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the fear of being different

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Mistress S, Jan 2, 2002.

  1. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S 10+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2000
    This may be a stupid thing to worry about, but as I peruse these boards I can't help but notice that many other pre-med students seem to be a lot more involved in various committees, volunteer work, etc. than I can find time for in my schedule. I'm a junior now, and since I started college I've been taking a medium to heavy class load and doing well in it (3.9 GPA so far, although we'll see how much o-chem brings it down this year). I also work part-time at a reproductive health care clinic for low income/uninsured patients(I have worked there for almost 4 years now and volunteered there for two years prior to that in high school, so I think I should have sufficient clinical exposure anyway). I have done some things outside of school and work- I spent this last summer as a lab assistant at the NIH, and the summer before that volunteered as a counselor at a week-long camp for children with HIV, as well as some pretty minor volunteer work with political causes that I feel strongly about. I'm also going to study abroad next year for 5 months. The point of all this being, I feel like I'm pretty busy just between work and school, and I've done and plan to do other things that interest me when I have time, but I can't seem to find several additional hours every week during the school year to devote to volunteering or participating in the pre-med committee or anything like that. I have to work since I'm paying for college myself, and after that I only have two evenings a week and Sundays when I could really do anything else, and I can't quite bring myself to give those up! Does this make me lazy? Is every one else really doing so much more besides work and school, or am I just being neurotic? I'm not real worried about my application to med school or anything, I feel like I'm a reasonably strong candidate and if I do decently well on the MCAT's I'll have as good a shot as anyone at getting in. But maybe I'm being overly optimistic. I do plan to do some more volunteer work before I apply in June of my senior year, since there are a lot of organizations in my city that interest me and I hope to find the time to get at least a little involved. So I guess I'm wondering, should I really waste even one more second thinking about this? Is it accurate to say that most pre-meds are really involved in extracurriculars (sports, committees, volunteer work, whatever), or are most of you more like me, just finding time to do things summers and in between work and school? Any input is appreciated.
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  3. SMW

    SMW Grand Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    anchorage, ak
    You sound like you'll be fine. Especially as you're working, I don't think med schools will expect you to have more EC's than you do. Obviously people who don't work have more time to spend on EC's. But I think the adcoms will recognize that you haven't been loafing! :D
  4. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Jersey
    If you are working a in order to support yourself (a good amount of hours) it is definately taken into consideration. It sounds like you have done a lot even with working. Maybe try to get one volunteer experience under your belt before applying...if you can but don't kill yourself.... but other than that you definately sound ok....good luck.
  5. Jessica

    Jessica Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 7, 2001
    To answer your question - NO, don't spend another second worrying about it!!

    I don't think that you need to worry about trying to cram more into your schedule to be a "cookie cutter"/"perfect" med school applicant. Don't be afraid of being seen as different... it is actually a good thing. Just think, if you were a member of the admissions committee, how uneventful it would be to read over application after application of students who have volunteered, researched, etc etc. If you are different, you can stand out in a GOOD way. Adcoms CAN be reasonable, and they realize that people are just that, PEOPLE (especially considering that fact that you are working.. I don't know if you said how many hours you spend working, but time spent working while in school is also considered as a part of your application to med school. Admissions committees know that taking a full load of classes and working does not leave you with heaps of free time.) You can't be expected to be commited 24/7 to various activities, in fact, if you tried to do any MORE they might think that you are a little off of your rocker. Keep those few hours a week that you have and take time to develop personally, participate in some hobbies that you enjoy... hike, read, spend time with friends, take a yoga class. Do whatever makes you happy. That will make you a stand-out applicant (more than any more participation in yet another activity that will take away from your sanity!!)
  6. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2001
    Manitoba, Canada
    I think you sound like you have enough ECs! Most applications have a spot on them where you input the number of hours you work in a term, so they are aware of the kind of time you have available.

    Good luck! :D
  7. holy crap this a joke?! you're doing sooo much!! listen, helping SERVE food at camillus house 5 times and doing other stupid little EC's isn't a big deal. it's actually just filler, i think. You, however, are doing tons of valuable stuff. the key word for admissions committees is valuable. not only do i think that you're ok with the EC's and esp. the gpa, but i think you're Excellent. at least the way you Talk about your EC's is excellent. just talk about it like that and believe me, you'll be more than fine. good luck on the mcat. with a good score you can easily go ivy league. best wishes (nerd). :D
  8. also, mistress, i think that most people that post on this board are over-achieving premeds. believe me the average premed (mcat avg. is 24) does not post here as you can clearly see from most poster's mcat scores). also, the fact that many people here have like EXACT dates for when their apps were verified, received, reviewed, letters sent, checks cashed, etc, etc is a DEAD giveaway that these fellas are not messing around. i wandered into this site and love it, but i'm not as diligent or meticulous as most of these guys. so by no means is this a 'random' sample of premeds. you are definitely kicking butt, so don't 'feel different.'
  9. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2000

    Pardon me if I am wrong, but it seems to me like you're looking for an ego boost or some reassurance as to you current standing as a premedical student.

    The first thing you should have learned as a premed is that being different IS good. The things that set you apart will be the things that get you accepted.

    Keep doing what you're doing, don't worry about what your peers are involved in, and get into medical school.
  10. DarkenR

    DarkenR Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2001
    Well put JP.
  11. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S 10+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2000
    Thank you very much to all those who took the time to reply- you've all been very reassuring. I enjoy these boards, but sometimes it is hard to read them and not get caught up in comparing yourself to others and trying to see if you measure up. I don't really have other pre-med friends- most of my friends aren't even in college- nor do I come from a medical family, so these boards are the main connection I have to the medical student community. It is nice to hear from others who (hopefully) have some idea what they are talking about that I am on the right track. Good luck to you all!
  12. USeF

    USeF sunny L.A. 10+ Year Member

    'For every person you look up to in wealth, power, accomplishments or the like, take a moment to look at someone lower than you in that manner'

    - a good peice of advice I recently heard that seems to fit very well for you, Mistress. For everyone of us EC [extra-curricular] freaks (i am guitly as charged) there are plenty on this board that have had much more humble activities than you who are in or accepted to med school. Be confident in yourself and if you feel you are doing good things, chances are you are :)
    good luck w/ everything
  13. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator 7+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2001

    I think what you're doing is impressive! It's not HOW many ECs you have that matters; it's how dedicated you were to them that is most important. Your reproductive health care clinic experience would speak for itself; that's 6 years you've put into it. I'm not getting to my point, but basically what I'm trying to say is that your work and volunteer activities will not factor AGAINST you!! Your ECS will be viewed more favorable than those applicants who have 20 ECs but really can't say much about them...
    I don't feel like I'm making any sense, but hopefully you have an idea of what I'm trying to say.
    Don't join something just for the sake of joining! Join it b/c you're going to have fun taking part in it. I'd hate to spend a few hours during any given weekend doing something I hate just to write it down as an EC.

    Good luck!

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