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Tildy

12 yrs old, feels like 84
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Hi to whoever responds, and a thank you in advance for reading this!

I'm a junior in undergrad, and I've been planning to apply to medical school this year, but I don't know if I should wait another year and apply so I have some more time to think about the big "why medical school?" question and so that I can have some better ECs. My GPA is okay for California; I'm going to try to raise it to a ~3.8x, 3.9 bcpm before spring quarter rolls around, so that will be my GPA when I apply. What I'm worried about is ECs and just how I am as a person...

I decided sometime in the middle of my 2nd year that I would really like to go to medical school, and I don't have any really long term ECs besides volunteering at a hospital throughout last year. Right now, I have an internship at a lab, a public health internship, I'm doing research, a program where I converse with international students, and I did 1 quarter of tutoring. I just started all these things, and at best by the time I apply, I would have a year of research and the public health internship, etc. It seems like medical schools are accepting all these people with 5 years if community service, clinical experience and leadership and amazing reasons for going to med school, so I'm not sure I can compare, especially because as much as I'm trying to push myself to do things (like internships) that would require me to converse with people and improve my conversational skills, I'm not at all eloquent or outspoken. That would very likely result in pretty bad interviews, if I get them. I was hoping to finally get this problem out of my life no matter what by the time I apply this year, but now I realize that's a pretty hard to reach goal. My personality is such that 99% of people will think I'm too timid or shy for medical school/to be a doctor, but I know I can change that. I just don't know if med schools will accept someone like me, believing that I will change/mature more while in medical school or will they want me to completely fix this problem by the time I apply.

As for the reason I want to go to med school, I know I want to do it, but I don't feel like I have any great or special reasons. I enjoy the subjects, doing something difficult and I just feel like it fits me and I can be good at it and happy doing it. Of course, I care about people (although I have a hard time showing it because I'm not outgoing...) and like helping others...boy, does that sound cheesy. Is it common to not have bigger and better reasons, or do I need to wait another year so that I have bigger/better reasons?

So my 2 biggest concerns right now are 1. my ECs, they are going to be average at best, although I am doing things I enjoy and doing as much as I can to gain experience (in general, not just clinical), is there anything I should be doing to improve them? and 2. my personality: are there people in medical school who start where I am right now and then go on to become outspoken, great leaders, etc? Do you think I have a good shot at any US allopathic medical school if I really put effort into the application this spring even if I don't have crazy numbers? Or would it be better if I work on things for another year?

Sorry for the novel! Thanks again to whoever responds!

Greetings - I'm going to skip all of the "What are my chances" aspects of your post as that is for the pre-allo forum, not here. I will address the shyness part as that is a common concern.

Medical schools place a great value on communication skills. We do this because regardless of your ultimate medical field you are going to need to communicate with your coworkers. In all but a very few fields you'll need to communicate well with patients and families and even in these areas, some family communication is essential.

But, that doesn't mean that all medical students must be chatty, or that shy people can't get in. Nor does it mean that you have to try to change your personality completely before you apply.

What it does mean is that you have to take the interview aspect of your application as seriously as other parts and practice, rehearse, take speaking classes (or have other similar experiences). Have as many people as possible practice with you - rehearse answers to common questions.

Make sure you do have premed experiences that include interpersonal contact. Even if this isn't your favorite thing, it is important for both you and your application.

Good luck!
 

limpkitty

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Have you ever met a doctor? Most aren't out-going, gregarious people who are great leaders that can light up the room w/ their smile. When it comes down to it, it's a pretty nerdy profession and you'll fit right it!
 

bruinrab

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As someone who was pretty much always shy and nervous about talking with strangers, I can only say that the advice above is true - practice, practice, practice. As long as you can hold a conversation and talk about yourself without coming across as arrogant, you should be fine. Some people are naturally good at it, but conversational skills can be acquired. As you gain confidence, it'll become less forced and more fluid.

One you're in, you'll get plenty of practice since most schools drill it for the first two years. Third year was the biggest change for me. I went from being shy and nervous to feeling like I could walk into a room and be in charge in many situations. As you have to face strangers everyday, it just becomes easier. Eventually, you gain confidence in your skills and your knowledge, and most people end up being pretty good at communicating (and BSing when they have to ;)).
 

LuckyBambooGirl

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I second the above posts: just practice talking to a wide variety of people, especially people you don't know, and put yourself into social situations where you aren't comfortable. I was in the situation you are in now, and now I'm a third year med student. On my last rotation, one of the residents actually put in an evaluation that I was aggressive. I'm not sure that is a good or a bad thing, but it's the opposite of what I was afraid they would write, given how shy I used to be! :) I don't see the purpose of waiting a year to apply--what's the worst that could happen, that you don't get in this year and have to sit out a year? That happened to me, and honestly everything has worked out fine! Good luck!
 
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