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Is family an EC? (lol)

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Crookshanks, May 8, 2007.

  1. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Hi,

    To all you parents out there, with full time jobs....what do you do for extracurricular activities? Besides volunteering at a clinic/shadowing. Do you find time for anything else? Do the adcoms view having a family as some sort of EC? lol
     
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  3. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Someone suggested this idea last year, and the general consensus was that you should talk about your family in your PS. But one poster (I think it was MiesVanDerMom) said she was going to try putting her kids as an EC. I'm not sure whether she actually did it in the end; you might want to PM her and ask her about this.
     
  4. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    lol, thanks. It's so funny how it SOUNDS so funny, but it's totally an honest question. lol
     
  5. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    No, I know what you're saying. I spent a couple hours a week working with kids through BBBS and doing science demos at an elementary school, and that counts as an EC. If I had a job babysitting or providing daycare, that would count as an EC too. But if you're a full time mom, somehow it doesn't seem right to say that caring for your kids is an EC. Maybe because it is really a plain ol' C with nothing E about it. :p
     
  6. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I didn't put it down as an EC on the AMCAS application but my kids were mentioned in my PS (not extensively) and I definitely talked about them in my interviews when people asked about my activities.
    Most of my EC activities were from before I had children. Ones that I mentioned that were more current weren't very time consuming - volunteering in our church nursery, drawing and painting as a hobby. (I forget, were jobs listed in ECs or elsewhere?) I think that may be it. Everything else was prior to having children.
     
  7. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Okay, this is silly, but it's another serious question.

    What IF "babysitting" my own child is an EC....but this same child and I participate in an activity, weekly, say swimming lessons for example...would that be an ADDITIONAL EC? Or does it fall under "I'm babysitting my own kid"?

    The more logical thing would be to put down the activities I do with the child (instead of writing the child down as an activity)...I read her 3 books EVERY night for example...(I'm a book-a-holic)....and the swimming lessons, we're seriously thinking of doing that for summers; we're in FL, it's a MUST! This way, by putting down my activities with her, I'm mentioning her, but not necessarily sounding so silly as to call HER an "activity," make sense? Thoughts?
     
  8. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    I understand, but my problem is I had her right out of high school. Before her, I played violin for 10 years, was concert mistress of my high school orchestra (which had a Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) magnet program), participated in the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra (FSYO) and got the opportunity to tour Austria, Germany and Switzerland with them. BUT, this stuff was in high school, and although I would have continued playing in orchestra in college had I not had a baby, I couldn't because baby took way too much time. From my understanding these things I did in high school don't count...

    So..........since turning 18, I really don't have that much to show in terms of EC activities.
     
  9. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I'm confused. Your not applying right now, correct? I wouldn't worry about filling up your 15 ECs on your AMCAS application. I didn't fill them up. I think I used something like 5-7. (Depending on whether work is considered an EC or not).

    I don't think its necessary to account for all your time and so I don't think that the above is necessary (nor is it good). If you put somewhere in your application (probably your PS) that you are a parent, the Adcom (probably many of them are parents) will know that that is a huge part of your life and therefore time consuming.

    I suppose that you could place "I'm a parent" as an EC, but I wouldn't necessarily go into a lot of detail as to what it entails. It sort of feels like one is trying to "create" an EC to fill up space.

    Now I realize that parenting is a huge responsibility and probably the most important thing an individual will ever do (therefore its THE EC), but it belongs in a category all by itself, not alongside your other activities.
     
  10. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Thats all right. As mentioned, I think I may have had 7 if one includes employment.

    I think I listed some high school stuff. I wasn't really all that involved in stuff in college either.

    I may be wrong, but I'm not sure how much the initial application is looked at by the schools that send out secondaries. I think the secondary is looked at more closely alongside your PS and your stats and then when an interview is granted they may look closer at your initial application to find interesting things to ask you about.

    I don't believe med schools expect their applicants to be super human - although this website seems to say otherwise.

    Just be you and hopefully a school out there will like who you are and grab you.
     
