Is this a legitimate answer to "i have no volunteering?"

drcoxer

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who likes doing volunteering work? honestly, how many ppl do you see VOLUNTEERING once they get their career going? you can argue you're also really busy when you're in high school and college...too busy for volunteering so the whole "career=your LIFE and no extra time" thing isn't an excuse. i don't know a single person who volunteers willingly and not for a resume. most of my friends don't do any because they aren't going into medicine where they like volunteering. the premed friends i do have either 1) don't have it or 2) do it for your resume. if they didn't volunteer all their life and all of a sudden start it up during college, obviously for med school.

the truth 99% of ppl would rather relax and chill than spend their free time helping strangers. i'd love to volunteer at a nursing home where my grandma is. she needs me...the other ppl there should be taken care of by THEIR families. that's the problem with this country...no offense...freakin jus throw your parents off to the side.

i volunteered in HS and later i was like "wait, i'm just doing this for a resume to get into a good undergrad school. pushing ppl around in wheelchairs is boring, not to mention i only actually do something 5 minutes/hour and sit and play cards for the rest of the 55 minutes with the other volunteers." now wanting to help ppl but also makes you money is completely different. that's why i think ppl want to go into healthcare. they want to help ppl but they also need to make money. you don't see nurses volunteering to be nurses for free.

so anyways, once college started i was like "i don't see the point in volunteering if it's just for your resume. that's stupid and bad intentioned." so what did i do, i didn't do any volunteering. i started doing research instead and shadowed and have been doing that all through college. will it comeback to bite me in the *** this year when i apply? most likely, but hell, i'm not gonna do something because it makes me look good. sorry. i have one friend who volunteers at a hispanic clinic where he translates spanish from the patients to the workers. this is obviously a real good thing, but he is also benefiting a lot from this because he is practicing and keeping up his spanish and looking damn good doing it. so while he has some good intentions i'm sure, he still is wreaking benefit from this. not 100% altruistic...i would do that too if i was fluent in spanish...it'd be totally worth it.

that's the honest truth. how bad would this make you look in an interview? haha i would like to believe they would agree with you, since, honestly, it is true for most ppl, and i'd think being honest with them is the #1 thing you should do. on this topic, i don't know if that'd fly tho haha
 

endocardium

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Well, if that's the truth, then so be it. However, it's going to hamper your progress since volunteering tends to be one of the hoops you must jump through in order gain admission to medical school. I think it would be pretty silly to stub yourself in the foot because you are too stubborn to realize what you need to do to get in. Grit your teeth and volunteer your time. Kill two birds with one stone by volunteering in a setting where you can easily gain some clinical experience. Seriously. Now is not the time to get all principled about this stuff. Do what you need to do. It's much bigger than you and your ego; your defiance isn't going to change anything, but it could set it up so that you don't get accepted.
 

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no, if you are not willing to pretend you like people, this job is not right for you.
 
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According to my advisers, many schools have an unspoken volunteering requirement. Also, I do agree slightly that MANY of the hoops we premeds must jump through have become robotic and just another item on a checklist. I've always looked at Prof recommendations in the same light. For what it's worth I would just do it and hope and try to get something out of it.
 

diosa428

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First of all, you should find volunteering that you're interested in. It doesn't have to be hospital volunteering. You can volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen or with the local church or on campus or whatever. The point of volunteering is to show that you are capable of being selfless every once in a while. And the fact that you cannot give up a couple hours every week or every 2 weeks suggests to me that you can't handle that. I think you can still probably get admitted without volunteering, but I think your excuse is a pretty poor one.
 

drcoxer

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no, if you are not willing to pretend you like people, this job is not right for you.

that's not what i'm saying at all. i really like helping ppl, but basically i need some incentive to get myself off my butt. doctors don't work for free, nurses don't work for free, no one in the medical field works for free. of course money is a factor. i feel the difference in going into medicine and business is in medicine you make money and help ppl while business you just make money. i feel the ppl who want to help ppl and who are just interested in the body, treatment, etc. go into medicine.

the thing is i loved shadowing. it was amazing. the doctors let me interact heavily with the patients and i loved it. i really liked talking with them and helping them if they needed something. i have easily over 100 hours of shadowing, but that's shadowing. that doesn't count as volunteering, or does it?

last summer i worked in a clinic at the front desk and loved it. i was only paid like $7/hr...i wasn't doing it for the money but for the experience and helping patients. i could have just as easily worked behind a desk at Boeing and have made $15/hour. but still...i received some payment so this isn't volunteering. see what i'm getting at?
 

endocardium

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First of all, you should find volunteering that you're interested in. It doesn't have to be hospital volunteering. You can volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen or with the local church or on campus or whatever. The point of volunteering is to show that you are capable of being selfless every once in a while.

I agree. It shouldn't be too hard to find something you are interested in, where you feel like it's worth donating a bit of your time. Everyone I know did it easily. These so-called "hoops" to admission can definitely become robotic if you let them be. It's up to you to find meaning in the process. If you approach the process robotically, it's going to piss you off and it will tend to be transparent to the admissions staff.

Make it work for you. Demonstrate your creativity and spirit in meeting these challenges. That's one of the things that helps you stand out as an applicant.

FWIW, during your clinical years of medical school and beyond, you will feel like you are basically donating your time. Get used to it. If you can't, then, yeah, this profession is not for you.
 

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that's not what i'm saying at all. i really like helping ppl, but basically i need some incentive to get myself off my butt. doctors don't work for free, nurses don't work for free, no one in the medical field works for free. of course money is a factor. i feel the difference in going into medicine and business is in medicine you make money and help ppl while business you just make money. i feel the ppl who want to help ppl and who are just interested in the body, treatment, etc. go into medicine.

the thing is i loved shadowing. it was amazing. the doctors let me interact heavily with the patients and i loved it. i really liked talking with them and helping them if they needed something. i have easily over 100 hours of shadowing, but that's shadowing. that doesn't count as volunteering, or does it?

last summer i worked in a clinic at the front desk and loved it. i was only paid like $7/hr...i wasn't doing it for the money but for the experience and helping patients. i could have just as easily worked behind a desk at Boeing and have made $15/hour. but still...i received some payment so this isn't volunteering. see what i'm getting at?

hey, don't try to justify yourself to me, I totally agree with most of that. I was just being sarcastic.
 

drcoxer

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I agree. It shouldn't be too hard to find something you are interested in donating a bit of your time. Everyone I know did it easily. These so-called "hoops" to admission can become robotic if you let them be. It's up to you to find meaning in the process. If you approach them robotically, it's going to piss you off and it will tend to be transparent to the admissions staff.

