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Newbie with No experiences, no guidelines

Discussion in 'Underrepresented in Healthcare' started by RockHardIce, 01.19.08.

  1. RockHardIce

    RockHardIce Returned to Stock

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    Hi, I am a Biological Science Junior Undergraduate student. I came to United States about 3 years ago and worked my first year in a Retail store as a cashier for full time. I started attending a community college and took General Education courses, such as English, Arts, and Speech. Eventually I took the sequels of General Biology, General Chemistry, General Physics, and Calculus and Aced All of them. I finished my A.A degree with about 3.8 GPA( the only 'C' I had was in Spanish) and Transferred to a state university. My first semester I took organic chemistry with lab, General Microbiology, and one other gen bio(3) and a history course(western civilization). Although I got a 'B' in orgo lab, My cumulative for that semester was 3.92 with Honors. I also got 'A+' in microbio.
    Now, besides attending classes(in which I put the best efforts and all of my time, since I actually enjoyed learning new things), I worked in a clinical lab as a lab assistant doing various easy tests and microbio procedures for that semester. However, I hardly have any other extra curricular activity. The only things I do for fun are watch movies, listen to music, read something, plan about future, talk with my girl friend e.t.c
    When attending college, I was undecided about a particular profession.
    However, something is true in my case I believe, I enjoy everything I study, be it mathematics, biology, chemistry, or history(so far) No matter how hard something seems at first, I believe I grow confidence in me about Acing a subject by challenging myself.

    If I dream about going to medical school, how should I proceed from now? Is it too late to think about it? Whats some easy ways for underrepresented students to get involved in extracurriculars that are relevant. Please give me some directions.
     
  2. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Go to this website Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Pre-Med Handbook (Click on the link that I have provided) and down load this pdf file (need Adobe Acrobat to read and print it). This book will answer just about every question that you have. Some parts of it apply to Michigan State but most of it applies to application to medical school in general. It's a very good resource and gives you plenty to work on and think about. Good luck and welcome to our Forum.
     
  3. RockHardIce

    RockHardIce Returned to Stock

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    Thanks so much for the reply. A great resource! Thanks.
     
  4. daydreamer123

    daydreamer123

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    I think you look like a great applicant. The only thing that might help you is getting some healthcare experience, maybe volunteer at an ambulance corp so that they can see that you know what you're getting into with medicine.
     
  5. RockHardIce

    RockHardIce Returned to Stock

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    Thanks for your replies. I have some questions that I would like to ask-

    -Are there medical school that puts more emphasis on good GPA and MCAT scores?

    -Some people say that medical school admission committee wants to see if one has what it takes to learn the rigorous curriculum ? Taking that into mind, how much clinical involvement would be considered enough ? Does all the extra curricular beyond that limit are just to stand up in the competition ?

    -Doesn't specializations such as Pathology require less patient interactions?

    Thanks again for giving your suggestions!
     
  6. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Almost all medical school consider your uGPA and MCAT scores as their main evaluation criteria. That being said, just about every application on my desk currently has great uGPAs and MCAT scores so we then look at the rest of the application.

    You need to do some volunteer work and some shadowing in a clinical situation. The number of hours is not as important as the quality of the experience. I have had applicants who spent every afternoon in the office of one of their physician parents "doing their homework" and couldn't relate any experiences with patients to me during an interview. I have had applicants who spent a couple of days with "Christmas in April" who had a great idea of what it meant to be under-served and struggling.

    Make sure that your volunteer/clinical experience is of high quality and it an actual experience that you can discuss on a possible interview. Again, you need to spend enough hours to get a quality experience. Just hanging out with a physician for a couple of hours if you don't see any patients and don't have any meaningful discussions is not enough.

    Don't worry about specialization at this point. Your first job is to get into medical school. Once there, you can get exposure to any and all specialists if you like.

    Doing consistently well in your coursework is proof enough that you can handle the rigorous medical school curriculum. You don't need to go into a clinical situation to prove that you can handle a medical school curriculum. Don't fall into the "pre-med trap" of doing things, especially things that don't interest you (taking extra classes for example) because you want to impress an admissions committee. Believe me, the most impressive things that you can have are high academic achievement and a well-written and complete application.
     
  7. RockHardIce

    RockHardIce Returned to Stock

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    Before reading what you said, I was about to fall in the so called "Pre-med" trap this coming semester, to tell honestly. I did set expectations that don't fall into what I actually enjoy doing as a student, person, or broadly part of a great society, at least at this level of my academic career. Thanks for the last post.
     
  8. RockHardIce

    RockHardIce Returned to Stock

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    During my current semester I will be doing Organic Chemistry 2 with laboratory, Cell biology and physiology with laboratory, General Genetics(no lab), and one 300 level psychology class("Perception").

    Although I have been working as a lab assistant, I feel that I do not get any patient interaction there. The job helped me in practicing basic Microbiology methods under the supervision of a Clinical laboratory supervisor, besides learning about the procedures of a clinical laboratory, such as accessioning, ordering samples, processing samples for tests and so on. Medical technologists working there hardly had the time to teach me anything about what they do, and the lab is busy enough for me to stay concentrated on the works I was supposed to do. As a result, I never learned to even draw blood from patients( although I thought I would have gotten a chance to learn it). The only time I would see a patient is when they handed me urine samples. In addition, sometimes doctors came to the lab and asked for finished results. Thats about it.

    I would not say that I did not like the job, but it probably contributed little to the type of experience you mentioned. I would like to add that I did this job for about 9 hours a week between my classes.

    Considering what you said about the appropriate experience and my current academic loads, do you think I should leave this job and start volunteering a clinic ? (which I too, guess will be meaningful not only because it is required, but also because I actually would enjoy accompanying people with physical or mental sickness and help them)
    or should I keep the job and make extra time to volunteer?

    Appreciate your help. My classes start in 4 days.
     
  9. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Your first obligation is to your studies. You have to keep them high level as you have been doing. After that, you can get extracurricular/volunteer experience. Look around for something but remember that all of the volunteering in the world will not overcome a poor uGPA so keep those grades as high as you have been.

    If you hate your job/experience, then take some time to find something else. There are no specific number of hours that you need but you do need to do something that is meaningful. Again, your high grades are your best asset and volunteering comes after that. You have a pretty heavy load with the coursework that you have outlined so be sure that you give your coursework all of the attention that it needs/demands. You can always volunteer over the summer or even over a long holiday weekend here and there but you get one shot to keep your grades high.
     
  10. RockHardIce

    RockHardIce Returned to Stock

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    Thanks so much for your valuable advices.
     

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