  11. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    No, not applying now. I wasn't trying to fill up all 15 EC's either. What I'm saying is that I really don't HAVE any EC's, except for that one place I volunteer at. That's it. Just one thing. And, well the obvious, I'm a parent. But I don't want to put down "I'm a parent". What I was trying to explain in my post was what if instead of "I'm a parent", I write down an activity that I do with my child. My EC's would then look like this:

    1.) Volunteer at free clinic as medical interpreter to the uninsured.
    2.) Take weekly swimming lessons with 2 year old.

    That's it. I was trying to say that it probably looks better to write down an activity than to just state that I have a kid. And also, by writing it down as an activity, I'm obviously indirectly stating "I'm a parent". I wasn't saying that I'm GOING to do this...I was presenting the idea and asking for opinions.

    I appreciate the feedback. Thanks!
     
  12. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    And, based on what you've said, you also probably have a very interesting personal statement.
     
  13. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I still think you should talk about your child in your PS. Put the things like the hospital volunteering you're doing as an EC. Normally, you don't include things from HS in your AMCAS, but you have such a great EC that it's a shame not to include it. Have you played at all since leaving HS, even for fun? If so, I think if I were you that I would put the violin as an EC extending from HS to the present. Just explain in the space below that you had to give up formal violin activities after your baby was born, but you still continued to play for personal enjoyment/friends/family (assuming you have).

    BTW, I agree with lilnoelle that if you don't have 15 things to list, then don't fill all the spaces with fluff just to fill them. You're better off having half a dozen quality ECs than lots of superficial ones. Adcoms don't want to read through all kinds of s***, you know?
     
  14. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Please read my last post, I think you guys misunderstood me. I wasn't trying to fill up 15 EC's, I was trying to present a different way of saying "I'm a parent"...

    Thanks,
    Julie
     
  15. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Go ahead and write about your high school activities.
    Your volunteer work is longterm? That is a big plus. They'll see that and take that into consideration.
    I suppose you could include "raising a beautiful two year old daughter" as an EC and then (instead of writing your parenting activities) explain that you had a baby right out of high school and so you stay very busy with school and parenting.

    What I am saying is if you leave your child out of your ECs that your PS will explain your lack of ECs.
     
  16. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    I think if you talk about it briefly in your PS, it will speak for itself and present itself appropriately. You won't have to account for your time as a parent in your Work/Activities section. Most adcoms will understand and probably bring it up during the interviews.
     
  17. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    You are a nontrad. You definitely have other activities; you're just not thinking outside the box here. For example, have you ever:

    1) Worked at a job after graduating HS?
    2) Joined an avocational group (running group, book club, etc.)?
    3) Done things in your own home for money?
    4) Initiated any kind of activity that shows leadership (ex. started a play group)?
    5) Been involved with any kind of athletic activities?
    6) Volunteered at your place of worship?
    7) Tutored other students either as a job or as a volunteer?
    8) Been a mentor?
    9) Had a hobby (collecting things, etc.)?
    10) Been involved in your child's school (ex. PTA or room mother)?

    There are tons of things you've done besides just stay at home with your child and go to school in the past decade. Sit down, make yourself a list, and pick the best half dozen.
     
  18. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Sorry, you posted that while I was writing my other post. :oops:
     
  19. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    And I'm trying to say that I was similar. I also didn't have much to list because I got pregnant when I was young. (22 instead of 18)
    I also came from a disadvantaged family and so I didn't have a whole lot of opportunity to come up with ECs and volunteering.

    Adcomm's take that all into account and I think it will not hurt you.
    Also - I don't think a lack in number of ECs will not prevent you from getting an interview. You have at least one quality EC (Plus I agree, add musical interests in there too.) Once you get an interview, you have lots of interesting things to talk about.
     
  20. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Okay, I totally understand what everyone is saying ... the best thing is to write about being a parent in my PS.

    However, that leaves me with the thought...if I really do take swimming lessons with my child (which I intend on doing - and it has nothing to do with medical school, I just want to do it) isn't it technically still an EC activity? Maybe I shouldn't mention that I do it with my child in order to sound more professional? But couldn't I still list "swimming lessons"?

