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No Leadership?

hqt331

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    Background: I'm a junior. Currently I have no leadership activities, as far as I can tell. I am currently mentoring a middle school student as community service. I have volunteered at a hospital for 3 semesters. I am not currently volunteering at a hospital. I have been doing research for about a year and a half (currently doing a project for which I received a scholarship from my school). I have shadowed a physician, and I hope to shadow all next semester. I have a 4.0 GPA (at state school) and a 40 MCAT.

    I am currently getting involved in some small, specific goal-oriented student orgs (not huge 500 member pre-health orgs). I cannot guarantee that they will give me specific leadership positions. I have, as I see it, pretty much just this year and this summer to beef up my application. I would like to teach an MCAT course for a test-prep company, because of the extra $$, but I don't necessarily need the money. The problem is, getting a job would take away a lot of time for ECs. The way I see it, an MCAT tutoring job doesn't look too great, since so many people do it.

    My questions are:

    Should I attempt to get a MCAT tutoring job, or should I focus more on my resume? Or is the job itself useful for the resume?

    Any ideas on leadership?

    Should I get more clinical experience, fast?

    EDIT: I have also looked at many of the numerous other leadership posts. Nevertheless, I would like some fresh advice. Also, my circumstances are a little different than other OPs.
     
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    aggie08

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      Background: I'm a junior. Currently I have no leadership activities, as far as I can tell. I am currently mentoring a middle school student as community service. I have volunteered at a hospital for 3 semesters. I am not currently volunteering at a hospital. I have been doing research for about a year and a half (currently doing a project for which I received a scholarship from my school). I have shadowed a physician, and I hope to shadow all next semester. I have a 4.0 GPA (at state school) and a 40 MCAT.

      I am currently getting involved in some small, specific goal-oriented student orgs (not huge 500 member pre-health orgs). I cannot guarantee that they will give me specific leadership positions. I have, as I see it, pretty much just this year and this summer to beef up my application. I would like to teach an MCAT course for a test-prep company, because of the extra $$, but I don't necessarily need the money. The problem is, getting a job would take away a lot of time for ECs. The way I see it, an MCAT tutoring job doesn't look too great, since so many people do it.

      My questions are:

      Should I attempt to get a MCAT tutoring job, or should I focus more on my resume? Or is the job itself useful for the resume?

      Any ideas on leadership?

      Should I get more clinical experience, fast?

      EDIT: I have also looked at many of the numerous other leadership posts. Nevertheless, I would like some fresh advice. Also, my circumstances are a little different than other OPs.


      You have great ECs, a perfect (originally I typed great, but that's an understatement) GPA and a great MCAT. If you want to teach the MCAT class go for it. You will get in somewhere with those stats and your ECs. Don't stop EVERYTHING, keep up volunteering or tutoring or whatever you want a few times a week, but don't dwell on the lack of a particular leadership position. I would even venture to say that tutoring a middle-school student is a type of leadership. By giving your time you are showing him/her the importance of education and how to better themselves. You are leading them in a direction of excellence and allowing for them to have a better future.

      You are fine. Don't sweat the small stuff, you seem to be doing everything right.
       

      Stratego

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        Teaching and Leadership are both desirable elements to have on your application. Neither is required. It's fine to do just one of them. So I'd say the MCAT teaching will help your resume. Your research is above average, your clinical experience and shadowing are fine. You have non-medical community service too. You'll be fine, with or without a leadership experience. If getting elected to a leadership position doesn't seem likely, why not start your own organization, or take the lead position in some type of charity fundraiser?
         
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        Mobius1985

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          Or organize a food collection for a local food pantry. Or get a bunch of friends and their friends to do a campus cleanup project. Or organize a pot luck luncheon to express appreciation for a teacher, volunteer coordinator, or someone who needs a lift. Or run a door to door campaign to get signatures to have the city install street lights in an unsafe area. Or think of your own activity that is unique where you organize others to get a job done and take overall responsibility.
           

          flip26

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            Background: I'm a junior. Currently I have no leadership activities, as far as I can tell. I am currently mentoring a middle school student as community service. I have volunteered at a hospital for 3 semesters. I am not currently volunteering at a hospital. I have been doing research for about a year and a half (currently doing a project for which I received a scholarship from my school). I have shadowed a physician, and I hope to shadow all next semester. I have a 4.0 GPA (at state school) and a 40 MCAT.

