aryaw

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Apr 7, 2016
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Hi everyone!

I was just wondering: is there any benefit in doing orchestra in college? I've decided to attend UIC as a member of its GPPA med program and I'd say I enjoy playing the violin/being in an orchestra but is there any real benefit to being in one once you're in college and aiming for med school?

And also, even though I have played the violin for a while, I view it as a hobby. In college, I'd be playing with kids who are majoring in music and I don't know if I'd be able to put in the time to "compete" with them.

Anyway, I'm super conflicted and would appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you!
 
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Saki Nishibi

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I just attended a Tufts vet school information session and asked whether doing any extracurricular activities will help me get into vet school, and this is the answer I got (and I imagine that it would be the same for med school)- you don't need ECs, whether it is music or sports or whatever, to get into a professional school. What is more important is the experience and the exposure to the area that you wish to enter, like volunteering at a hospital or shadowing a doctor. However, if you can say that you did those things PLUS you are a leader of a club PLUS you play an instrument or a sport or whatever PLUS anything else that you can add, that is awesome and can show the adcoms that you are a well rounded and interesting student and not just a student that stays holed up and studies all day.

If you truly do enjoy playing the violin and being in orchestra, I would say go for it!

Hope this helps :)
 
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The_Bird

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I enjoy playing the violin/being in an orchestra
This is why you should absolutely do it. While musical endeavors demonstrate a skill set unique to musicians and definitely have the potential to help you stand out (mine definitely did as all my interviewers were very interested in my university orchestral experience), you should pursue it because you want to and because you enjoy it and are good at it.

Not many people can play instruments and even fewer can work as a team with other people to make amazing music. So go for it.





As a final note, everything you do in college doesn't have to relate directly to Medicine or be clinical in nature. You could potentially show off a lot as a musician.
 

Kurk

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Feb 18, 2016
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I was going to myself (viola) but decided against it as I need all the time I can get for maintaining a high GPA in college. I can still enjoy music in my free time without the hardcore commitment of being in a college orchestra.
 

The_Bird

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hardcore commitment of being in a college orchestra.
My experience is only so generalizable, but I'd hardly say that being in a college orchestra is a "hardcore commitment". I spent less time doing that in a week than I spent on volunteering, easily.

Also, some bands at the university level will be more time intensive than others as some are populated by higher level players and perform more technical music.
 

saqrfaraj

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Medical schools want humans to fill the slots in their entering class. Humans have hobbies and interests outside of their jobs. This is one of the main things that separates us from robots (and robots make terrible clinicians). So play in the orchestra if you think you'll enjoy it.
 
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I did a lot of non-medicine/science ECs in college because I enjoyed them and I found that is what interviewers were most interested in talking about.
 

Kurk

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Hmm good food for thought. Maybe I'll reconsider. I feel like my current hobbies might not impress interviewers and I kind of am an academic robot.
 

wholeheartedly

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Hmm good food for thought. Maybe I'll reconsider. I feel like my current hobbies might not impress interviewers and I kind of am an academic robot.
Enjoying stuff outside of medicine keeps you sane and shows you have the ability to maintain some balance in your life.
 
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saqrfaraj

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Hmm good food for thought. Maybe I'll reconsider. I feel like my current hobbies might not impress interviewers and I kind of am an academic robot.
It's all about balance. Don't overload yourself with ECs because your academics may suffer. But it's reasonable to try adding one new activity (like orchestra) and see how you handle the added commitment.
 
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Icositetrachoron

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Oct 3, 2015
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Start a string ensemble with buds. There's no need to "compete" with everyone. Play because you feel connected to the instrument. The great thing about music is its capacity to bring out shades of us that we don't commonly see. It's something that'll benefit not only an application, but also your individuality. If you want to, you could even do some gigs or charity performances.
 
Aug 9, 2016
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi everyone!

I was just wondering: is there any benefit in doing orchestra in college? I've decided to attend UIC as a member of its GPPA med program and I'd say I enjoy playing the violin/being in an orchestra but is there any real benefit to being in one once you're in college and aiming for med school?

And also, even though I have played the violin for a while, I view it as a hobby. In college, I'd be playing with kids who are majoring in music and I don't know if I'd be able to put in the time to "compete" with them.

Anyway, I'm super conflicted and would appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you!
It is possible. I shadowed an orthopedic surgeon and he told me about how he did swimming at Emory. I wont be able to to any of the extra-curriculars for the first few years at med school though, because of a part time job. Any advice on applying while I'm here? Anything helps.
 

The_Bird

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It is possible. I shadowed an orthopedic surgeon and he told me about how he did swimming at Emory. I wont be able to to any of the extra-curriculars for the first few years at med school though, because of a part time job. Any advice on applying while I'm here? Anything helps.
What do you mean by "at med school"? Are you a current student?
 

The_Bird

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I'm actually a senior highschool student. Sorry if my terminology isn't quite correct.
Ah ok. I myself don't know much about work and how that affects ECs during undergrad. But there are plenty of people who successfully manage both, or more, so you ought to search around the pre-allopathic and pre-osteopathic forums to see what other students have done!