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate your responses!

    ~Julie
     
  21. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I think I would put "swimming" down as a hobby. I'm not sure about "swimming lessons". But what you might find is that an interviewer 6 months from your application is going to ask you about your swimming hobby (perhaps expecting awards, etc) and you'll have to say that you do it just for fun. Not a bad thing, but maybe a slight let down as well.
     
  22. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    :laugh: Ok, so put swimming as one of your ECs. And then you can talk about how it gives you a chance to spend time with your child along with being important for safety in FL. Which is totally true; my parents made me learn to swim when I was four for the very same reason. And it's a good thing they did; I accidentally fell into a pool fully dressed when I was about seven or eight. I've never been a super swimmer, but I didn't drown anyway. :p
     
  23. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Well, you have to understand that the primary application is designed primarily for college students, so the idea of "extracurricular" has a particular connotation associated with it, meaning "experiences outside of the college curriculum." However, as non-trads, we go out of the box and mention other noteworthy experiences that add to our dimensionality and our suitability toward medical school. Use your own judgment as to what experiences qualify for that.

    Nevertheless, remember that you are writing an application that is geared around medical school. Thus, although you want to market yourself as a well-rounded person, you are trying to sell yourself as an ideal candidate for a medical school. Keep that in mind. ;)
     
  24. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    I AM a non-trad. BUT, I'm not THAT kind of non-trad. I'm 22, my baby is almost 3, I got pregnant when I was 18, my mom has paid for EVERYTHING (thankfully!) and thanks to her I'm still in college. In otherwords, it hasn't been a DECADE.

    You did mention a couple things...I tutored math one summer, and worked as a chiropractic assistant for about three months while pregnant, I went to Colombia for two weeks...I just converted to Catholicism, so I plan on becoming more involved (hopefully), although I don't know if this counts, but I spend a LOT of time reading about theology...I LOVE it. But...I don't think "reading" counts, does it?
     
  25. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Good point, thanks.
     
  26. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Sorry, I misunderstood your time line. You spent a decade playing violin; I mis-remembered. :oops:

    Anyway, look, you've already come up with some good stuff. Tutoring. Working as a chiropractic assistant. Colombia could be good, depending on what you did there. And if you do get involved with volunteering for your church, definitely include that. Look, you're already up to your half dozen including the swimming and volunteering that you're already doing, plus the job you'll be working this coming year. :)

    Edit: Oh, and definitely the music. Don't forget to include that. It's a neat EC.
     
  27. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I'm having a hard time with this. The only medical related stuff I've done is my volunteering and my premed courses. I'm not even a science major. But, I didn't think I had any non-medically related EC's to put down, b/c I thought violin playing didn't count because it was mainly in high school...so I wanted SOMETHING that's not medically related that I can be active in now and enjoy and put down as an EC. Like I said, I don't have many (barely ANY!) and I don't want to put down JUST "I volunteer at a clinic".
     
  28. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    :thumbup: :thumbup: I agree with the above.

    Yup, and the music counts as an "Artistic Endeavor," a bonafide category in the Work/Activities section, I believe.
     
  29. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Okay, so for clarification, music counts. Tutoring counts. Church work would count. Swimming might count...

    The ones that I'm not sure about are Colombia and Chiropractic Assistant. Colombia, I was just a tourist, visiting family, who I hadn't seen in a long time (my first time there). The Chiropractic Assistant, I'm afraid Medical Schools seem "anti" Chiropractic to me. I'm hesitant to write that. What do you think? I could also just put down office manager, or receptionist or something, because essentially that's what I did...just for a Chiropractor, who had me learn about being a "Chiropractic Assistant" as they call it (it seems to be an actual career, but I'm not sure).

    And leave Parenting in the PS.

    Thoughts?
     
  30. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Q, lilnoelle, and yourself came up with some good ideas. I think they ought to suffice. While EC's are important to complete the whole applicant profile, it is only one element that adcoms will be examining. They are also looking at UGPA, MCAT score, your essays, and your interview. Put down what you can in terms of EC's (which, by the way, you are fairly on par with many folks your age in terms of "medically-related" activities, in my experience) and shine as much as you can in the other places, and I think you will probably be okay.
     