            I am currently getting involved in some small, specific goal-oriented student orgs (not huge 500 member pre-health orgs). I cannot guarantee that they will give me specific leadership positions. I have, as I see it, pretty much just this year and this summer to beef up my application. I would like to teach an MCAT course for a test-prep company, because of the extra $$, but I don't necessarily need the money. The problem is, getting a job would take away a lot of time for ECs. The way I see it, an MCAT tutoring job doesn't look too great, since so many people do it.

            My questions are:

            Should I attempt to get a MCAT tutoring job, or should I focus more on my resume? Or is the job itself useful for the resume?

            Any ideas on leadership?

            Should I get more clinical experience, fast?

            EDIT: I have also looked at many of the numerous other leadership posts. Nevertheless, I would like some fresh advice. Also, my circumstances are a little different than other OPs.

            Your only real concern is this one.

            Volunteer at a free clinic, maybe? And get in some shadowing, too.

            Leadership is a "nice to have" but not a necessity in this process, whereas clinical experience, volunteer activities, and shadowing are unwritten requirements. Simply being an officer in a school organization is not a meaningful leadership activity (I know there are exceptions, but please). Real leadership is rare.

            Finally, I don't detect a hint of passion in your post. What really turns you on, in terms of your ECs? Adcoms are looking for that special spark...your post sounds more like someone looking to "check off" all the right boxes on your AMCAS.
             

            schrizto

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              Getting a leadership position in college is so much harder than in high school, and that's what I'm worrying about. I don't think I have the ability to broadcast my name enough for people to vote for me.

              The OP has amazing numbers though :eek:.
               

              hqt331

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                Finally, I don't detect a hint of passion in your post. What really turns you on, in terms of your ECs? Adcoms are looking for that special spark...your post sounds more like someone looking to "check off" all the right boxes on your AMCAS.

                Hmm you must have an amazing ability to detect "passion" in posts on SDN in the "what are my chances?" forum. The goal of this post was to see whether my resume was competitive enough to get into (top tier research) medical schools. It was not to explain to all SDNers out there my amazing passion for my ECs.

                But, just to let you know, I spend by far the most amount of my time EC-wise on my research - and I enjoy it. Thanks for the advice, though (not sarcastic).

                ----
                On another note, I am strongly beginning to consider a career in academic medicine, to the point where I might directly tell the adcom that that is my main goal in going to medical school. Does that affect anyone's advice; I would think that in that case I should look more toward teaching ECs and research (which I would personally enjoy most, flip26).
                 

                johncalvin

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                  ----
                  On another note, I am strongly beginning to consider a career in academic medicine, to the point where I might directly tell the adcom that that is my main goal in going to medical school. Does that affect anyone's advice; I would think that in that case I should look more toward teaching ECs and research (which I would personally enjoy most, flip26).

                  Seems like you wanna go the MD/PhD route? If you do, they may let a lack of deep clinical experiences slide.
                   

                  hqt331

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                    Seems like you wanna go the MD/PhD route? If you do, they may let a lack of deep clinical experiences slide.

                    I have considered MD/PhD, but I can't say I wanna do that route. One, from what I've heard, MD/PhDs for the most part spend considerably more time on research than clinical practice, and I don't necessarily want to spend 80% of my time on research. Two, have you seen the stats for MD/PhD applicants? My research is pretty solid, and I expect a good LOR from my PI, but it won't lead to a big-time publication or anything. Also, I've heard MD/PhD programs sometimes tend to favor hard science research; I'm doing behavioral pharmacology research. I would like to get into some more hard science stuff, maybe neurosci, but I don't have time to get involved in that yet. And third, I'm not sure I want to spend an extra three years in med school just for the PhD, when instead I could just get involved in a lot of research as a med student.

                    EDIT: I also haven't ruled out surgery. For example, I could do neurosurgery and be very involved in the academic side of things, but I'm definitely not doing NS and getting a PhD (talk about overkill).
                     
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                    flip26

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                      Hmm you must have an amazing ability to detect "passion" in posts on SDN in the "what are my chances?" forum. The goal of this post was to see whether my resume was competitive enough to get into (top tier research) medical schools. It was not to explain to all SDNers out there my amazing passion for my ECs.

                      But, just to let you know, I spend by far the most amount of my time EC-wise on my research - and I enjoy it. Thanks for the advice, though (not sarcastic).

                      ----
                      On another note, I am strongly beginning to consider a career in academic medicine, to the point where I might directly tell the adcom that that is my main goal in going to medical school. Does that affect anyone's advice; I would think that in that case I should look more toward teaching ECs and research (which I would personally enjoy most, flip26).

                      You confirmed what I said - you are looking at this with a "checklist" mentality, not from a source of passion. If you were pursuing ECs (outside of research) that really meant something to you, this would come through in your PS and in your interviews.