Make it work for you. Show your creativity and spirit in meeting these challenges.

i see. can you read what i just posted above your reply? i loved shadowing, working at the frontdesk of a clinic, etc. since i got to interact and help the patients. BUT, shadowing or stuff like that do not count as volunteering, right?
 

endocardium

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i see. can you read what i just posted above your reply? i loved shadowing, working at the frontdesk of a clinic, etc. since i got to interact and help the patients. BUT, shadowing or stuff like that do not count as volunteering, right?

Well, the essence, then, is that you love interacting with and working with patients. It shouldn't be difficult to find a situation where you are not getting paid to do what you love. There's no reason you couldn't do that, except stubborness. I've known people who had a family (several young children), a fulltime job, and also attended an evening post-baccalaureate program, who found the time to volunteer.

Like I said before, you will be "volunteering" your time abundantly in your clinical years of medical school and beyond, for better or worse. Get yourself accustomed to it now.
 

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Well, the essence, then, is that you love interacting with and working with patients. It shouldn't be difficult to find a situation where you are not getting paid to do what you love. There's no reason you couldn't do that, except stubborness.

Like I said before, you will be "volunteering" your time abundantly in your clinical years of medical school and beyond, for better or worse. Get yourself accustomed to it now.

yeah, i would have no problem doing that. but again, you technically have the incentive to do that because you need for your degree. that still isn't TRUE volunteer work...you just aren't getting paid. i don't know...that's why i feel most volunteers have some kind of alterior motive.

basically, i lost the habit of volunteering in college. im applying this summer and this next year ill have lots of free time. ive already setup a volunteering job at a hospital b/c it's just one of those things you need to do IMO. but again, i still find part of my reason of doing it to be unethical. i don't know...if i'm asked during an interview i'll probably say that. also stress i did get my share of patient contact with shadowing and working, and i did some true-to-life hospital volunteering in high school but felt i accomplished what there was to gain out of it during high school. the thing is i can see myself turning into an argument and then look reallly, really bad at the interview. i don't know...i'm still sorting this out ahha. hence why i posted this...
 

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honestly, how many ppl do you see VOLUNTEERING once they get their career going?
Not many. But not many folks are in medicine. It's a different career.
i don't know a single person who volunteers willingly and not for a resume.
How many doctors do you know? You'd be surpised how many still volunteer at clinics and on boards even after established.

How many medical students to do you know? I'd say most I know still volunteer in some capacity or another. And if they think this is going to give thema boost in residency selection, they've been misinformed.
the premed friends i do have either 1) don't have it or 2) do it for your resume. if they didn't volunteer all their life and all of a sudden start it up during college, obviously for med school.
Lots of premeds just volunteer and go through the motions to check of boxes on their AMCAS. But you'd be suprised how many are sincere. Just because you and some of your friends do the checkbox thing, don't assume it's true for everyone.
the truth 99% of ppl would rather relax and chill than spend their free time helping strangers.
True. But 99% of people do not work in healthcare. You might be suprised how many people do volunteer.
that's why i think ppl want to go into healthcare. they want to help ppl but they also need to make money. you don't see nurses volunteering to be nurses for free.
Where are you getting this stuff? Again, you're entitled to your opinion, but you are kinda coming across as someone who doesn't have much exposure to the healthcare field. You should learn more about it before becoming too committed to medicine. Not only for your application, but to make sure that you're really going down the right path for you.

Like doctors, I know lots of nurses who volunteer. I'm sure many don't, but at volunteer functions where nurses help out, I haven't seen a shortage.
that's the honest truth. how bad would this make you look in an interview? haha i would like to believe they would agree with you, since, honestly, it is true for most ppl, and i'd think being honest with them is the #1 thing you should do.
It would make you look bad not because you'd come across as this cool rebel who's willing to speak the truth, but as this guy who wants to be a doctor but doesn't seem to have much insight into what a lot of doctors and nurses are like.

It's particularly ironic that you talk about shadowing in the same breath. Mention this idea of doctors not volunteering to the physician you're shadowing. Hopefully he'll mention that he's not letting you tag along for his health or because he gets paid any more.
 

endocardium

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yeah, i would have no problem doing that. but again, you technically have the incentive to do that because you need for your degree. that still isn't TRUE volunteer work...you just aren't getting paid. i don't know...that's why i feel most volunteers have some kind of alterior motive.

If you need incentive, then don't go into the healthcare field. Seriously. If you love working with patients, etc., it shouldn't be hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps for a year or two to volunteer your time doing what you already love anyway. It's what you already enjoy, right? I volunteer because it's fun, it's of benefit to those I'm working with, and it gives me a chance to learn my craft.
 
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I have 0 volunteer hours, and I have very legitimate reasons why.

1) I take 17-18 hours a semester (double majoring)
2) I play collegiate tennis - around 3 hours of practice every day, along with 4-5 days a week playing matches. This is a fall and spring sport too. Since I receive athletic scholarship based on performance year to year, I have to make sure I put in extra work to keep that scholarship. Every weekend is taken up by matches against other colleges.
3) Since I pay for my education (what is left after athletic and academic scholarships), I work full time in the summer. 6 days a week, 8 hours a day. Whatever is left after I pay for education goes towards food, gas, etc. to get me through the semester.

As you can see, there is no time at all in my schedule to volunteer. I barely have time to feed myself, take a shower, and have any leisure time that doesn't consist of studying. If an admissions team is going to reject me on the sole reason that I have 0 volunteer hours, then that is just plain ignorance.
 

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Not many. But not many folks are in medicine. It's a different career.
How many doctors do you know? You'd be surpised how many still volunteer at clinics and on boards even after established.

How many medical students to do you know? I'd say most I know still volunteer in some capacity or another. And if they think this is going to give thema boost in residency selection, they've been misinformed.
the premed friends i do have either 1) don't have it or 2) do it for your resume. if they didn't volunteer all their life and all of a sudden start it up during college, obviously for med school.
Lots of premeds just volunteer and go through the motions to check of boxes on their AMCAS. But you'd be suprised how many are sincere. Just because you and some of your friends do the checkbox thing, don't assume it's true for everyone.

