Extracurricular Activities: Helpful or Hinderance?


Advisors, professors, and medical schools emphasize the importance of partaking on extracurricular activities as for the following reasons: 1) You are more of a holistic person by having a balance between academics and extracurricular activities. 2.) You’re providing service to those who are in most need of it. Extracurricular activities are very helpful, but there comes a certain extent. I am the type of person who likes to get out in the community and lend a helping hand. However, I do have the tendency to take on more things than I should. My main breakdown was during my sophomore year. At this time, I had waaaay too much on my plate– I was taking 19 credits, doing research, was an officer for 2 clubs, let alone most of my classes were heavy science courses.  As a result, my sophomore year took me into a bad turn. After this experience, these are the following lessons that I have learned:

1.) Extracurriculars are important, but grades matter more (This is a given)

Going out in the community and lending a hand to those who need it is important, but sometimes when you give so much of your time in this area,  it’s extremely challenging to study and balance class work. Therefore, the basic fundamentals of each course could have been taught, but maybe you did not study as much as you should have. This means that you have to work twice as hard in your classes.

2.) It’s all about quality vs quantity

Because I did so much extracurricular activities, it was so hard for me to put 100% into each activities that I partook in. The bottom line with extracurricular activities is to identify why you are doing what you are doing.

3.) Main categories that medical schools look for in an applicant

Based on the physicians that I shadowed and the medical school admission committees that I have spoken to, these are the following of what medical schools are looking for in an applicant  when they take on extracurricular activities:

*Medical-related experience

*community Service

*Integrity and Ethics

*Cultural Competencies

In conclusion, if you are looking for some extracurricular activities to partake on, look for things that stimulate you. (I’ll scratch up another post about the different types of extracurricular activites that medical schools look for)

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