                      I would think there would be zero linkage in an adcom's mind between someone who has taught an MCAT review course and someone who expresses interest in academic medicine. Perhaps an applicant who has worked closely with one or more physicians in academic medicine would be a better gauge...personally I think an applicant who tells the adcom that his main purpose in attending med school is academic medicine could be shooting themselves in the foot, but maybe that's just me.

                      The answer to the underlined is at best a "maybe" but with a definite lack of clinical and shadowing experiences, you are by no means a shoo in at top research schools. And you have not mentioned any published research - be aware that if you are looking at an academic medicine / research career and are not pursuing the MD/PhD route, your research will be scrutinized closely, and you are competing with applicants with multiple pubs, etc.

                      Good luck, but maybe you should listen to all the advice offered here, not just the posts that stroke your ego from people oohing and ahhing over your numbers. While you are at it, look up the example of WashMe from last cycle...
                       
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                      schrizto

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                        I have considered MD/PhD, but I can't say I wanna do that route. One, from what I've heard, MD/PhDs for the most part spend considerably more time on research than clinical practice, and I don't necessarily want to spend 80% of my time on research. Two, have you seen the stats for MD/PhD applicants? My research is pretty solid, and I expect a good LOR from my PI, but it won't lead to a big-time publication or anything. Also, I've heard MD/PhD programs sometimes tend to favor hard science research; I'm doing behavioral pharmacology research. I would like to get into some more hard science stuff, maybe neurosci, but I don't have time to get involved in that yet. And third, I'm not sure I want to spend an extra three years in med school just for the PhD, when instead I could just get involved in a lot of research as a med student.

                        EDIT: I also haven't ruled out surgery. For example, I could do neurosurgery and be very involved in the academic side of things, but I'm definitely not doing NS and getting a PhD (talk about overkill).

                        Consider places such as CCLCM or Pitt PSTP. These are five years, full tuition covered, and research focused, but don't require as much commitment as MD/PhD.

                        flip26 said:
                        personally I think an applicant who tells the adcom that his main purpose in attending med school is academic medicine could be shooting themselves in the foot, but maybe that's just me.

                        Could you explain why saying you want to go into academic medicine would hurt? I would think it would help because 1. many members of the admissions committee are in academic medicine, and 2. academic medicine usually doesn't make as much money as those in only clinical practice, so it could show that you are not money-motivated.
                         
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                        hqt331

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                          To flip23: The point of my last post was that this is a WAMC forum, hardly somewhere I thought I would have to explain my passion to everyone; the point is to see whether I'm the correct things for my stated goal. I have no idea why you would assume that I am ignoring all the posts except the ones I like. I assure you, I am taking all advice into account, including yours, although it becomes difficult when you make absolutely hilarious judgments on my character (I am posting in order to read "ego-stroking" posts?). Also, please explain why explaining a desire to practice academic medicine would be damaging, as schrizto says; is it just a personal opinion? Do you have a link to washme's posts; I don't really know where I should be looking?

                          To everyone else: would it be a drawback to indicate that I am considering academic medicine if I'm not going to have pubs?

                          Oh, and thanks schrizto, for the info on CCLCM and Pitt PSTP, didn't even know there were 5 year programs.
                           
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                          schrizto

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                            To everyone else: would it be a drawback to indicate that I am considering academic medicine if I'm not going to have pubs?

                            Not necessarily. Having a good recommendation from a PI would help.

                            And yeah, from what you said about MD/PhD, five year programs sounded like a good fit for you. 4 years medical school + 1 year research.
                             

                            flip26

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                              Could you explain why saying you want to go into academic medicine would hurt? I would think it would help because 1. many members of the admissions committee are in academic medicine, and 2. academic medicine usually doesn't make as much money as those in only clinical practice, so it could show that you are not money-motivated.

                              Sounds like you are trying to game the admissions system with ideas like that.

                              Someone who climbs out on the limb of "academic medicine is my reason for attending med school" should really have all their ducks in a row especially if they are not headed down the MD/PhD path. For people applying MD/PhD, it is perfectly reasonable to have that goal, but for regular applicants, I think it could hurt, especially at the vast majority of med schools that are geared towards training clinicians.

                              Said another way, if you put that goal in your PS, don't expect to get a lot of love from the schools with a primary care emphasis...personally I think applicants should cast the widest net possible in this game, but maybe that is just me.
                               

                              flip26

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                                The whole admissions process fares better with a strategic approach anyway. Besides, just by expressing interest in academic medicine doesn't mean you want to game the system or kiss up to interviewers.