True. But 99% of people do not work in healthcare. You might be suprised how many people do volunteer.

Where are you getting this stuff? Again, you're entitled to your opinion, but you are kinda coming across as someone who doesn't have much exposure to the healthcare field. You should learn more about it before becoming too committed to medicine. Not only for your application, but to make sure that you're really going down the right path for you.

Like doctors, I know lots of nurses who volunteer. I'm sure many don't, but at volunteer functions where nurses help out, I haven't seen a shortage.

It would make you look bad not because you'd come across as this cool rebel who's willing to speak the truth, but as this guy who wants to be a doctor but doesn't seem to have much insight into what a lot of doctors and nurses are like.

It's particularly ironic that you talk about shadowing in the same breath. Mention this idea of doctors not volunteering to the physician you're shadowing. Hopefully he'll mention that he's not letting you tag along for his health or because he gets paid any more.


all those cases you mentioned, tho, are completely involved with their work. obviously doctors are not paid for letting you shadow them, but they are already at work and it isn't too much harder for them to have you follow them around. you don't see them coming in to work without being paid at all just so you can shadow them, now do you? they'd rather be at home with their families. stop playing devil's advocate.

nurses coming in and volunteering do that as part of their work. the volunteering you're referring to to those events that are LINKED to their job. they are not paid for it but, come on, it comes along with the job. it's still part of their field...how many nurses do you see volunteering at soup kitchens? exactly.

the adults i do know who volunteer their time HAVE a lot of freetime so they want to do something. otherwise, they may be stay-at-home moms or something and feel like they are not contributing. my mom is just like this...she was a former nurse but gave it up when her kids were born. my dad makes enough money and she doesn't need to work. once we got a lil older, she started volunteering as a preschool teacher, which he's done every day for the past 10 years. she wants to be active, tho, if she was still a nurse i don't think she'd be volunteering as a teacher.

you can like helping ppl but still want some money in return. yeah, let's see you keep up med school if you aren't going to paid for it later!
 

notdeadyet

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doctors don't work for free, nurses don't work for free, no one in the medical field works for free.
Just plain wrong. Both work plenty for free. Spend more time with them and you'll see this to be true.
i have easily over 100 hours of shadowing, but that's shadowing. that doesn't count as volunteering, or does it?
There are three questions that volunteering helps adcoms answer about you:

1. Does he know what it really means to be a doctor?
2. Has he worked clinically with patients?
3. Is his heart in the right place?

Shadowing is great for #1. Clinical volunteering in an ER or free clinic can also resolve #1 (though not always. Make sure you're actually working with physicians and not working solely with nurses).

Shadowing can be so-so for #2. Hanging around at a doctor's coat tails doesn't always allow for much direct patient interaction. Adcoms like seeing that you've held some responsibility and have worked directly with the patient base. Some shadowing opportunities afford that, but most shadowing experiences consist of you as a fly on the walll, which doesn't qualify.

The last one is more ethereal and will depend more on you than the experience. the one things I will say is this: if you think that most of your premed buddies are just going through the motions, keep in mind that half of med applicants do not get in. For many this is because of scores and whatnot, but for quite a few, it's because adcoms get the feeling you're going through the motions.

And if you're of the attitude, "Oh, I can fake my passion..." please keep in mind that many of your interviewers will have been doing this a long time. Most young and inexperienced interviewees seem to think they kill at interviews and can really fool you, but it's just not the case. Just do what you love and be sincere.
last summer i worked in a clinic at the front desk and loved it. i was only paid like $7/hr...i wasn't doing it for the money but for the experience and helping patients. i could have just as easily worked behind a desk at Boeing and have made $15/hour. but still...i received some payment so this isn't volunteering. see what i'm getting at?
Sitting at the front desk of your clinic doesn't give you much direct involvement with doctors (#1) and isn't all that impressive for working clinically with patients (#2). The main upside to working front desk at a clinic would be for showing your heart's in the right place (#3), which would only really fly if you were doing it for free.
 

endocardium

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I have 0 volunteer hours, and I have very legitimate reasons why.

1) I take 17-18 hours a semester (double majoring)
2) I play collegiate tennis - around 3 hours of practice every day, along with 4-5 days a week playing matches. This is a fall and spring sport too. Since I receive athletic scholarship based on performance year to year, I have to make sure I put in extra work to keep that scholarship. Every weekend is taken up by matches against other colleges.
3) Since I pay for my education (what is left after athletic and academic scholarships), I work full time in the summer. 6 days a week, 8 hours a day. Whatever is left after I pay for education goes towards food, gas, etc. to get me through the semester.

As you can see, there is no time at all in my schedule to volunteer. I barely have time to feed myself, take a shower, and have any leisure time that doesn't consist of studying. If an admissions team is going to reject me on the sole reason that I have 0 volunteer hours, then that is just plain ignorance.

You can find at least a couple of hours a week to volunteer. "I have no time," is not a valid excuse, in my opinion. There is usually a way to arrange your schedule to create an hour or two a week. You don't have to get all formulaic. You can create your volunteer experiences to work with your predilections and schedule. Like I said, I've know folks who had several young kids, a fulltime job, and who were attending school...they were able to create time to volunteer. You should be able to as well. I'm not saying it's going to be easy. It probably won't. But it shows, in part, your dedication, if you can swing it.
 

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If you need incentive, then don't go into the healthcare field. Seriously. If you love working with patients, etc., it shouldn't be hard to pull yourself up by the bootstraps for a year or two to volunteer your time doing what you already love anyway. It's what you already enjoy, right? I volunteer because it's fun, it's of benefit to those I'm working with, and it gives me a chance to learn my craft.

exactly. you're really busy as a med student. you wouldn't be doing volunteering that is not related to you becoming a better doctor. you aren't spending all that time in a soup kitchen. you're spending it somewhere where YOU will also benefit. that's all i'm arguing about.

even the med students who have basically flamed me here, the volunteering you speak of are involved with your work and benefit you in some way.

physicians who let you shadow them are definitely amazing. they don't need you following them, it just slows them down. many enjoy it tho. i definitely see myself liking to have shadowers when i'm a doctor. at the sametime, like i said, i would not be coming into work when i'm off so a shadower can follow me. same goes for all physicians...they are already at work...it is DEFINITELY awesome of them to let you follow them, but still i'm just saying it isn't too much of a distraction either.
 

