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What did you do for community service?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by WestCoastNative, May 19, 2014.

  1. WestCoastNative

    WestCoastNative 2+ Year Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Is it supposed to be meaningful and unique? The city where I'm from is kind of bland, there isn't much that's special about it. I'm saying this with all honesty. We do have a few soup kitchens and food banks though, a habitat for humanity organization too I think, a few non profits that clean parks, etc.. Nothing where I would gain a leadership role or stand out. It's the type of things where you come in, do your part, and get out. Even in these types of volunteering situations, I'd feel good to at least help people out with something, but I don't think that it'll be anything "special" or "unique". Is this a problem? What do you guys recommend I do?
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  3. familyaerospace

    familyaerospace 7+ Year Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    In my books, GA
    I don't think it has to be unique. Lots of people do the same things over and over again.

    I did a lot, I volunteered with LGBT causes, cleaned beaches, volunteered about 3000 hours for a space education non-profit, tutored, did light repair work for the ill (basically painted houses), volunteered in a hospital (of course), did historical reenactment (4 leadership positions), and did community service through religious groups. I know there were a few others in there but I had community service/volunteer work drilled into me as a child so I kept with it as an adult. The hospital volunteering, the space education, and the historical reenactment were on my AMCAS. With the exception of two of them, I did very willingly and kept with it for a long time. I could do it because they were great causes/passions of mine.

    I think it would probably be best if you picked something you enjoyed and worried less about standing out. Not everyone can be a leader in community service. Do you love helping kids and fancy yourself a decent teacher? Maybe tutoring inner city kids is good. Love museums? Volunteer there. Like renaissance festivals? Contact your local one and see if they sign off on community service as a NPO, I know at least one that does and another organization that does as well.
  4. pepocho

    pepocho 2+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
  5. Akali

    Akali Best Gunner NA 2+ Year Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    I don't think you necessarily have to do anything outstanding or have a big leadership role, but obviously it'll help a lot if your volunteer work is interesting, or you can at least make it sound interesting lol. So you could try finding volunteer work that is relatable to your interesting characteristics, interests, or hobbies. I guess I was really lucky in that I had a very interesting childhood and was able to link a lot of my volunteering with that. For example, I grew up homeless at times, grew up a poor, underprivileged minority, and had an abusive father who went to jail for beating my mom. I worked with a nearby group that helped homeless children with their education by doing things like bringing them over to our university's labs to do fun science experiments. I also volunteered at an after school program that targeted at-risk minority students. I also went on a medical mission trip to Honduras where we happened to stay at a place that housed and protected abused wives and their children. Obviously you'll have to do hospital volunteering and so when you do make sure you remember any and all interesting patient experiences.
    Last edited: May 19, 2014
  6. Planes2Doc

    Planes2Doc Residency is ruff! Physician 5+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2012
    The South
    Uh oh... You said the U-word. Sorry pal, it's nearly impossible to do anything "unique" these days. ADCOMs have seen it all countless of times over and over and over again.

    That's why you can find success in being a cookie-cutter applicant. People on SDN treat it like it's an insult, but they shouldn't. It's good because it works! It gets people in!

    So let's put it this way... If your goal is to help people, then do things that interest you most and what will truly help the community.

    But if your goal is to simply get into medical school, then your priority is to strategically check all the right boxes. In my opinion, your best bet it hospital volunteering. You kill numerous birds with one stone (it counts as clinical experience plus volunteering) with a minimal weekly commitment. It's vital for you to have the best stats possible. When you're juggling a ton of ECs, they can take a hit. So do what is most convenient for you.

    Now before anyone flames me for this post, I want you to know that I have yet to see an SDN member asking how they can help the most people. They are only asking how they can help themselves...

    Look, if people were genuinely altruistic (a rare trait), they would have been doing these things well before becoming pre-med. Now if you're pre-med, that means your goal is to become a medical student, not the next Mother Teresa. So choose wisely, there's no shame in doing what's best for you.
  7. mrh125

    mrh125 Banned Banned Account on Hold

    Aug 4, 2013
    cleaned beaches, walked for leukemia, helped structure curriculum at an underrepresented school and raised money for them to afford teachers, computers, and field trips, non-profit work at a global health org, some other stuff.Do whatever interests you, don't just do stuff that sounds good on application or else you won't learn something and you'll be miserable. imagine you could only do meaningful things for your application for yourself. if you do that it's easy to write about them and the passion rolls off your tongue like nothing else.
  8. phunky

    phunky 2+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    I did a lot of volunteer teaching/tutoring. I reay dislike most community service to be honest. Often, it doesn't feel like you're actaully contributing anything significant, and it's more for the volunteers than for the people you're helping.

    If you're a good teacher, then you really can make a difference over someone else. You can't really say the same for working in a soup kitchen.
  9. asw98

    asw98 2+ Year Member

    May 6, 2013
    I volunteer at a maximum security prison doing art with incarcerated youth. Probably one of best things I've done throughout college.
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
    Zelda840 likes this.
  10. Zelda840

    Zelda840 2+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2013
    ^^^That sounds amazing. How did you get involved with that?
  11. asw98

    asw98 2+ Year Member

    May 6, 2013
    There is a club at my school that I volunteer with and yes it is amazing! I highly recommend seeing if there are any such clubs at your school/prisons in your immediate area in need of volunteers.
    Zelda840 likes this.

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