                                Of course you should have a strategy - and your PS should tell a story - but the OP's post, and your comments, sound like an applicant looking for a scheme or angle to get into med school instead of developing a strategy flowing from one's true interests and experiences. I call it passion; that really pissed off the OP. The OP sounds like he is doing a cookie cutter premed checklist and he is looking for some angle to impress adcoms. I think they can see through that most of the time, but he has very strong numbers and will undoubtedly get many opportunities at interviews to try out his strategy.

                                Hey, just my opinion. The OP and others could learn something by listening to alternate opinions.
                                 

                                hqt331

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                                  Have you had significant teaching experience? If not, what's leading you toward academic medicine, since it doesn't seem to be entirely research?

                                  I like research, but you can do plenty of research, even as an MD, while spending plenty of time with patients. That would be the fuzzy picture of how I see myself in the future. I'm planning on shadowing a doctor at a teaching hospital (hopefully one who does clinical research) before I apply; it should give me better insight on the whole thing, I hope.

                                  Also, I like the idea of teaching, but I definitely haven't taught a class or anything - only friends.
                                   

                                  loveoforganic

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                                    Ok, I'm kind of in the same boat with you then. I love the teaching I've done (just personal stuff, to friends, and anonymously over this board and a chem board). I also love research, but probably not enough to pursue the MD/PhD, unless I was to find a program I just loved. Academic medicine is something I'm considering as well. Mixing up clinical work, doing some research in an area that interests me, and teaching med students/residents/whatever sounds pretty awesome to me. However, I wouldn't make too bold a claim in that direction, other than just a possible interest in it and your reasons for it. Let the passion you have for doing that teaching you've done, that research you've done, etc. come through when you describe your experiences, instead of the claim speaking for itself.

                                    I feel like what I'm trying to say there isn't very clear. If it isn't, feel free to tell me, lol. Also, just the opinion of another premed.
                                     

                                    funklab

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                                      your post sounds more like someone looking to "check off" all the right boxes on your AMCAS.

                                      Aren't we all....

                                      Passion can be made to come thru in an application (whether it is real or fake). At this point you just check off the right boxes until someone gives you an interview.

                                      Passion is all well and good. But knowing what game you are playing, playing it well, and scoring high enough are prerequisites that overshadow any real passion.

                                      just my view of reality....
                                       

                                      apumic

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                                        Aren't we all....

                                        Passion can be made to come thru in an application (whether it is real or fake). At this point you just check off the right boxes until someone gives you an interview.

                                        Passion is all well and good. But knowing what game you are playing, playing it well, and scoring high enough are prerequisites that overshadow any real passion.

                                        just my view of reality....

                                        Perhaps this is true, but flip does have a good point in that if your ECs, leadership, clinical, and research experience don't really point in the same direction, they may take away from one another. If one desires to go into academic medicine, it makes sense to have most everything pointing that way. Adcoms are looking for a "whole package" not just a bunch of parts. Someone who, in addition to a variety of EC-type interests, has, for instance, worked on a psych ward, done clinical psych and/or neuro research, and is doing mental health advocacy is probably going to be looked upon more positively than someone who has some experience as an EMT, passed out flyers for fundraisers and political campaigns, was president of the pre-med club at school for 2 yrs, and has a lot of random ECs. Assuming the first person does a decent job on his/her PS and points in a direction related to psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, bx neuro, neuro, ns, etc., I'd expect most adcoms to prefer that person to the 2nd option as the first is tied together and seems more naturally flowing (not simply taking whatever opportunity was available as it came). Of course, variety is important as well....
                                         

                                        flip26

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                                          Aren't we all....

                                          Passion can be made to come thru in an application (whether it is real or fake). At this point you just check off the right boxes until someone gives you an interview.

                                          Passion is all well and good. But knowing what game you are playing, playing it well, and scoring high enough are prerequisites that overshadow any real passion.

                                          just my view of reality....

                                          Is your "view of reality" based on having gone to actual interviews? Have you actually written a PS, and submitted secondaries, and actually gone to some interviews?

                                          Around 60 percent of "we all" fail in this game, so you might want to consider what "we all" are doing right and wrong and especially focus on what the 40 percent are doing right.

                                          If you think that you will have this perfect platform to sweet talk your way into an acceptance at your med school interviews where you can unveil your grand strategy of faked passions, you might first want to actually have some interviews. I have been to 4 so far, and there is actually very little opportunity in the 30 to 45 minute format for you to connect all the dots for your interviewer.
                                           

                                          flip26

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                                            We are on the same page.

