All About Extracurriculars: How To Get Leadership And Community Service Experience

*Featured photo courtesy of OSU Spring 2020 Involvement Fair*

Hello everyone and happy Black History Month! In my last blog, I talked about not having to do everything that is expected of you, so feel free to check that out before reading this. In the next edition of the Premed Advice series, I wanted to talk about getting extracurriculars to fulfill requirements. It is very important to have leadership and volunteer positions under your belt before applying to medical school because it shows the admissions committee that you are able to handle coursework while also handling other things as well. Although grades are a high priority, they are not the only thing that is looked at in an application. There are literally some med school applicants who do not become matriculants and even though there are many reasons why one could not get into medical school (low GPA/MCAT, interview was not that great, PS, etc), not having the right extracurriculars could be one. So how does one get involved?

1. Find organizations that you are passionate about and become a member

This point definitely helped me with getting the positions I have gotten in undergrad. Go to your university’s organization website and look up different programs to see what could interest you. Even check out the random emails that you get from certain organizations and see what you like in order to get involved.

2. Make sure you are a committed member

This! There are a lot of people who want positions on eboards etc but they cannot even stay committed! That’s a big NO in my dictionary. If you see yourself being an integral part of an organization, make sure to stay involved and come to most, if not all the meetings and events that it has to offer. This will let the current members know that you are interested in serving later on and your commitment to it. It’s always awkward when someone decides to run for a position of a student organization and I only saw them like twice. Please save yourself the embarrassment.

3. Check out the eboard positions that the organization has to offer

Are you a techie person? Do you like sending emails? Are you interested in advertisement and marketing? Make sure to find out what skills you would like to utilize in an organization so that you run for the position that is best fit for you. It is pretty annoying when someone runs and accepts a position that they have little to no experience in and are not willing to learn. Granted, every position has a learning curve but it is usually expected that you know some of what you are putting yourself through. So definitely take the time to find your niche.

4. When running for a position, make sure you make yourself shine

This is pretty self-explanatory but during eboard elections, highlight your strengths and what you would want to bring to an organization. Talk about why you are passionate for a certain position and your previous experiences. Many members like to vote on someone who is willing to do something unique for the organization and one who will follow through with their promises, so make sure to deliver.

5. If you do not get a position, there are millions of others to choose from

It definitely sucks when you run for a position and you do not get it. Take some time to feel dejected but then move on. There are many other positions out there that can better suited for you so keep your head up and find other organizations. I know at tOSU there are 1,000+ organizations, so there will always be something out there for you.

6. If you get the position, keep building up within the organization

It looks better on medical school applications if you have stayed in a particular organization for a longer amount of time as opposed to jumping from org to org. If you get a certain position, make sure to do well in it and move up within the org. For example, my sophomore year, I was secretary of Ladies of Leadership (LOL), then my junior year I became vice president and so my senior year….I dropped out (sike I became president). During my interview with my current medical school, it was very easy to talk about my leadership style and how it evolved within Ladies of Leadership since I have been involved with it for more than three years. So if you have the chance, definitely move up than move out so you look more consistent.

And that’s pretty much it when it comes to leadership. Some things honestly come by chance and you never know if the position you hold will last. However, for the most part, being involved is such a great way to gain leadership experience and network. A lot of the opportunities, experiences and people that I have met would not have occurred had I not been involved in certain organizations. As someone who knows who it is like to be timid, it can hard to put oneself out there, but suck it up and do it because there are more benefits to it than risks. As for getting involved with community service, it is pretty much the same advice as above. Look up organizations within the university or even in the local area that have initiatives that interest you. Make sure to contact them about getting to know them more and potentially getting service hours. I know within the university, they can have big community service events where they can take you to different locations to serve. Outside of the university, I also know there are food banks, free clinics and other programs that need volunteers. Ultimately, just find something you are passionate about, reach out, get involved, and go from there. As I have stated in my last blog, make sure you are involving yourself in things you are passionate about and have the time for. You never know where one position can lead you or the opportunities that it can open for you. If you have any questions about getting certain positions or what to do in a situation regarding it, feel free to always reach out! Have an amazing week, future physicians!

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