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Worried about staying competitive in my class

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by coharahawk, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. coharahawk

    coharahawk Member
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    I am currently going into my MSII and I feel like I am falling behind my classmates in a lot of aspects. I do well in the class work, but I don't feel like I am nearly as driven as most of my class. It seems that everyone participates in so many interest groups, community service projects, leadership activities, etc. I have joined a couple interest groups, but I've lost elections to be in some leadership positions. It seems anytime any tiny opportunity does arrise, 75% of the class jumps quickly to participate which creates a lot of competition. Also, this summer I was told by many older med students to take it easy and enjoy my last summer. I decided against doing research because I'm not really interested in it, and now I feel extremely guilty for it.

    My main concern is that I don't really know what specialty I want to pursue and I feel like I want to be able to keep my options open as far as some of the more competitive specialties. How important are these activities for residency programs?

    Any comments or suggestions are welcome.
     
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  3. sscooterguy

    sscooterguy Senior Member
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    Sounds like you are doing everything about right, except for the worrying part. You're fine if you don't do anything during the summer. Don't worry over leadership positions you don't get.

    Although it does show that you are active, I don't think residency directors rank extracirriculars very highly. It may be a silver star on your app, but having little won't be a black dot. For most residency directors, the top things preinterview are 3rd year rotation grades and step 1 score (from Iserson's Getting into Medical Residency). My roommate is possibly the busiest guy - he started a non profit organization, is chair on 3 different medical related organizations, took a year to get an MHA, is highly active in the community and local organizations, etc. I am the opposite. I participate in a thing or two, but haven't headed much. Although his CV is impressive, he's not doing it to get a competative residency as he knows it won't mean that much. His plans are to eventually be a hospital administrator, and each thing he participates in does give him more personal experience, but it won't help him for getting a spot in ENT or Rads for example.

    To keep competative, study now and do well on step 1. In the future, work your tail off during your 3rd year. You can try to prepare for 3rd year by going to free clinics and such, but really, the learning curve is so high at the beginning of 3rd year that it won't make that much of a difference.

    Take a breath, don't feel guilty, enjoy your time. There will be your share of stressing - step 1, certain clinical rotations, if you did bad on step 1, then step 2 can be stressful too, applications, interviews, match day, etc.

    sscooterguy
     
  4. coharahawk

    coharahawk Member
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    Thanks, much appreciated!
     
  5. pillowhead

    pillowhead Senior Member
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    I think it's good to have a little something on your CV, and that's great you're part of a couple of interest groups. As far as elections--I know EXACTLY what you mean about everyone jumping up for every little thing. It can be frustrating. Try to do something like serving on a committee that doesn't require an election or volunteering to do house med school interviewees or be a tour guide on interview days. It's not so much to put on your CV but to just let your deans know that you are a part of the med school community.

    As the previous poster said, I don't think that any of this stuff really makes any difference. I think having absolutely nothing on your CV outside of academics stands out as weird, but it doesn't take much just to show that yes, you are a normal person who gets along well with others.
     
  6. sscooterguy

    sscooterguy Senior Member
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    Yes, I agree with this too. Getting along with others is big. I never thought of extracirriculars in that light, but it does make sense. Every residency director I talk to says playing well with others is huge, and outside of clinical grades and letters, extracirricular stuff may help.

    sscooterguy
     
  7. coldchemist

    coldchemist Biowulf
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    I noticed the same thing during my 1st year; everyone seemed to have so much more determination and ECs than I did. I personally think that most of their ECs will be looked at as resume padding and that grades are more important. But no matter what your position along the heirarchy (med student, resident, fellow, etc.) you will always find that there are ways to impress the people who evaluate you other than the factors that are considered most important by everyone else.
     
  8. utorontograd

    utorontograd Member
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    Core credentials are essential all else is subjective. I'd be very discerning with that which isn't compulsory. Unless of course it's the type of activity that's enjoyable in your down time.
     

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