                                            Your app should be authentic. Your ECs should reflect or support your goals, your reason(s) for becoming a physician, your reason(s) for going to med school.

                                            Perhaps this is true, but flip does have a good point in that if your ECs, leadership, clinical, and research experience don't really point in the same direction, they may take away from one another. If one desires to go into academic medicine, it makes sense to have most everything pointing that way. Adcoms are looking for a "whole package" not just a bunch of parts. Someone who, in addition to a variety of EC-type interests, has, for instance, worked on a psych ward, done clinical psych and/or neuro research, and is doing mental health advocacy is probably going to be looked upon more positively than someone who has some experience as an EMT, passed out flyers for fundraisers and political campaigns, was president of the pre-med club at school for 2 yrs, and has a lot of random ECs. Assuming the first person does a decent job on his/her PS and points in a direction related to psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, bx neuro, neuro, ns, etc., I'd expect most adcoms to prefer that person to the 2nd option as the first is tied together and seems more naturally flowing (not simply taking whatever opportunity was available as it came). Of course, variety is important as well....
                                             

                                            hqt331

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                                              Ok, I'm kind of in the same boat with you then. I love the teaching I've done (just personal stuff, to friends, and anonymously over this board and a chem board). I also love research, but probably not enough to pursue the MD/PhD, unless I was to find a program I just loved. Academic medicine is something I'm considering as well. Mixing up clinical work, doing some research in an area that interests me, and teaching med students/residents/whatever sounds pretty awesome to me. However, I wouldn't make too bold a claim in that direction, other than just a possible interest in it and your reasons for it. Let the passion you have for doing that teaching you've done, that research you've done, etc. come through when you describe your experiences, instead of the claim speaking for itself.

                                              I feel like what I'm trying to say there isn't very clear. If it isn't, feel free to tell me, lol. Also, just the opinion of another premed.

                                              I get what you are saying, definitely. It would certainly be a bad idea to say that I'm only considering academic medicine and nothing else. But right now it does sound the most appealing to me. I certainly won't make too bold a claim, though.
                                               

                                              Latuza

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                                                I have a friend who got accepted into Stanford, Vandy, Yale, Harvard, Sinai who had very little EC outside of his single research. His stats were 41, 3.9.

                                                With your stats there are plenty of schools who will take you, because essentially, you are a gunner and they want smart kids in their program. (Not that that's a bad thing).

                                                So I wouldn't worry about your EC's at all.

                                                I agree wtih utah3219, b/c I have a very similar friend to that. The top-tier schools really like smart people with strong research background. It doesn't require a publication too. Maybe other schools like service-oriented, clinical-oriented applicants, but not for top schools. You seem like a good fit.

                                                For leadership, you should reflect deeply and think how you've changed the kids' attitudes that you've tutored. Personally I don't think an MCAT teacher is that impressive, b/c the students go b/c they've paid so much money for the class. A leadership position where the "followers" are voluntary sound much better to me. So I think teaching an undergrad science extra-help class may be better.

                                                You should focus on your research, b/c I think that'll set you apart. Also, in your app you can say I've done so much, and finally realized what interest me the most.
                                                 

                                                riverjib

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                                                  Your only real concern is this one.

                                                  Volunteer at a free clinic, maybe? And get in some shadowing, too.

                                                  Leadership is a "nice to have" but not a necessity in this process, whereas clinical experience, volunteer activities, and shadowing are unwritten requirements. Simply being an officer in a school organization is not a meaningful leadership activity (I know there are exceptions, but please). Real leadership is rare.

                                                  Finally, I don't detect a hint of passion in your post. What really turns you on, in terms of your ECs? Adcoms are looking for that special spark...your post sounds more like someone looking to "check off" all the right boxes on your AMCAS.

                                                  Ugh...I'm sure you'll get in, provided you don't blow your interviews. But unless there is some spark you haven't shown here, you're exactly what medicine does NOT need...another perfect student who's in this for all the wrong reasons. Why are you going into medicine? You could get a PhD/JD and probably make more than you'll ever make as a physician, unless you go the plastic surgery route.

                                                  You can romanticize the profession all you like, but much like the "perfect person," it's going to disappoint you if you don't truly love it for all the ugliness and unpleasantness inherent in it. So toss out your checklist for five minutes and list the reasons that you believe medicine will make you truly happy. If you can't fill a page in that time, re-evaluate. You're clearly talented enough to pursue something that is in line with whatever you're REALLY passionate about doing.
                                                   
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