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I agree that you should volunteer in a field that interests you. Even though tons of people do it, there's no need to volunteer in a hospital. I learned this pretty quickly- I volunteered in a hospital for 2 years and hated it (due to paperwork/lack of patient contact), but then I found some other things to do. Now, I'm organizing a concert with a budget of 30,000 that should bring in 10000 for Feed the Children. I'm also going to South America to teach for two months.

You're right- the motive for my volunteering is not a totally selfless one. Running this concert is an awesome experience and I definitely get the benefit of going to a new place when I go to South America. There is almost no way that you can volunteer without some benefit- I challenge you to truly find conception of totally selfless volunteering.
 

endocardium

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exactly. you're really busy as a med student. you wouldn't be doing volunteering that is not related to you becoming a better doctor. you aren't spending all that time in a soup kitchen. you're spending it somewhere where YOU will also benefit. that's all i'm arguing about.

even the med students who have basically flamed me here, the volunteering you speak of are involved with your work and benefit you in some way.

physicians who let you shadow them are definitely amazing. they don't need you following them, it just slows them down. many enjoy it tho. i definitely see myself liking to have shadowers when i'm a doctor. at the sametime, like i said, i would not be coming into work when i'm off so a shadower can follow me. same goes for all physicians...they are already at work...it is DEFINITELY awesome of them to let you follow them, but still i'm just saying it isn't too much of a distraction either.

Nobody is saying you should volunteer in a soup kitchen. We are saying to volunteer doing what you love. If you love interacting with patients, then volunteer your time doing that. It's pretty simple.
 

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i don't know a single person who volunteers willingly and not for a resume.

Really? I know plenty of people who do. Both of my parents do a significant amount volunteer work, and neither one of them is really trying to add to their resume anymore. I did volunteer work the summer after highschool that never ended up on any application on resume, and I enjoyed it because it was rewarding to watch the kids make progress. When I was growing up, our church regularly held volunteer functions that I doubt anyone was putting on their resumes. People showed up, high school students included. Ever help an elderly neighbor with yardwork just because? I think if I was in your shoes I would seek out some new groups of friends. It would make me sad to live in a world where no one actually wanted to do things for other people. Maybe I'm just spoiled...
 

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There's nothing wrong with also benefiting from your volunteer experience. It doesn't make it less meaningful, or beneficial to those you help. In this universe, you can't really get something from nothing; that's physics.
 

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Really? I know plenty of people who do. Both of my parents do a significant amount volunteer work, and neither one of them is really trying to add to their resume anymore. I did volunteer work the summer after highschool that never ended up on any application on resume, and I enjoyed it because it was rewarding to watch the kids make progress. When I was growing up, our church regularly held volunteer functions that I doubt anyone was putting on their resumes. People showed up, high school students included. Ever help an elderly neighbor with yardwork just because? I think if I was in your shoes I would seek out some new groups of friends. It would make me sad to live in a world where no one actually wanted to do things for other people. Maybe I'm just spoiled...
:thumbup:
 
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yeah, and i feel i can thorougly answer all 3 of those things with my experience. i shadowed 100+ hours in an ER and the VA observing like 10+ specialities. you basically bashed my receptionist job at a clinic but the only thing it involved was interacting with patients, checking-in patients, billing and doing everything the nurse needed help with. a few tasks for the doctor and PA also...you bashed it saying it doesn't give me contact with physicians. you're right, it didn't give me much but i have plenty of shadowing for that reason.

also, my dad is a cardiologist. i'm very well aware of what it takes to be a doctor and the lifestyle. i know my heart is in right place because i know the reasons required for this field. no offense, but i may even know more about #1 than you do. you're a med student, which is great, but i've grown up around my dad, mom who was a nurse, and countless relatives and family friends who are physicians. i've been exposed to this for 20 years and, i mean, my dad was dragging to the hospital with him since i was 5 years old. i'd watch him do angioplasties as a 5 year old, no joke. you obviously no more about medical school, but not necessarily about the field since you haven't really started yet. thanks for your help, tho. it's really helpful. :)


Just plain wrong. Both work plenty for free. Spend more time with them and you'll see this to be true.

There are three questions that volunteering helps adcoms answer about you:

1. Does he know what it really means to be a doctor?
2. Has he worked clinically with patients?
3. Is his heart in the right place?

Shadowing is great for #1. Clinical volunteering in an ER or free clinic can also resolve #1 (though not always. Make sure you're actually working with physicians and not working solely with nurses).

Shadowing can be so-so for #2. Hanging around at a doctor's coat tails doesn't always allow for much direct patient interaction. Adcoms like seeing that you've held some responsibility and have worked directly with the patient base. Some shadowing opportunities afford that, but most shadowing experiences consist of you as a fly on the walll, which doesn't qualify.

The last one is more ethereal and will depend more on you than the experience. the one things I will say is this: if you think that most of your premed buddies are just going through the motions, keep in mind that half of med applicants do not get in. For many this is because of scores and whatnot, but for quite a few, it's because adcoms get the feeling you're going through the motions.

And if you're of the attitude, "Oh, I can fake my passion..." please keep in mind that many of your interviewers will have been doing this a long time. Most young and inexperienced interviewees seem to think they kill at interviews and can really fool you, but it's just not the case. Just do what you love and be sincere.

Sitting at the front desk of your clinic doesn't give you much direct involvement with doctors (#1) and isn't all that impressive for working clinically with patients (#2). The main upside to working front desk at a clinic would be for showing your heart's in the right place (#3), which would only really fly if you were doing it for free.
 

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Really? I know plenty of people who do. Both of my parents do a significant amount volunteer work, and neither one of them is really trying to add to their resume anymore. I did volunteer work the summer after highschool that never ended up on any application on resume, and I enjoyed it because it was rewarding to watch the kids make progress. When I was growing up, our church regularly held volunteer functions that I doubt anyone was putting on their resumes. People showed up, high school students included. Ever help an elderly neighbor with yardwork just because? I think if I was in your shoes I would seek out some new groups of friends. It would make me sad to live in a world where no one actually wanted to do things for other people. Maybe I'm just spoiled...

if not your earthly resume, then your heavenly one.

listen drcoxer, everyone has their reasons for doing things, and I would argue few people help others out of pure altruism. But the bottom line is you're not going to win this argument with an adcom because it is not a comfortable idea to accept. Just suck it up and do your time, just another absurdity of the premed culture.
 

