classes, you should be fine. I have a professor in a class with a field I enjoy, whom is awful at math. She said she got C's in every math class she ever took in college and she has yet to run into a problem in her 20 years in the field.

    Don't change your major and entire career over something that you will never use, because I promise you, you will regret that. You won't regret failing one math class in college in say 3 years, but you will regret not going with the career choice you want over one stupid class. I was never very good at Sciences, however now that I am done with all the harder sciences and into my career field courses I am thriving. I have a feeling you will do the same, you already have by getting an A in your introductory course. Taking summer courses helped me a ton! The one math course I took over the summer got me a B in that math course, which I thought would be impossible. It's a lot less stressful than taking 17 credits when you only focus on one class.

    If you need anymore advice or just someone to talk to, feel free to PM me. I almost changed my entire career because of this a few years ago so I know your exact position. You can get through this.

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