Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
I am yet again inspired to write a blog post in the midst of completing other pre-med activities. Yes, I am slightly procrastinating but this is productive too, right? This time, I am avoiding filling out my visa application for Burkina Faso and organizing a new academic program for my sorority. Now, I know you’re clever enough to notice that these don’t exactly sound like “pre-med activities” but they are, indeed. Participating in extra-curricular activities is essential to your medical school application and, rumor has it, there are fifteen daunting slots awaiting to be filled. I’m making this sound like a chore but getting involved is really what makes your college experience worthwhile! It’s not just for the med schools, it’s for YOU.
The common misconception pre-meds have is that they must join pre-med student organizations to get into medical school. While being in a health-related organization can benefit you, you should not feel obligated to join one. Do something that interests you or join a group outside of your comfort zone. I never thought I would join a sorority and I can’t believe how much it has changed me for the better. You want to stand out as an applicant and the best way to do that is to be different and to break away from the typical pre-med mold. Cast your pre-med inhibitions aside and discover a new passion! Being able to balance an activity you love with your academic career screams, “I’d be a very committed, passionate physician!” Admission officers want to make sure they’re not letting in robots; being a doctor requires adequate social skills, after all.
To those of your that might be scratching your heads wondering what activity could possibly be classified as so miraculously unique, your thoughts needn’t venture too far. If you like volunteering, supplement medically related projects with something like urban farming, playing with kittens at an animal shelter, whatever tickles your fancy! If you like sports then actually join a team, whether it is recreational or competitive. If you want to explore new places, face your fear of the unknown and go abroad. The study abroad office has many options and there are almost as many abroad non-profits as there are stars in the sky (maybe that’s a little exaggerated). I have traveled through the university and I’m currently working toward a trip with an outside organization so I assure you, there are options. Anyways, if someone asks you to check out their student group, then give it a chance! I joined WSU Catalyst because my friend asked me to go to a meeting with her one day and now I’m in my third year of membership.
To put it all simply, don’t let your college years go to waste; do activities you really enjoy and commit to them. If you’re in a student organization, apply for a leadership position and challenge yourself. You will inevitably, and possibly despite your best efforts, gain skills and experience you didn’t think would be applicable to your career in medicine. The AMCAS application gives your 1325 characters to describe the three experiences that are the most significant to you. Don’t you want to have something to write about? I sure do! Okay team, let’s go make some memories and gain life experience. Keep exploring pre-meds!