Cardiac

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Again, there probably is no such thing as true altruism. Everybody that volunteers benefits in someway, even if it is just the good feeling that they get afterwards. There are no truly selfless good deeds (see the friends episode).
 

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I have 0 volunteer hours, and I have very legitimate reasons why.
Actually your reasons aren't all that legitimate. Applying to medical school and saying you didn't have time to volunteer is like trying out water polo saying you didn't have time to learn how to swim.

It's just pretty much a requirement. If you don't have time to do it now, come back and apply once you do.
1) I take 17-18 hours a semester (double majoring)
Well done. But weigh the benefit of a double major on your application (little to none) with the importance of volunteer time (clinical with pts, working with doctors, heart in the right place, etc.) far outweighs it.

If you're serious about medicine, you could just do a single major, but I know lots of double majors who still had time to volunteer. You could do a five year degree and have plenty of time to volunteer. It comes bad to how bad you want it.
2) I play collegiate tennis - around 3 hours of practice every day, along with 4-5 days a week playing matches. This is a fall and spring sport too. Since I receive athletic scholarship based on performance year to year, I have to make sure I put in extra work to keep that scholarship. Every weekend is taken up by matches against other colleges.
Cool. If you're on an athletic scholarship, definitely keep it up. Lots of folks manage athletics and still volunteer enough for med school.
3) Since I pay for my education (what is left after athletic and academic scholarships), I work full time in the summer. 6 days a week, 8 hours a day. Whatever is left after I pay for education goes towards food, gas, etc. to get me through the semester.
Ugh. This is the worst excuse.

If your college job puts you in jeopardy for not getting into med school, quit your college job and take out loans. Not allowing time to volunteer will definitely do one of two things: It will either keep you out of medical school entirely or reduce your options. Most medical schools either flat out require or have strong preferences for volunteering in applicants. If you don't have it, you'll simply be tossed aside.

Killing your chances or reducing your optionns for the sake of college money is penny wise and pound foolish. One extra year as a doctor's wages or going to a cheaper medical school will save you far more money than a part time job.

Take the financial aid, work less hours, volunteer more, and show a commitment towards becoming a doctor. It will help you in the long run if you're sure medicine is for you.
As you can see, there is no time at all in my schedule to volunteer. I barely have time to feed myself, take a shower, and have any leisure time that doesn't consist of studying.
You have no time because you have prioritized. You are placing tennis, academics, and your part-time job above your volunteering to become a doctor. Since volunteering is a requirement amongst most adcoms, you are essentially prioritizing medical school below the rest of your activities. Tennis sounds like a passion to you, so keep it. Academics are a requirement for medical school too (though not the double major, but keep it if it's a passion). The part-time work is not a requiement. It's a way to avoid loans. Medical school will require loans too. Start one now to ensure that you have the option of medical school.
If an admissions team is going to reject me on the sole reason that I have 0 volunteer hours, then that is just plain ignorance.
If you have 0 hours, many medical schools will reject you because they will say that medical school just isn't a high priority for you. And there are way too many people that are able to juggle busy schedules and still make time to volunteer. Hell, I've interviewed people who work full-time in college and still have a volunteering schedule. It's a matter of priorities.
 

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if not your earthly resume, then your heavenly one.

listen drcoxer, everyone has their reasons for doing things, and I would argue few people help others out of pure altruism. But the bottom line is you're not going to win this argument with an adcom because it is not a comfortable idea to accept. Just suck it up and do your time, just another absurdity of the premed culture.


actually I haven't been to church since, still volunteering...
 

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There's nothing wrong with also benefiting from your volunteer experience. It doesn't make it less meaningful, or beneficial to those you help. In this universe, you can't really get something from nothing; that's physics.

:thumbup: Interesting, but I also agree.

Plus, with volunteering, you do get EXPERIENCE. I mean, why would people go into a field if they have no idea what they are getting into? It allows you to learn about your prospective career field and know whether it is a good fit for you. And one more thing, I don't think you can fake "interest" in volunteering. There is some initiative on your part, whether it be "self-serving" as you would call it or if you are selfless and altruistic. If you are more of the latter, I think you can get more out of the volunteering experience than just another point in your resume.
 

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At the ER where I volunteer about 90% of the volunteers are older people who I think are retired. They volunteer because they like to give back and they want to have something to do during the day. Since these people are retired I don't think they are building a resume, I think that they just want to help out. Though I think one guy is an ex-con and his volunteering is somehow court ordered, but the rest of them seem pretty altruistic to me.
 

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obviously doctors are not paid for letting you shadow them, but they are already at work and it isn't too much harder for them to have you follow them around.
The time they take to answer your questions and let you shadow them is unpaid and of no benefit to them. they're doing it to help premeds. That's all.
you don't see them coming in to work without being paid at all just so you can shadow them, now do you?
I see lots of doctors coming in to volunteer in clinics and at functions. Your argument is just plain wrong. Maybe it's because you work in some community where none of the doctors ever volunteer. Or maybe it's because you really don't spend much significant time with doctors. I'm thinking the latter, because the idea that doctors don't volunteer just flies in the face of the experience of most folks who work a lot with doctors.
stop playing devil's advocate.
I'm not the devil's advocate, drcoxer. My experiences just differ from yours.
nurses coming in and volunteering do that as part of their work. the volunteering you're referring to to those events that are LINKED to their job. they are not paid for it but, come on, it comes along with the job.
Wow. See, volunteering for a good bit at a role that gives you lots of exposure to doctors and nurses would probably cure you of a lot of this.

Folks may have lots of different experience with nurses, but the one argument you won't hear is that they have a weak union. Every hour a nurse is required to work, he/she is paid for. When a nurse comes to a clinic on his/her off day to work without pay, it's isn't because of any requirement. It doesn't "come with the job" (?)
it's still part of their field...how many nurses do you see volunteering at soup kitchens? exactly.
I've seen nureses in non-medical volunteering environments. Not soup kitches, but I've never worked a soup kitchen.

