PeninsulaDude

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Aug 13, 2017
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Hello. First time poster for what it's worth. I will be an incoming freshman to a smaller, private, liberal arts college this fall. I plan on pursing a career in the medical field, with my ultimate goal to be a doctor. However, I am concerned about the work-life balance aspect as having a large family and being devoted to my life are overall more important to me than a career.

Currently, I am signed up to take:
Bio 101 and lab
Chem 125 and lab
Required first year writing class
Sociology

These classes total to 19 credits for 1st semester. I don't know why I was put in the sociology class. I know that I want to take something instead of it, but I don't know what. I am considering taking a mid level English class or a foreign language. Thoughts? I also am considering majoring in either economics, nutrition, or psychology so I could take an intro to Econ, psychology, or nutrition instead or as well. Thoughts?

Along these same lines, I was an all-American athlete in high school but have chosen not to participate in collegiate athletics due to some personal issues and how I generally become obsessive about the sport and have trouble functioning outside of training for the sport. I also won't be doing this sport because I want to have time to explore and have time for new
activities and to be able to put the majority of my time and energy into my further career aspirations. With this in mind, for a freshman, what would you recommend pursue in terms of extracurriculars, volunteering, shadowing, etc? I have some ideas of what would like to do: join the crew team, Nordic ski club, work as a nursing assistant on campus, volunteer at local hospital. Thoughts?

Should I avoid being part of anything with the word 'club' in it i.e.: pre med club, global health affairs club, nutrition club, etc.

Should I try to look into research my first year? I have the opportunity to take an EMT class this fall and then join the volunteer emt squad. Is this a good or bad idea as an extracurricular?

Lastly, I know that first year is all about protecting and nuturing my gpa, getting to know people and professors, and getting adjusted to college life. However, woildnyou reccomend any activities or extracurriculars I should try to be involved in that would help a med school app? Also, when i know I will be a part of students for life and a catholic organization no matter how these are viewed by adcoms, but when the time comes, are these worth putting med school apps if I put a lot of time and effort into them or is it just too risky and divisive to do so? Thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments, suggestions, or thoughts!
 

Blanky

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Looks like roughly 14 credits? Seems right on to me
 

Boogy'sChick15

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Hello. First time poster for what it's worth. I will be an incoming freshman to a smaller, private, liberal arts college this fall. I plan on pursing a career in the medical field, with my ultimate goal to be a doctor. However, I am concerned about the work-life balance aspect as having a large family and being devoted to my life are overall more important to me than a career.

Currently, I am signed up to take:
Bio 101 and lab
Chem 125 and lab
Required first year writing class
Sociology

1. These classes total to 19 credits for 1st semester. I don't know why I was put in the sociology class. I know that I want to take something instead of it, but I don't know what. I am considering taking a mid level English class or a foreign language. Thoughts? I also am considering majoring in either economics, nutrition, or psychology so I could take an intro to Econ, psychology, or nutrition instead or as well. Thoughts?

2. Along these same lines, I was an all-American athlete in high school but have chosen not to participate in collegiate athletics due to some personal issues and how I generally become obsessive about the sport and have trouble functioning outside of training for the sport. I also won't be doing this sport because I want to have time to explore and have time for new
activities and to be able to put the majority of my time and energy into my further career aspirations. With this in mind, for a freshman, what would you recommend pursue in terms of extracurriculars, volunteering, shadowing, etc? I have some ideas of what would like to do: join the crew team, Nordic ski club, work as a nursing assistant on campus, volunteer at local hospital. Thoughts?

3. Should I avoid being part of anything with the word 'club' in it i.e.: pre med club, global health affairs club, nutrition club, etc.

4. Should I try to look into research my first year? I have the opportunity to take an EMT class this fall and then join the volunteer emt squad. Is this a good or bad idea as an extracurricular?

5. Lastly, I know that first year is all about protecting and nuturing my gpa, getting to know people and professors, and getting adjusted to college life. However, woildnyou reccomend any activities or extracurriculars I should try to be involved in that would help a med school app? Also, when i know I will be a part of students for life and a catholic organization no matter how these are viewed by adcoms, but when the time comes, are these worth putting med school apps if I put a lot of time and effort into them or is it just too risky and divisive to do so? Thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments, suggestions, or thoughts!

1. Major in whatever you find most interesting, will enjoy spending the next 4+ years studying, and will do well in. Med Schools don't care what you major in as long as you maintain a good GPA. A 4.0 in biology is still better than a 3.5 in physics, despite the difference in rigor. If anything, the only time it might even matter is if its a 4.0 in bio and a 4.0 in physics with similar EC stats.

2. You have plenty of time to accumulate EC hours, and you don't have to do them all right now. Find a few you would enjoy that fit in with your schedule and won't take too much time away from your studies.
You can look for clinical volunteering at local hospitals
Look for some nonclinical volunteering at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, boys and girls clubs, etc. or anything that you find meaningful to you (it is really beneficial to find a nonclinical EC working with underserved populations)
Make sure to indulge in some of your hobbies too

3. Being in clubs or holding leadership positions can be a good EC too, but it's not necessary. Not all schools (like mine for instance) have decent clubs that actually benefit you, but if your school has active clubs and you enjoy them, then by all means do it. I was in 2 clubs at my school but both turned out to be jokes, all the members cared about was free pizza during meets and adding it to their resumes, so I withdrew from both and focused my extra time on working or volunteering.