  31. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks! :) I g2g pick up my lil' one now. Bye!
     
  32. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Yup, sounds good to me. You can list swimming as a hobby. I think "hobby" is a category.

    I don't think you have to worry about attracting negative sentiments in regard to listing chiropractic assistant; it's a good people-centered EC, in my opinion. I don't think the adcoms will likely view it as negative as long as you don't try to make chiropractic into medicine. In fact, it is involvement with patients and that is very beneficial experience any way you slice it. Just focus on your involvement, not specifically the chiropractic, if you are worried. Use your best judgment, though, on how to proceed with that particular experience. I'm not an adcom, so I can't say for sure how they might think or actually view it, but FWIW, I would personally list the experience.

    Sounds good.
     
  33. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    In that case, I vote yes on including the chiropractic job (it's health related after all---is there any chance your old boss could write you a LOR?), and no on the Colombia trip. Though you could mention the trip in your PS too, since it sort of relates to your major.
     
  34. Static Line

    Static Line America's Guard of Honor 5+ Year Member

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    I worked a full time job in undergrad. Undergrad was fulltime itself. I had no time for any traditional EC and had none listed on my app. When I didn't have to study or work I was with my family. I am an MSII now. I think you'll be ok w/o all the fluff in your app if the rest of your app is in order......... eg. MCAT and GPA.
     
  35. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    about the reading theology, could you maybe join a discussion group at your church. then you could very easily include it as an ec. plus, it'd be a good opportunity to meet more people at your church.
     
  36. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Most of my ECs were jobs that I held in college and directly afterwards. It was sort of funny, the job that I was most embarrassed about (while working there) was the EC that really was the best EC that I had. I was a manager in a fast food restaurant, which (showing the problems with pride) just really felt beneath me the whole time I worked there. I didn't want to be there, I had a college education, I wanted to go to medical school!!!

    Anyway, nearly everyone I talked to loved it because of the leadership and business experience it offered me.

    It just goes to show that you can never know what people are looking for. Sometimes what you think is unimportant other people really like.

    I think your strongest EC is golden. To work as a spanish interpretor for a long period of time in a medical clinic is just fantastic. In larger cities, your skill with Spanish will be VERY helpful.

    Your personal statement should also be very unique.

    I think the important thing in med school application is to really find your strong points and shine. Try to be different and interesting - but definitely be yourself. Realize that you really do have great things to offer and let the med schools know.
     
  37. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Oh, thanks! That's encouraging. However, I have it easier....so it won't be so easy for me to get by with no EC's. I don't work and go to school full-time. I go to school full-time now, and I will work full-time for at least one year when I graduate undergrad. (My mother has supported me financially throughout undergraduate, thankfully.) So I don't have THAT good of an excuse for not having EC's, hence I do have some, just not many. But thanks for your input!
     
  38. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I think one thing to realize (it took me a while to realize this) is a lot of med school applicants really have life handed to them on a plate. They don't have to work, they have plenty of money to play, and they have lots of contacts via mommy and daddy to have job opportunities and fantastic volunteer opportunities.

    Now, you are blessed to have your mother's help. That really made a difference for you. However, you have a child in addition to going to school. There is no way for you to compete as far as ECs are concerned with the rest of the med school applicant pool.
    Adcomms see this and will probably be lenient. They certainly were with me. I can't say this for sure, but med schools like to have a diverse class - and that doesn't only mean race. They like to admit people that can prove themself worthy in spite of challenge. That makes people like us stick out from the average "mummy and daddy were doctors and I want to be one too" applicant.

    And honestly (as far as I'm concerned), I don't think they have any reason to be lenient, you have a very good (I think longterm) EC.
     
  39. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    You know...this one I've got to think about. I'm hesitant because it falls under "religion". But, I LOVE religion. Some crazy background: I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, and I'm currently converting to Catholicism. In order to become a Catholic, I need to attend a weekly meeting called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), where we BASICALLY discuss the teachings of the Church, some theology - not too much depth, though. This is of course in addition to weekly Catholic Mass. The RCIA program lasts one year. I just started it. In my eyes it could be an EC...but do I really wanna put that there? It's religious after all...

