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That Midterm Grade of 57% did NOT ruin me

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

In first year embryology class, I knew I did not do well on the first exam. I couldn’t really understand what the professor was asking. Under a time crunch I wrote an answer that I thought she was looking for. I was definitely wrong. We got our midterm marks back, and this was my lowest score in vet school - 57%. That’s barely a pass. First year vet med and my self-esteem was already down - just like Dr. Moore Student Vet says, they let me into vet school by accident.

Someone compared first year vet med as if you were thirsty for knowledge and when you go to take a drink someone is standing there with a firehose pointing at you. In other words, you kind of feel like you’re drowning.

In my school, if you scored under 60% you were to talk to your academic advisor. Friends of mine had already experienced this. I was waiting for my advisor to reach out to me, meanwhile, I reached out to a friend of mine who was doing well in this class. She is the reason I passed first year embryology. She gave me private tutoring lessons to prepare for the final exam. You will find that the camaraderie in vet school is like no other. We had 80 students in our class, whom you see at minimum, 32 hours a week, and THEN you have your own study groups for evenings, weekends and Wednesday afternoons. So when you find a kindhearted soul for a friend you need to consider yourself lucky!

My academic advisor never contacted me about that grade. I also never contacted him about it either. I told myself that I would do better for the final, and that it wouldn’t matter in the end.

My confidence in myself picked up a bit when I was getting my scores back from classes like anatomy and physiology. Those I did well in. It was those moments where I felt I belonged in vet school. Still, after seven application cycles, and three years of interviews, it really takes a toll on your self-esteem. I really thought I was bottom of the barrel - and how could I not feel this way with scoring 57%? Vet students are supposed to be smart, we’re that 98th percentile group to even get into vet school. But they warned us, you’re already here, so stop worrying about your grades (except if you want an internship, then you should be).

At the end of my first year, I figured I was middle of the road, your average student. That would put my rank at around 40/80. Of course, I was curious, and the academic dean’s office has this information, how did I rank? Coming into vet school, I knew I was low, because I had a second round interview, just squeaking by. Second round interviews means that you score lower than the top 50% in grades. But how was I doing now? I ended up ranking 12th. This is 12th from the top. I was pleasantly surprised, and after that moment, I absolutely knew I was meant to be there.

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