Extracurriculars As A PreMed
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How To Balance Extracurriculars As a PreMed

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Why can’t applying to medical school just be as simple as getting good grades? On top of that you have to extracurriculars as a premed too?

While at first, it may seem like another obstacle in your way to get into medical school, extracurriculars as a premed are a blessing in disguise.

In this post, we’ll talk about how to balance extracurriculars as a premed. We’ll talk about which activities to pick and also how to avoid overwhelming yourself with commitments.

After reading this post you may also enjoy other posts in my Pre-Med series.

What To Know Before Applying To Medical School
What Are The Requirements For Medical School?
How Hard is Medical School? (How To Survive)
Why Not To Go To Medical School
5 Things You Need To Get Into Medical School

What Extracurriculars Should You Do?

The real answer is that there is no one real right answer.

Luckily for you, you can do whatever you want.

But this freedom also leads to anxiety and improper bandwagoning.

Here’s what I mean.

If you’re not sure what to do, you’ll like do everything your peers are doing. You’re likely to be in the same organizations and community service projects.

While it’s great to have peers with similar interests as you, don’t get tied down to doing the same activities as them.

In my what to know before applying to medical school post and YouTube video (below), I talk about finding your “why” a lot.

When you first start college you may not sure exactly why you want to go to medical school. But you may have an idea or two.

Thus explore activities in these areas of interest.

For example, if you think you want to become a doctor because you enjoy the altruistic aspect of helping people, maybe volunteer at a homeless shelter. If you enjoy the scientific and discovery aspect, find a research project.

Here’s how you should approach extracurriculars as a premed vs how most premed students actually pursue them.

As shown in the illustration, add extracurriculars only if they correspond with a “why”.

If an activity doesn’t correspond with a “why” don’t do it.

Examples Of Extracurriculars As A PreMed:

I know many of you just want suggestions so here’s a list of suggested activities (in no particular order).

Volunteering:
– Food Bank
– Homeless Shelter
– Animal Shelter
– Habitat For Humanity
– Local Hospital/Clinic
– Mentoring Youth
– Teaching Science at Local Schools

Organizations:
– Student Government
– Pre-Med Org
– Diversity Org
– Research-Based Org
– Public Health Org
– Health Policy Org
– Global Health

Misc:
– Research (Clinical, Basic Science, Translational, Review article, etc.)
– Sports (Intramural, Biking, Rock Climbing)
– Music (School Orchestra/Band, Independent Musician)

These are all activities you can add to your repertoire when you apply to medical school. Obviously, there may be something you pursue that’s not on my list. All power to you.

When To Add More Extracurriculars As A PreMed?

Believe me, I understand the anxiety you feel when you notice your classmates balance the earth and their class work.

Your first instinct will be to do more. But is more actually better?

I always argue that growth in existing extracurriculars is more important than adding another activity.

I talk about this in detail in my what you need to get into medical school post and YouTube video (below).

But here’s when it’s okay and encouraged to add another extracurricular.

First, it’s fine to add another activity if you discover a new “why” to go to medical school. If you recently discovered you enjoy the research aspect of medicine, then, by all means, pursue a research project.

The second reason is once you’ve mastered managing your time with your current activities and school work.

I’ll write a separate post on how to be super efficient as a premed, but it’s common sense to not add on activities if you can barely manage to juggle the ones you currently have.

This is also where most students struggle the most. How do you balance your coursework with your extracurriculars?

The first ideal step is to perfect your study routine. Ask yourself what strategies you use actually lead to a majority of your results. If you learn best via flashcards (like myself) spend most (if not all) your time using flashcards. Don’t spend unnecessary time doing thing such as rereading the text if they don’t’ do much more you.

Once you’re achieving the grades you want, then you can start adding more activities to your resume.

Unfortunately, most students will hope they figure out their studying while being involved on campus. This is more stressful than beneficial.

I’m Overwhelmed With My Extracurriculars As A PreMed:

As you get closer to applying to medical school, college unfortunately gets harder. Your classes are tougher, you’re studying for your MCAT, and prepping for your application.

On top of all that you’re expected to still balance your extracurriculars as a premed?

What do you do when things become too much to handle.

First ask yourself if the current stress is due to a temporary stressor (upcoming exam/paper) or if the stress has been there for a while.

If the stress has been consistent, consider cutting bait or hiatus from an organization that is taking much of your time.

Ideally, you may have an organization that is sucking your time but you don’t care too much for.

I’ll give you an example of mine. My first year of college I was selected to volunteer at a local hospital. It seemed like the pre-med thing to do.

But I wasn’t getting much from the experience. It was honestly just a resume stuffer. To make it worse it was taking 3-4 hours of my week. That’s a lifetime of free hours in college I could have been using elsewhere.

So I decided to cut bait. And I felt so good! There was much more free time that I could use elsewhere.

So evaluate each activity and ask yourself if you’re passionate and if the time is worth it. If the answer is no, consider either cutting your hours or your ties completely.


So there you go. Hope this was helpful for you on how to balance extracurricular as a premed.

If you have any more questions, comment below and I’ll be happy to help!

If you enjoyed this post then consider checking out the following Pre-Med posts as well!

What To Know Before Applying To Medical School
What Are The Requirements For Medical School?
How Hard is Medical School? (How To Survive)
Why Not To Go To Medical School
5 Things You Need To Get Into Medical School

Want a more comprehensive guide on how to do well in college and get into medical school without all the stress?

I have a few options for you! If you want an initial step-by-step guide on how to create an irresistible med school application, check out The Pre-Med Journey. 

The Pre-Med Journey

You can grab a copy and see the reviews on Amazon by clicking the link here. 

Then you will love our highly reviewed video course, The Pre-Med Blueprint! Updated on a weekly basis, the course will help you master your studying, boost up your CV, and know what you need to do in order to get accepted into medical school!

Check out The Pre-Med Blueprint here. 

Pre-Med BluePrint

 

Thanks for reading!

Until next time my friends…

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