    Thoughts?

    Note that I wasn't thinking of putting it as an EC but since you mentioned a discussion group, which is truly what RCIA is....and it was my love of theology that led me to become Catholic (for I wasn't raised Catholic) and I've put a LOT of hours into reading about this, like I said before. My instincts tell me it could be a bad idea to bring up my specific religion however. Then again, it's my faith that has played a HUGE role in my wanting to study medicine....so I dunno. Again, thoughts?
     
  40. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I don't think there is anything wrong with mentioning religion in your application. Religion is very much a part of most individuals lives.

    My interviewers loved that I mentioned religious activities in my application. It definitely helps if your interviewers are of similar beliefs, but as long as one doesn't come across as dogmatic or closed minded, I don't think it hurts to differ in beliefs.

    Do you know that we actually are encouraged to do "spiritual interviews" as a part of our medical history? My medical school devoted a lecture to that very topic. They said that something like 75% of medical schools cover the "spiritual interviewas a part of their curriculum.
    Religion is a part of our patients lives and therefore we should be willing to talk about it. What is important is that you don't come across as condescending to other beliefs or closed minded. With your story - I don't think thats likely.
     
  41. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    You mean I've got another EC? How awesome! See how helpful you've all been? I love you all! :D

    I suppose if I put that one down, I'd say something like "attended RCIA classes for a year, in order to convert to Catholicism"? I dunno, I've got to figure out how to phrase it.
     
  42. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    I really need to stop stressing, lol, just look at how frantic I sound!
     
  43. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    I understand. I've only just completed the medical school application process, and I know how stressful and frantic it can be. Remember to breathe and to take your mind off of it every once in a while. ;)
     
  44. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    What are RCIA classes?

    I might say my interest in the Catholic church has led me to take classes studying their beliefs. (or whatever the classes are about) I also spend a good deal of time reading books on religion because I'm very interested in religious beliefs and theology... (or whatever your interest is - some people like religious history, philosophy, etc)
     
  45. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, and it's a class that you take once a week for a year in order to convert to Catholicism. It's like a discussion group, with a leader, and it's like class too, cause we learn about Catholic theology and beliefs.

    I think it would be a good idea to add it, after all it is a huge part of my life. Other than medicine, the only other academic things that I've ever had a huge passion for were music and theology.
     
  46. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I say add it. I don't think adcoms will hold your religious interests and beliefs against you; many if not most med students and physicians are religious, though not everyone will talk about it necessarily.
     
  47. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

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    Haha, as a result of this discussion, I was remembering all the things I've done since high school, and I remembered one of the greatest! (I couldn't believe I had forgotten!) It was a job I held seasonally for a year, had to quit due to the pregnancy b/c it required too much physical exertion....I'm not supposed to say what it is, BUT, I can say that I was working at Walt Disney World and I was "best friends" with Chip and Dale, Timon, The White Rabbit, Suzy and Perla, and a couple other characters. The responsibility of the "best friend" is to walk the character around the park..............but my skin was never exposed to the sun light. Get it? :p

    Is there a "jobs" category on the medical school application? Do they care to know where we've worked? Only if it's medically related?
     
  48. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting.... Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    OMG, you definitely have to include that. What an awesome EC. :thumbup:
     
  49. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Sounds really cool. Definitely list it! :cool:

    Yes, I think the category is called "paid employment," or something of the sort. I believe I listed a thing or two that was in that category, when I thought it was an important and revealing experience about me. I don't think it has to be medically-related, per se, just meaningful.
     
  50. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

    138
    0
    Jun 18, 2006
    Florida
    Cool....now if I could only get a job as Hermione at Universal Studios Florida....have you heard the speculation about a Harry Potter attraction there? :D :clap:
     
  51. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Wouldn't doubt it, with the immense popularity of Harry Potter. I'm actually considering a trip down there soon. :D
     

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