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What do extracurricular activities look like for the average Canadian med student? I know this obviously varies a lot based on personal preferences, circumstances, etc, but what I am essentially asking is if there's an EC "arms race" in med school like there is amongst med gunners during undergrad?

 
Med school seems to be more time consuming than undergrad for most people based on what I hear (I can't speak from personal experience here), so I am not sure how much time people have for things outside of their academics, or even how important those things are. I know that research is a big component for matching in med school, but beyond that do ECs really matter? 
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On 10/31/2020 at 11:36 PM, garceyues said:

what I am essentially asking is if there's an EC "arms race" in med school like there is amongst med gunners during undergrad?

There is not. Though sometimes it can feel like there is. EC involvement in medical school is more based on people being interested than in trying to pad a CV with ECs (since at the end of the day nobody really cares).

 

On 10/31/2020 at 11:36 PM, garceyues said:

I know that research is a big component for matching in med school, but beyond that do ECs really matter? 

They typically don't matter too much (maybe research for some specialities), but people still find time to get involved in things they enjoy (research, school plays, interest groups, social events, etc.)

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I'm doing research & I feel like I couldn't possibly do any more things. For the little free time I have left, I need to do something that don't involve looking at a computer, like exercising. I just have to. But I've been feeling like it's not enough? I'd like to hear feedbacks from other students as well. I was under the impression that it did matter for residency, but maybe I'm wrong? Some people are just so involved it's intimidating haha!

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On 11/4/2020 at 9:03 PM, Mel96b said:

I'm doing research & I feel like I couldn't possibly do any more things. For the little free time I have left, I need to do something that don't involve looking at a computer, like exercising. I just have to. But I've been feeling like it's not enough? I'd like to hear feedbacks from other students as well. I was under the impression that it did matter for residency, but maybe I'm wrong? Some people are just so involved it's intimidating haha!

I definitely find that people in my class are feeling pressured to be super involved, but I don't think it's necessary. Multiple upper years have said that ECs barely matter for carms, and it's good to take the time in first year to relax, make friends (difficult right now lol) and get used to med school. Many people do nothing at all in first year and only start research/ECs in the summer or in second year, and they do completely fine

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/2/2020 at 3:52 AM, robclem21 said:

There is not. Though sometimes it can feel like there is. EC involvement in medical school is more based on people being interested than in trying to pad a CV with ECs (since at the end of the day nobody really cares).

 

They typically don't matter too much (maybe research for some specialities), but people still find time to get involved in things they enjoy (research, school plays, interest groups, social events, etc.)

Is there any particular reason why it feels as though there is one? Perhaps the feeling of a hyper competitive environment (even though most med programs are pass/fail)? 

I was under the impression that ECs mattered on some level for creating a competitive CV for matching. Beyond reference letters and maybe some research, do extracurriculars make any difference on a CV for matching purposes? I am not really sure how one would distinguish themselves from other applicants otherwise beyond the other elements I listed.

Regardless though, its comforting to hear that med students have time to focus upon their studies and things that interest them!

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On 11/2/2020 at 4:54 PM, Bambi said:

In med school, I had no time for my ECs and had to stop all of them. I was too busy studying. I did no research in med school.

Do you think that research/extracurriculars are important on some level for the purpose of matching to certain specialities? Otherwise a residency application would basically boil down to reference letters/elective performance if I am not mistaken. 

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On 11/4/2020 at 7:03 PM, Mel96b said:

I'm doing research & I feel like I couldn't possibly do any more things. For the little free time I have left, I need to do something that don't involve looking at a computer, like exercising. I just have to. But I've been feeling like it's not enough? I'd like to hear feedbacks from other students as well. I was under the impression that it did matter for residency, but maybe I'm wrong? Some people are just so involved it's intimidating haha!

Research involvement seems to be the most important "EC" for med students from what I can gather on this forum- perhaps even the only one that carries any major significance. I'm not a med student but I think we share the same concerns! I was definitely under the impression that ECs mattered for residency on some level. With time spent between classes, studying, and research during med, I'm not really sure what else one would have time for outside of the weekends perhaps. I'm also a huge lover of the gym/exercise, so I think I would personally go insane if I didn't incorporate that into my med schedule somehow lol. Some people are definitely super involved regardless of necessity- I personally strive to be one of those (although its not always easy ;))

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On 11/6/2020 at 8:06 AM, Psych said:

I definitely find that people in my class are feeling pressured to be super involved, but I don't think it's necessary. Multiple upper years have said that ECs barely matter for carms, and it's good to take the time in first year to relax, make friends (difficult right now lol) and get used to med school. Many people do nothing at all in first year and only start research/ECs in the summer or in second year, and they do completely fine

I guess that pretty natural considering the pressure prior to med lol. Would you say that EC involvement/research earlier on might be necessary if you are gunning for a hyper competitive speciality? 

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3 hours ago, garceyues said:

I guess that pretty natural considering the pressure prior to med lol. Would you say that EC involvement/research earlier on might be necessary if you are gunning for a hyper competitive speciality? 

honestly hyper-competitive specialties matching is highly highly due to subjectivity and chance. Ask any residents and staff and they'll say that reference letter + elective performance are THE MOST important factors. Applicants to these specialties all look the same on paper i.e. ECs, references, research, electives etc., that's how they got ranked for interviews in the first place and that point it all comes down to "fit". A common thing in these applicants too is the willingness to match to a backup specialty or to take a gap year to do research full-time with the hopes to match (quite common in ophtho, I believe). Many gunners do match but many don't either. Non-gunners who may look underqualified on paper who prove to be a good fit to the program and the PD are also frequently chosen over qualified candidates who turned out to be very hard to work with (given the relative small size of these fields). I think @Bambi can tell you more about that ;)

In the end, once in med school, breathe easy, enjoy yourself and do things that interest you and sustain you. School will be taxing enough and you'd be miserable if you kept doing things just to pad your CV for a specialty. It will show through either way for sure.

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4 hours ago, garceyues said:

Do you think that research/extracurriculars are important on some level for the purpose of matching to certain specialities? Otherwise a residency application would basically boil down to reference letters/elective performance if I am not mistaken. 

I don't believe ECs are important on any level.

Research may be important in super competitive fields, or in other fields, if your research is related to the field for which you are applying, so you are showing extra interest, knowledge and aptitude, but you must always be considered a good fit primarily. 

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