Undergrad – Getting a C

For most of us it’s the beginning of the semester, meaning it’s a fresh chance to start anew in all things academic…. Well, okay, maybe not all things academic. But at least at the start of a semester you have a chance to forget about the grades earned the one before; focus on that A you want!

Unfortunately, you can’t erase the grades earned the semester prior, especially if those grades are reflected on your final transcript. In my experiences, most of the pre-vet students tend to be slight overarchievers. We work hard for what we want and what we want is an A in all things college, GRE, etc. We do not settle for less than what we deserve! But the fact of the matter is, you probably deserved that “bad” grade.

For some of you, the “bad” grade may be an A- or a B; for others it may be much worse. Most of the vets I work(ed) with had at least 1 C on their transcripts. I ended up with my first C in Organic Chemistry last semester! I started out strong in the class with an A on my first exam, a B on my second, and my third exam plummeted to an F, followed by a C on my final exam. I maintained 100% on homework assignments and quizzes with the hope it would booster me to a B, alas it was all in vain. Not really, because I still worked my butt off while in the middle of other life matters. At the time I was working almost 70 hours a week, taking care of my own pets, I was still adjusting to moving out and to a different city, and struggling with family matters. It negatively affected me, and it was reflected in my academic standing as well as in my work. Management pulled me aside due to concerns expressed by coworkers at my demeanor. When I slapped myself out of it, it was too late.

I won’t pretend like reading my final grade wasn’t a blow to my chest; I definitely won’t pretend like I didn’t mope around the apartment/work place for weeks on end. I considered changing my major as a back-up plan, I looked up all the blogs and forums I could to read other pre-vet student’s experiences with “bad” grades. It took a while before I came to terms with my grade and it gave me a different perspective, it showed things in a different light.

A C is not the end of your academic career, it doesn’t mean you will never be considered for the school of your dreams, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you failed. A C simply means you exhibited average comprehension of the course material. It could also mean that you couldn’t devote as much time to the course as needed (personal matters, work, etc.).Whatever the reason is, most vet schools will give you the opportunity to address that/those bad marks. And there are other areas in your application in which you can make up for a lower GPA: experiences, research, extracurricular activities, work, the GRE, achievements/awards, and essays. It is possible to get into vet school with a 2.9 GPA with a kick ass application!

For those of us who are so used to getting As/Bs, we think our first C in undergrad is hard? What about the first time we will get one in vet school? What about the first time we will fail an exam/quiz in vet school? It’s bound to happen! Vet school is hard, it’s a lot of classes and a lot of information being thrown at you all at once. While some is bound to stick, the rest may just slide right off. When that happens, are you going to let yourself be defeated? Will you decide the field isn’t for you? Leave the program?

If you come across a similar experience as a vet, if a patient passes in your care. If a patient’s procedure is unsuccessful. Will you dust off your hands and call it quits?

No. You get back up and you try again for your next patient. You figure out what went wrong, what you could’ve done better, and you implement all you can to ensure next time you are better prepared.

I promise, a C is not the end of the line. You can still get into your dream school. I’ve seen it happen time and time again, and I hope to be another example of that for those hopeful pre-vets that’ll stumble across this page. If not this cycle, I’ll make sure to continue to share as I pick myself up for another battle I mean VMCAS cycle. Strive to be the best version of yourself, but remember to take care of yourself too. It’ll all fall into place eventually.

Until then,

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