I'd imagine the reason that you see nurses most often volunteering clinically is because they have a skill in this reason most people don't. If you're a carpenter, you're also probably more suited for Habitat. Make sense?
 

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notdeadyet said:
It's a matter of priorities.

Indeed! You'll learn all about that during medical school.

Anyway, I prefer the concept of "service beyond self" to volunteering, although volunteerism is certainly one way to demonstrate that. This type of service is critical to being a physician. Since we tend to value money a great deal, it shows something to give your time without financial reward. However, I'd go a step beyond that and suggest that the core of service is that you see yourself as part of something greater, that you are part of a continuum and have a responsibility to contribute consciously to that continuum. If you consider yourself an intimate part of your community, then you feel a natural sense of giving back to it. This doesn't mean you won't get some sort of benefit from the exchange (of course you do), but you also act for something greater than your own selfish reasons, for the good of your community.

Anyway, volunteering is a good way to demonstrate your commitment to service. It sends a clear message and it fits conveniently on the applications.
 

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the adults i do know who volunteer their time HAVE a lot of freetime so they want to do something.
You need to meet more adults. A heck of a lot of doctors I know do volunteer, and the one thing they don't have a lot of is free time.
you can like helping ppl but still want some money in return. yeah, let's see you keep up med school if you aren't going to paid for it later!
Careful with statements like that.

I actually already am in medical school and do volunteer. I'm at a free clinic every Saturday and work a couple of other sporadic volunteering events. Most med student friends I have still volunteer in some capacity or another.

If you make in to medical school eventually, I think you'll find that this experience isn't unusual. Be careful about assuming that the way you see things is the same for everyone. You may be in a minority.
 
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The time they take to answer your questions and let you shadow them is unpaid and of no benefit to them. they're doing it to help premeds. That's all.

I see lots of doctors coming in to volunteer in clinics and at functions. Your argument is just plain wrong. Maybe it's because you work in some community where none of the doctors ever volunteer. Or maybe it's because you really don't spend much significant time with doctors. I'm thinking the latter, because the idea that doctors don't volunteer just flies in the face of the experience of most folks who work a lot with doctors.

I'm not the devil's advocate, drcoxer. My experiences just differ from yours.

Wow. See, volunteering for a good bit at a role that gives you lots of exposure to doctors and nurses would probably cure you of a lot of this.

Folks may have lots of different experience with nurses, but the one argument you won't hear is that they have a weak union. Every hour a nurse is required to work, he/she is paid for. When a nurse comes to a clinic on his/her off day to work without pay, it's isn't because of any requirement. It doesn't "come with the job" (?)

I've seen nureses in non-medical volunteering environments. Not soup kitches, but I've never worked a soup kitchen.

I'd imagine the reason that you see nurses most often volunteering clinically is because they have a skill in this reason most people don't. If you're a carpenter, you're also probably more suited for Habitat. Make sense?

just go read my last post. yeah i agree i should not have said doctors don't volunteer their time at all. i just got a lil heated. i.e. my dad won teacher of the year or something twice for training residents. this wasn't part of his job...he just liked helping them out.

basically, i got offended when you said i don't know what the field is like. go read my very last comment to you before this one...
 

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Careful with statements like that.

I actually already am in medical school and do volunteer. I'm at a free clinic every Saturday and work a couple of other sporadic volunteering events. Most med student friends I have still volunteer in some capacity or another.

If you make in to medical school eventually, I think you'll find that this experience isn't unusual. Be careful about assuming that the way you see things is the same for everyone. You may be in a minority.

Agreed. You need to be very careful not to make it sound like you're just going into medicine for the money. Adcoms certinaly won't look favorably upon this, and you're not going impress many people even if you do get in. I'm not trying to tell you what your motivations are, but that's the impression you're giving.
 

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I have 0 volunteer hours, and I have very legitimate reasons why.

1) I take 17-18 hours a semester (double majoring)
2) I play collegiate tennis - around 3 hours of practice every day, along with 4-5 days a week playing matches. This is a fall and spring sport too. Since I receive athletic scholarship based on performance year to year, I have to make sure I put in extra work to keep that scholarship. Every weekend is taken up by matches against other colleges.
3) Since I pay for my education (what is left after athletic and academic scholarships), I work full time in the summer. 6 days a week, 8 hours a day. Whatever is left after I pay for education goes towards food, gas, etc. to get me through the semester.

As you can see, there is no time at all in my schedule to volunteer. I barely have time to feed myself, take a shower, and have any leisure time that doesn't consist of studying. If an admissions team is going to reject me on the sole reason that I have 0 volunteer hours, then that is just plain ignorance.

i complete agree with you. while the previous posters advice is pretty good overall, they really don't know what comes with being an collegiate athlete. i know many D1 athletes at my school and it's ridiculous how much time and working out you have to put into it, not including the away games you travel to. i can barely handle taking the 17-18 hrs/semester and research without complaining at times about my little free time. i seriously can't imagine having to be an athlete on top of that. why do you think you see so few ppl doing both. i'm sure you'll seem very well balanced and disciplined by med schools.
 

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Agreed. You need to be very careful not to make it sound like you're just going into medicine for the money. Adcoms certinaly won't look favorably upon this, and you're not going impress many people even if you do get in. I'm not trying to tell you what your motivations are, but that's the impression you're giving.

they aren't my #1 intentions, but i'd be lying if i said i don't want a good career to support my future family. i don't think anyone can really argue against that.
 

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also, my dad is a cardiologist. i'm very well aware of what it takes to be a doctor and the lifestyle. i know my heart is in right place because i know the reasons required for this field. no offense, but i may even know more about #1 than you do. you're a med student, which is great, but i've grown up around my dad, mom who was a nurse, and countless relatives and family friends who are physicians. i've been exposed to this for 20 years and, i mean, my dad was dragging to the hospital with him since i was 5 years old. i'd watch him do angioplasties as a 5 year old, no joke. you obviously no more about medical school, but not necessarily about the field since you haven't really started yet. thanks for your help, tho. it's really helpful. :)

This "experience" won't matter much to adcoms. While you clearly have had exposure to medicine via shadowing, don't expect your family experiences to outweigh your lack of volunteering.

