Extracurricular Activities for the Undergraduate
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
No one expects you to go to college and not have any fun! Sure, it’s about education in the end, but life itself is all about balance and college is YOUR time to do YOU! I spent a great deal of my time in college having fun, and I would not trade it for anything. College is all about investigating who you are as an individual, and figuring out what you love and want to do for the rest of your life.
Trust me when I say, it is NOT all about studying, all of the time.
Most pre-med students forget that extracurricular activities are not just about looking good on paper. They are what will make you well-rounded, help you learn about yourself and others, and provide a source of fun and balance.
Here are some of the extracurricular activities I chose, in case you are stumped:
I did a TON of volunteer work in college and gained so much experience in the medical field, while having a ton of fun. I volunteered in two different emergency departments, on a pediatrics unit doing child life activities, and in a neurosurgery office. I also loved helping with annual races such as Relay for Life and various marathons as a medical volunteer.
Think about what you truly love and then figure out how to get involved! Some examples include working at an animal shelter, serving the poor at a soup kitchen, teaching/tutoring children, cleaning up the community, or building a new facility or home.
Of course it still counts as an extracurricular, even if you are getting paid! I chose to be a nanny for a few different families, during my first two years of college. I then transitioned to a general chemistry teaching assistant position for my last two years of college. If you’re going to work in college, I advise you to choose carefully and wisely. Combine an interest with a job that will benefit you and your resume. Believe it or not, it is easier than you think to combine your interests with a job that will dually benefit your future, even at this early stage of your education.
This could include anything from sports clubs, student government or policy work, a sorority/fraternity, or special interest clubs. I personally loved being a part of a dance club and French club. These are great ways to meet other students with interests similar to yours, AND beef up that resume!
Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of basic science research. But… I did it. Consider what your areas of interest consist of, and pursue research there, if possible. I chose a basic science research position in college because I knew there would be a publication opportunity. The trade off? I was learning about basic science concepts I had no interest in, and I had to work with mice. NOT my cup of tea. Alternatively, a clinical research position can include interaction with physicians and patients. Many medical schools do like to see research under a student’s belt.