droogdoc

It's "bleeping" golden...
Jul 12, 2009
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Most of us have heard about the "extra" stuff you should do to make your application stand out when you apply to residency but how in the world do medical students have time to be active in extra curricular activities while in school? You hear things about people belonging to & be active in tons of groups & community service, networking with tons of attendings before they start rotations (that one makes my head hurt) etc.

The research options I can understand, you can do it in the summer or some schools allow it as an elective for credit.

Appreciate any current med students to share how people accomplish this. Since I am a current med school applicant, pardon any inherent ignorance on this subject.
 

beckhunter116

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Look for some of TexasTriathlete's post as he is very active during the school year in volunteering. Maybe he will comment here.

Even though I am just an applicant like you I believe the answer to this is pretty straight-forward. You make time for what YOU want to do. No one can study 24 hours a day 7 days a week. And even if you could you probably wouldn't retain that much because you are so stressed from all work and no play. Of course, here comes the dilemma of volunteering vs. spending time with family, SO, children, or in blissful solitude depending on your personality.

Do med students have a terrible abundance of free time? No, but if you don't fit in fun, relaxation, and whatever you enjoy you will be miserable and that is counterproductive.

I think a key factor to being successful in medical school is learning how to balance school with having a life--through proper planning and scheduling, effective study habits, etc. More and more I find that reading in the DO/MD section people who are miserable and hate medicine because they didn't balance life and medicine and feel cheated. They seem so bitter that I feel terrible for them. Medicine is my dream, but I don't want it to become my nightmare.

I think I am starting to ramble, sorry this was so long.:D
 
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droogdoc

droogdoc

It's "bleeping" golden...
Jul 12, 2009
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Illinois
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Great reply!! I agree 100%. Just was curious
 

beckhunter116

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Thanks!

Here is one of the threads I was thinking of.

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=638223

I forgot to say that fitting in 3 to 4 hours a week volunteering consistently over months goes a long way--Out of a week this is like one less movie watched or less time on SDN, easily accomplished. You get to meet people and if you are productive while you are there you will make an impression.

I think one of the most important things though is to do it only if you are passionate about it.
 

TexasTriathlete

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I did all my extracurricular stuff because I liked it. Not because I thought it would look good on my residency application. I may not even put it on my CV. I'm not sure yet. Residency programs don't care about that ****. They want things that will make their program better, and the fact that you were a member of a million clubs and did roadside garbage pickup every semester, and fed homeless people on Thanksgiving, or that you were the SGA Parliamentarian, does not demonstrate any kind of skills that will benefit them.

I will say that my volunteering at Grady helped me land this research gig that I've got now, and through that, I've made some pretty valuable contacts. But on this research gig, I'm working much harder than I did in school, for the most part. But on my CV, this research DOES show residency programs that I've got some skills and experience that will be of use to them.

But they also want people who are well-rounded, and not just study machines. For example, when my friend interviewed for a residency at one place (Phoenix, I think), she said that all they talked about was her triathlon stuff.

I've talked with a lot of people at Emory, including the head of the department, the residency director, various attendings, and residents. While it is only one program, in one field, I think it is probably a pretty good representation of your average "major academic training program". What I've learned....

1) They want people they can work with. Don't be a douchebag. Don't have a one-track mind. Be easy to get along with. Be a hard worker. Have a personality that fits in.

2) They want people with skills that are useful to them. They do a lot of research there, so they want people who know how to do research and have an interest in it. I was told that ~60% of Emory medical students do some kind of research during medical school. Wow. I think I am one of like 5 people at my school doing clinical research, with a few others doing some stuff in the lab.

3) The obvious. Boards, don't fail stuff, don't get arrested, etc.
 
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droogdoc

droogdoc

It's "bleeping" golden...
Jul 12, 2009
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0
Illinois
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Pre-Medical
Thanks Texastriathlete. I am actually very happy to hear your response as it was kind of what I was hoping.
 

TexasTriathlete

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Here's another thing, and I'm not trying to talk my own **** up, but it is what it is...

I am good at networking. I was a bartender in college, a personal trainer after college, and I also worked in a busy ER. I am comfortable in just about any setting with going up and talking to people. I'm not afraid to fire off random e-mails to people to see if they'd be willing to do this or that. And so on. I'd say that is probably the thing that bridged the gap between the volunteering/etc. and me landing this research gig. You've got to put yourself out there.
 

nlax30

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1) They want people they can work with. Don't be a douchebag. Don't have a one-track mind. Be easy to get along with. Be a hard worker. Have a personality that fits in.
HUGE +1 to this. You don't have to be the smartest or have the right answer every time you're pimped, but if the residents can't stand being around you then that could be a big negative for you.

After my first two IM rotations at a local program I worked my butt off, didn't complain, and did what I could do as a third year to not cause the interns/residents too much extra work and I can tell you it'll pay off. After the first month I was basically told to make sure I apply there if I end up doing IM.

During the first two years do things that interest you. There will definitely be time to volunteer if you'd like to. And as far as networking..... Conferences are usually a good bet, can be fun, and are usually cheap or free for students, especially the school helps out. You can also get involved with your local or state med society. I know I want to stay in Florida so I've become fairly involed in our state osteo association and have gotten to know a lot of the key physicians around here.

Don't worry about what ECs you'll have on you record. Do well in classes, do well on boards, stay somewhat well rounded with any outside interests you may have, and then if there's a specific group, volunteer activity, or conference that interests you then go for it.
 

MossPoh

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If you look at what program director's rank as most important, research and extracurricular tend to be at the bottom. Either way, it isn't THAT hard. Its not like it is every day for 5 hours. You will have time to go for an hour or two here and there, especially first year.

I'm not even that active and I'm already a class officer and on a focus group for curriculum development along with a few interest groups. I'm not doing it for the residency; I'm doing it because it allows me to pursue my own interests and maybe network a bit.