What matters to adcoms is thoughtful, independent post-secondary patient interaction. Your shadowing experience certainly counts for this (assuming you had some degree of patient interaction in it), but lack of volunteering in some capacity will be viewed as a negative by adcoms, and there really isn't a satisfactory explanation that you can give to overcome it. Medicine requires a significant degree of selflessness, and while you can argue until your blue in the face that you possess this, without tangible experiences you won't convince an adcom.

Also, I echo notdeadyet's critique that your view on the volunteerism of medical professionals is simply plain wrong.
 

nevercold

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who likes doing volunteering work? honestly, how many ppl do you see VOLUNTEERING once they get their career going?

People who have a deeper understanding of both humanism and their place in society like doing volunteer work. After four years of medical school, I can say that I am very surprised by the significant number of physicians with incredibly busy schedules who still find ways to pursue volunteer work that they find particularly rewarding. The same is true for many of the other medical students in my class.

the truth 99% of ppl would rather relax and chill than spend their free time helping strangers.

Most of us find our default impulse to be relaxation or diversion. But after a while, you start to think, "Am I really accomplishing anything? I bet I could get more out of my time." When one hits that point, if he is smart he will search for an opportunity that has reward. In many cases, it is volunteer work that has significant personal reward. I've discovered that I love teaching, so spending a few hours a week at an after school program getting middle schoolers excited about reading or geography or science ended up being one of the best volunteer experiences I've ever had.

that's the problem with this country...no offense...freakin jus throw your parents off to the side.

Now this definitely demonstrates a lack of understanding about the current state of our healthcare system. As a population, our generational numbers are not proportionate. As individuals, many people do not have family around. Their family members may very well be struggling to just get by or may be living in other areas of the country. Sometimes families do abandon their elderly members, but *quite* often they just don't have the means or presence to help out. We are a community and we should learn to be family to each other.

pushing ppl around in wheelchairs is boring

Ever try engaging that person in conversation?

that's the honest truth. how bad would this make you look in an interview? haha i would like to believe they would agree with you, since, honestly, it is true for most ppl, and i'd think being honest with them is the #1 thing you should do. on this topic, i don't know if that'd fly tho haha

If I were you, I would practice how you will discuss this VERY carefully. Having been an interviewer for two years and having gotten to know the seniors members of the admissions staff at my institution, I know that the answer you have given here would get you rejected.

Unfortunately, I think your "honest truth" is a problem. I don't think that it means you should not be a physician. However, I do think it means that there are a TON of other applicants who should be selected before you. This application process is not just about proving that you deserve to be or should be a physician. You must also demonstrate that your potential exceeds the potential of other applicants (at least enough to get you a seat in an entering class).
 

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The problem is a lot of volunteering is bullshit unskilled labor like carrying boxes and fetching coffee. The truth is volunteers rarely get a chance to help people directly. And this can be frustrating, especially for us aspiring doctors who are more interested in actually helping people than adding another line to our resume. (maybe not true for some of you)

Example...Habitat for Humanity. That's a cool program with good intentions but in all honesty high school and college aged kids, most of whom are girls with absolutely no construction experience, do really crappy jobs of building houses. As a result the work is done at a much slower rate and with an obscene amount of wasted materials and resources (consider that the interior of one house i worked on with HFH was painted 4 separate times because the colors had been mixed up).

Couple that with other expenses - travel, insurance, food, lodging and then actual carpenters to fix all the screw-ups done by the volunteers - and it's arguable that more resources are wasted by the Habitat program than if the money was simply donated to hire professionals to do the job themselves. Plus there are the college loans accumulating debt while students volunteer instead of making money. But studenst love putting "President of x College Habitat for Humanity Club" on their resume. And it looks oh-so-altruistic to go all the way to New Orleans over spring break to "rebuild after Katrina." :rolleyes:

So in conclusion of my rant, worthwhile volunteer work is hard to find. Anyone can fetch coffee and pretend to build houses, but to actually do something meaningful you usually need to offer skills. A volunteer EMT or firefighter come to mind. Without skills though you'll probably be relegated to some very boring jobs that don't seem to directly help anyone at all. Or, as in HFH, the work you do is ultimately counterproductive and doesn't help anyone but yourself.
 

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yeah, and i feel i can thorougly answer all 3 of those things with my experience. i shadowed 100+ hours in an ER and the VA observing like 10+ specialities.
Great! if you can answer the three questions well, then you're in the pink. You shouldn't have a reason to worry.

When most people shadow, they are doing passive observation, which may not make the cut of working clinically with patients. As long as your shadowing does have that component, you're fine. But I worry that lots of premeds just follow the coattail of doctors for a while and figure that that qualifies. It probably won't.
you basically bashed my receptionist job at a clinic
I don't bash any honest work. Sorry if you feel that way. I'm just saying that most receptionist jobs will not make the grade for "clinical experience". If you feel that yours does, more power to you.
you bashed it saying it doesn't give me contact with physicians.
If you feel that I was "bashing" you by saying that working as a receptionist is not great experience for seeing how a physician works, you might want to get a thicker skin. I really didn't intend to hurt your feelings. My apologies.
also, my dad is a cardiologist.
Good stuff. Just a piece of advice: while it's fine mentioning this as an aside during interviews, be careful of using it too strongly to answer any qualification questions for medical schools. Sounds like you're doing lots of shadowing other than of your father, which is great. Seeing folks tying too much of their experience with their parents can come across as a negative during interviews.
 

riverwoman1040

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they aren't my #1 intentions, but i'd be lying if i said i don't want a good career to support my future family. i don't think anyone can really argue against that.

No one is saying that we don't want incomes that we can live comfortably on. What you are seeing is that there are others out there who view things differently than you do. You asked for advice. You're getting consistent advice from people who have more experience with this process than you do. They're telling you that those people who present their ideas on volunteering/service/motivations/altrusism/whatever differently than you currently are, are more likely to be admitted. Take it or leave it.
 

notdeadyet

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i've grown up around my dad, mom who was a nurse, and countless relatives and family friends who are physicians.
Wow. That really suprises me.

For someone that has "countless" physician relatives and family friends, I'm quite suprised that you said that:
drcoxer said:
i don't know a single person who volunteers willingly and not for a resume.
I'm not doubting your word, I'm just saying that although your family and their friends may not volunteer willingly, keep in mind that this is probably not a very good snapshot of physicians as a whole.

