I know that the change to online courses and suspensions in research/volunteer/ activities impact all of us and we are finding ways to cope with it. I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions or ideas on what we can do that can still enrich the premed experience but still also limiting exposure e.g is it possible to take an online emt course?
First, know that you are not alone. There’s a lot of uncertainty on campus & in the world right now, and it’s totally normal to feel a bit lost or stressed. I’ll attempt to give you some tips for now, but know that these suggestions might change depending on what the future holds.
One thing to note is that medical schools are absolutely going to be cognizant of the fact that what’s going on right now is going to limit the amount of patient experience/volunteering/research hours that hopeful medical students can get. When they see a gap in experience during this time period on an application, they’re probably not going to hold it against you. It’s important that you put your health and the health of others first, and dropping certain activities might be the best way to do that, even though it seems counterproductive right now.
Some ideas on what to do during this “down time.” One thing you can do, if you haven’t already, is start studying for the MCAT! Do some research online before figuring out what study methods work best for you (check out this question on our website for some starter info). You can buy a set of study books or register for a class, plan out your timeline so that you can maximize any extra time you might have now. If you think it’s too early to take the MCAT, you can even start prepping by getting into reading! The CARS section is worth a quarter of your composite score, so if you aren’t the strongest at reading sections of standardized tests, it might be beneficial to start reading any kinds of books (they don’t have to be science-based ones, but if you’re looking for a medical author, we recommend Atul Gawande).
As far as online EMT courses, these do exist, but EMT certification cannot be completed 100% online, you do need a certain number of on-site experience hours. There may be some restrictions right now dealing with the number of new healthcare workers that are getting certified, so check with a specific course/college before enrolling in anything. Also, know that if you choose to start an online EMT training course during the semester, you will be adding more coursework to whatever you currently have, so I wouldn’t advise it if this is already a difficult semester academically for you. I would suggest talking to a pre-health advisor for more detailed information about starting an online EMT course right now.
If you have any follow up questions, we are currently working on creating a virtual advising hours platform, rather than in-person advising hours, so stay tuned for those!
Best of luck,
Owen, PMH Advisor
To add to Owen’s answer, MCAT prep is a great way to spend your time! Even if you’re far off from taking it, beginning to understand the test and its nuances is always a good idea. Reading is a great way to increase your skills every day. Outside of that, take care of yourself and your online classes and look into valuable ways to spend your time. It does not have to be all about medicine! Take time to explore things you’re passionate about and work on those! Medical schools love to see passions and interests outside of medicine as well! If there is something you’re passionate about, pursue it. All of this “free time” can allow you to look into things that you are passionate about and engage with those things to develop yourself personally and, hopefully, professionally. Jobs outside of medicine can be important in teaching you skills that you may use later on, so do not discount any ideas! Use your time wisely regardless of circumstances, and medical schools will be aware of how you may have had to alter your plans as a result of COVID-19.
Thank you Owen and Sydney, great ideas and advice, I thought about reading and exploring interests but never really thought about preparing for Mcat since it does seem a bit early(I am a freshman) but will learn some more about it!
Check out our new blog post for a reading list you can start to work on during your time off: https://premedhubumich.com/a-quarantine-reading-list/
Here’s also a list of cool online volunteering opportunities for some more ideas: https://www.dosomething.org/us/articles/9-places-to-volunteer-online-and-make-a-real-impact