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Anyone I've talked to who are in med school have a pretty impressive background (not including university) with volunteer jobs, clinical research, etc. as if they already knew at age 3 they're going to be doctors. My question is has anyone who have gotten in med school here ever worked at places like McDonald's or bars? Dead serious. Thank you.

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Anyone I've talked to who are in med school have a pretty impressive background (not including university) with volunteer jobs, clinical research, etc. as if they already knew at age 3 they're going to be doctors. My question is has anyone who have gotten in med school here ever worked at places like McDonald's or bars? Dead serious. Thank you.

 

I'm sure some have gotten in from working at McDonald's or bars, but more importantly, you don't need to have known you wanted to be a doctor for long to get in. I knew I wanted to do medicine from age 12 but never started doing anything until my 2nd year of university. Lots of people decide one year that they want to do it, write mcat, apply, and get in. They don't care how health-related your ECs are, just that you were well-rounded with academics and life. 

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Anyone I've talked to who are in med school have a pretty impressive background (not including university) with volunteer jobs, clinical research, etc. as if they already knew at age 3 they're going to be doctors. My question is has anyone who have gotten in med school here ever worked at places like McDonald's or bars? Dead serious. Thank you.

 

Yes, of course! I had many various jobs before entering medical school...I won't name specific places, but I worked for several years at a warehouse and a casino. There is nothing wrong with having these types of jobs and can build character IMO. Though once I realized I wanted to pursue academics and later med school I started my way up in lab positions such as cleaning glassware, mixing solutions, etc until I gained more experience.

 

EDIT: as stated above, it doesn't matter when you decide to pursue medicine. I was done my MSc by the time I decided I wanted to go to medical school. It meant I had an uphill battle since I never really cared much about my GPA as pre-meds do, but in the end it didn't matter.

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Yes. But I moved into research jobs for the few years before I applied to med school.

Labour jobs or jobs in the service industry build character for sure. I strongly believe that I was made a better person through working for years in customer service. But in all honesty I'm not sure if adcoms really have an appreciation for that

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I've worked in retail before. Working to make some cash over a summer in high school (or perhaps to support your family while you apply) should not be frowned upon.

 

Also, while a lot of people knew they wanted to be doctors from a very young age- I was absolutely not one of those people. If anything, I only started seriously considering it in second year.

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I've worked in retail before. Working to make some cash over a summer in high school (or perhaps to support your family while you apply) should not be frowned upon.

 

Also, while a lot of people knew they wanted to be doctors from a very young age- I was absolutely not one of those people. If anything, I only started seriously considering it in second year.

That's no good Ei-chan, you need to focus solely on going pro.

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I wouldn't discount experiences at McDonalds or working in retail. A person working in those jobs has to deal with a variety of people and deal with multiple tasks at once. I have seen customers that are extremely rude and being able to deal with these types of people in a positive manner will serve you well as a physician. 

 

Personally, I'd view it as a strength if I saw it on an application if it was presented from the customer service and multitasking point of view (as opposed to "burger flipper" or "clothes folder" of course ;) ). It also shows that the person doesn't consider themselves above a certain type of work. Not only will you deal with interesting customers, but you'll meet co-workers from all walks of life as well.

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pfft I did telemarketing for 2 years, it was the best job a 16 year old could hope for *I had a deep voice and sounded way older than I was lulz*

me too! haha I had people ask what country I was in because they said there was no way I was legally allowed to work 

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I think it's all about what you take away from it.  I worked lots of customer service jobs throughout high school and during summers in undergrad and I think I learned more and enjoyed those jobs more than when I was working in a lab.  I even included working in customer service in my Top 10 and it seemed to have worked out well :).  Honestly, I think being able to spend time volunteering and doing research jobs where the pay is low or nonexistent is a luxury that many people cannot afford and that doesn't make those people less suited to become a physician.  It's important to do what's best for you so that you're not stretched too thin (time wise, financially, and mental health) and if that means not volunteering a lot, working at McDonalds, or doing something else completely different, do it.  What you learn is more important than listing something perceived as prestigious on your CV that was just done for the sake of looking good.

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I actually know a girl from my uni who got into med school (first try), and she worked for years as a bartender. When I talked to her about her interviews, she actually told me that working as a bartender was the most helpful part of prepping for interviews -- if you can think on your feet at 2am when you have drunk frat boys harassing you along with loud music ringing in your ear and strobe lights going everywhere, then you sure as hell can think on your feet in a controlled, quiet interview environment.

 

Don't think med schools are just after the usual set of "med school skills," ie. research, good grades, volunteer work. While those are certainly important, I think you will make yourself stand out even more if you can deliver real-life skills and conversational aptitude along with them. And yes, for those kinds of skills, working minimum-wage grunt jobs is perfect. Plus, it pays the bills!

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I also always believed that retail jobs and the like could never hurt your chances, for reasons the posters above mentioned. But I will say that jobs like these shouldn't prevent you from pursuing activities in other areas as well such as ECs, research, volunteer, etc. And adcoms probably won't excuse a poor GPA just because you held a job either.

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And adcoms probably won't excuse a poor GPA just because you held a job either.

 

Not entirely sure if I agree with this one. You may very well be right for a large number of schools, but I would imagine that, if someone made a compelling case and had a good MCAT score, other schools may be more forgiving. It would obviously never be completely overlooked, but some people really can't help it if they don't have rich families and have to work to put themselves through school.

 

I realize that sounded a little defensive, it wasn't meant to. But personally, I would much rather have a doctor who has experienced life and its hardships than a doctor who made straight A's in university. From the looks of things, a lot of schools are starting to share that viewpoint, at least to some extent. :)

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Not entirely sure if I agree with this one. You may very well be right for a large number of schools, but I would imagine that, if someone made a compelling case and had a good MCAT score, other schools may be more forgiving. It would obviously never be completely overlooked, but some people really can't help it if they don't have rich families and have to work to put themselves through school.

 

I realize that sounded a little defensive, it wasn't meant to. But personally, I would much rather have a doctor who has experienced life and its hardships than a doctor who made straight A's in university. From the looks of things, a lot of schools are starting to share that viewpoint, at least to some extent. :)

Agreed.  

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I've wanted to be a doctor since age 6, and I have worked McDonald's and many mall retail jobs as well. I was able to move up to management level in retail which I think helped my app. Above all the soft skills other posters have described help you not only in interviews but also in real life, in and out of the hospital.

 

As a side note, I had minimal research experience (hated it) but was also able to maintain a handful of meaningful ECs alongside work. Not only did I get in to med school but I just graduated ????

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I agree with others that retail/service jobs can be great experiences. You can easily spin off many important skills like team work, managing stress, etc you learned from these jobs. As for interviews it's been eye opening to see candidates who clearly are comfortable in talking to strangers in stressful environments vs candidates whose CV and conversation reveals a more cloistered existence. I can confidently say interviewers value diversity of experience working with people of all areas of society, and possession of an appreciation for the different needs and wants of individuals.

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I think these are insightful comments speaking to the strengths of diverse experiences.  As someone who worked jobs like busboy, ice-cream server in the somewhat distant past, I agree that these can be character building experiences (my best job from those days was as a tennis coach to adults and kids).  However, I would say that research (if something of interest) or other work (like teaching) can also be good experiences and provide a foundation to alternative careers if the path to med school takes longer.

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I worked as a caregiver for almost a year and I feel it is one of the most significant things on my application, just because I learned SO much about the day to day lives of people suffering from medical issues. I think this is significant for me, even though it is not a classically medical position. So if you've learned and from it and grew from it, then I think it is definitely important to include it on your app!

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