Many physicians volunteer quite willingly. If you don't see it among your family, their friends, or the physicians you shadow, that's cool. But be careful about approaching adcoms with that sentiment because most folks who have a decent level of exposure to physicians have had exactly the opposite experience. Something to keep in mind.
 

riverwoman1040

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So in conclusion of my rant, worthwhile volunteer work is hard to find. Anyone can fetch coffee and pretend to build houses, but to actually do something meaningful you usually need to offer skills. A volunteer EMT or firefighter come to mind. Without skills though you'll probably be relegated to some very boring jobs that don't seem to directly help anyone at all. Or, as in HFH, the work you do is ultimately counterproductive and doesn't help anyone but yourself.

I agree that worthwhile volunteering may be hard to find, but it's certainly possible. Everyone has some skill that's worth donating, it's just a matter of putting some thought into it.
 

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I'd agree with all the people on here emphasizing how much volunteer oriented physicians are, at least that is my personal experience. Definitely be careful when approaching this subject during an interview, as most of the interviewers are actually volunteering their own time for this purpose. Telling them, "nobody really likes volunteering," will not be the smartest move.
 

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i don't know a single person who volunteers willingly and not for a resume.

(Granted we don't know each other) but I do!

Reflecting on the life I live, I come from an upper middle class family, am going to college like both my siblings did, and am able to pursue the career of my choosing. All this because I just happened to be born into the right family. What if I came from a single parent household where mom had a $8/hr job. Would I be where I am today, probably not.

I volunteer because I am well aware of how lucky I am and how others are not so lucky because of circumstances that are out of their control. Giving back is my form of showing appreciation for what I have. I also enjoy it because it's my out from school. No text books not tests, just a fun times.
 

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yeah i agree i should not have said doctors don't volunteer their time at all. i just got a lil heated. i.e. my dad won teacher of the year or something twice for training residents. this wasn't part of his job...he just liked helping them out.

basically, i got offended when you said i don't know what the field is like.
No, that's not true. Your theory that doctors don't volunteer came out in your first post. I presumed you didn't know many doctors because of your statement in the first post that you "don't know a single person who volunteers willingly".

So I'm sorry you later got offended and glad to hear your dad was teacher of the year, but your ideas of physicians not volunteering came long before anyone assumed that you must not know any physicians. Let's keep it honest, yes?
 
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You should get out some more. I know lots of people who volunteer for no other reason than to help the people they're volunteering with. I help with a boys' program because the program needs volunteers, not because it's gonna look awesome on my residency application (it won't).
 

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Plenty of people actually enjoy volunteering and do so once they have a career going. You see, some people can stop being tools for five seconds and find an actually enjoyable way to volunteer rather than finding the single most generic pre-med volunteering activity and jumping on the treadmill to run after the carrot dangling out of some ADCOM's trousers.
 

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Great! if you can answer the three questions well, then you're in the pink. You shouldn't have a reason to worry.

When most people shadow, they are doing passive observation, which may not make the cut of working clinically with patients. As long as your shadowing does have that component, you're fine. But I worry that lots of premeds just follow the coattail of doctors for a while and figure that that qualifies. It probably won't.

I don't bash any honest work. Sorry if you feel that way. I'm just saying that most receptionist jobs will not make the grade for "clinical experience". If you feel that yours does, more power to you.

If you feel that I was "bashing" you by saying that working as a receptionist is not great experience for seeing how a physician works, you might want to get a thicker skin. I really didn't intend to hurt your feelings. My apologies.

Good stuff. Just a piece of advice: while it's fine mentioning this as an aside during interviews, be careful of using it too strongly to answer any qualification questions for medical schools. Sounds like you're doing lots of shadowing other than of your father, which is great. Seeing folks tying too much of their experience with their parents can come across as a negative during interviews.

i was pretty lucky with my shadowing experience. you're probably right about most premeds...they just follow the doctors around and are passive. i did all of my shadowing in the summer to avoid this. mainly b/c at school i'm in a different state and i don't have any connections to the hospitals. i don't know who's good to shadow and whatnot. home over the summer helped me a lot b/c my dad went to the ER head and was like "my son is an aspiring doctor. would it be okay to follow some of you in here?" he's been working in the hospital for like...i think 17 years...so everyone knows him. they let me come in whenever i wanted and i could follow any ER doc. i would just go to the front desk and introduce myself and the'yd go "oooh you're Dr. ___'s son! awesome! Dr. ___ is here i'm sure he'd love to let you shadow him." then i always received warm welcomes from the docs and they let me interact heavily with patients. i realize this may be an unfair advantage, but meh, if i have it i'm gonna use it. my favorite ER doc took me in every room, introduced me as a med student to the patient, and then would leave me in there to talk with the patients if he had some "boring" work to do. he'd even explain paper work to me. "i have this lady who has blah blah...usually this results from this...lets go see the problem and meet her." one time there was a patient who had real bad meth mouth and he asked him if i had noticed afterwards. i said i didnt notice so he was like "okay, go in there and tell her you need her to open your mouth for a test i need answered. look at her mouth then." so basically he just made that up so i can learn from the experience. i got in myself and everything and ask her to open her mouth saying the doc needed me to check something...it was pretty cool hehe. i LOVED that doctor. at the VA, a family friend was the a doc. and the adminstrator of one of the wings. she made a schedule for me and had me shadow every possible speciality for 2 full days each. in the mornings i hungout with a family doc and sat in on the checkups of the vets. i interacted with all the patients then, too. it was really cool.

man, one of the kids in the ER had basically cut off his finger from gardening tools and he was playing with his flimsy finger. hmm let me think back to anatomy earlier this semester hehe...basically one of his distal phalances (the top segment of the finger...i think that's right...) was hanging off his finger by a piece of skin. they had numbed it so he wasnt feeling any pain. he was like "hey come here...check this out." this was a seriously a 7 year old waving his hanging finger around. i was like "WTF!!!" haha. i don't know...it was really cool.

i just prefer that kind of stuff over like hospital volunteering where you push wheelchairs. #1 you only actually have tasks 5 minutes/hour and sit there most of it doing nothing. #2 the tasks they have you do are push wheelchairs, deliver flowers, and transport files from room to room. that's how it was in high school and in college i found out they made you do the same stuff. you're right there are retired folks doing that kind of volunteering. i don't know...it just bores me. it doesn't seem worth my time being there 3 hours straight and doing 15 minutes of actual work.
 
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