4. I know many people who started research freshman year, but just make sure it fits in with your schedule and make sure to focus on your classes too. You don't necessarily have to though, especially if you aren't that interested in research heavy med schools or an MD/PHD program. I barely started my research summer after my 3rd year, and now I am going into my 5th year with hundreds of hours of research. So don't panic if you can't do it right away.
Also, many adcoms on here have mentioned that EMT is just glorified clinical volunteering. If you want to work as an EMT, go ahead and do it, but clinical volunteering will suffice as well.

5. I will just repeat what you said yourself, first year is for you to get adjusted to college life. Have fun with it, do fun things before your schedule gets super busy with upper division classes. Also, every year is all about protecting your GPA. Do not stretch yourself too thin. Do not over commit to so many things or your GPA may suffer.
Also, it is better to have a few long term commitment ECs then a bunch of short ones. Do a few for a certain time period, then if you want to try new things, add them if you have the extra time or swap one EC out for another. You have plenty of time to work on things so don't stress out too much.
And since I am not an adcom, I will leave your last question for someone else to answer.
 
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@PeninsulaDude I think it is difficult to achieve work-life balance when you have yet to commit to the work and haven't experienced much of life. Rather than contrasting the two elements as opposites, what happens when work becomes life and life becomes work? Most students initially come into school thinking it's a 9-5 ordeal, but such a thought process usually is conditioned into students due to socialization and behavioral adaptation. Students who are able to achieve higher yield usually tend to have more flexible interpretations of work-life balance when school subjects become more intangible and ephemeral in terms of scope and expectation.
 
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Dox4lyfe

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Lastly, I know that first year is all about protecting and nuturing my gpa, getting to know people and professors, and getting adjusted to college life. However, woildnyou reccomend any activities or extracurriculars I should try to be involved in that would help a med school app? Also, when i know I will be a part of students for life and a catholic organization no matter how these are viewed by adcoms, but when the time comes, are these worth putting med school apps if I put a lot of time and effort into them or is it just too risky and divisive to do so?

Tagging @Catalystik for these last questions.
 

Dox4lyfe

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2+ Year Member
Feb 7, 2017
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@PeninsulaDude I think it is difficult to achieve work-life balance when you have yet to commit to the work and haven't experienced much of life. Rather than contrasting the two elements as opposites, what happens when work becomes life and life becomes work? Most students initially come into school thinking it's a 9-5 ordeal, but such a thought process usually is conditioned into students due to socialization and behavioral adaptation. Students who are able to achieve higher yield usually tend to have more flexible interpretations of work-life balance when school subjects become more intangible and ephemeral in terms of scope and expectation.
Your responses are always so sophisticated. I love them Haha.
 

Dox4lyfe

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Feb 7, 2017
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Currently, I am signed up to take:
Bio 101 and lab
Chem 125 and lab
Required first year writing class
Sociology

These classes total to 19 credits for 1st semester. I don't know why I was put in the sociology class. I know that I want to take something instead of it, but I don't know what. I am considering taking a mid level English class or a foreign language. Thoughts? I also am considering majoring in either economics, nutrition, or psychology so I could take an intro to Econ, psychology, or nutrition instead or as well. Thoughts?
Unless you don't want to take sociology, I'd keep the course. It's on the new mcat and although you can self study that portion, taking the course will make it a breeze.

Along these same lines, I was an all-American athlete in high school but have chosen not to participate in collegiate athletics due to some personal issues and how I generally become obsessive about the sport and have trouble functioning outside of training for the sport. I also won't be doing this sport because I want to have time to explore and have time for new
activities and to be able to put the majority of my time and energy into my further career aspirations.
You don't need to give up this sport completely. Have you thought about playing this sport at an intramural level or starting one if it doesn't already exist?

With this in mind, for a freshman, what would you recommend pursue in terms of extracurriculars, volunteering, shadowing, etc? I have some ideas of what would like to do: join the crew team, Nordic ski club, work as a nursing assistant on campus, volunteer at local hospital. Thoughts?
Those are a lot of ECs to take on all at once, especially in your freshman year. I'd recommend choosing one club and either working as the nursing assistant or volunteering at the hospital. Focus on your grades in your first year.

Should I avoid being part of anything with the word 'club' in it i.e.: pre med club, global health affairs club, nutrition club, etc.
Not sure where you heard this from.

Should I try to look into research my first year? I have the opportunity to take an EMT class this fall and then join the volunteer emt squad. Is this a good or bad idea as an extracurricular?
Both research and campus EMS are big time commitments. Think really hard if you really want spend your free time doing this. If you have a passion for research or want to try EMS, then go ahead.
 
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Blanky

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Sociology IS an easy class. This is OPs first semester and a course overload should be anticipated and adjusted for now to be safe and protect the GPA. If you want to keep the sociology then i would suggest dropping the Bio and taking it as you become adjusted to college to maintain your grades.
 
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1) woildnyou reccomend any activities or extracurriculars I should try to be involved in that would help a med school app?

2) Also, when i know I will be a part of students for life and a catholic organization no matter how these are viewed by adcoms, but when the time comes, are these worth putting med school apps if I put a lot of time and effort into them or is it just too risky and divisive to do so?
Tagging @Catalystik for these last questions.
1) Activities that require teamwork, nonmedical community service, peer leadership positions eg, within an organization or student government), teaching (includes TA, mentoring, coaching, tutoring, paid or volunteer), besides getting active clinical experience interacting with current patients, physician shadowing, and research.

2) It depends on what you do within the organization. It wouldn't be necessary to list your entire role if you think it might be viewed unfavorably by more than 50 % of adcomms. Just don't get arrested during protests and get a police record. There are some humanistic/religiously-oriented med schools where you might expand fully on activities that you feel may not have universal appeal--within Secondary essays, if the opportunity presents.
 
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