Hi, I just wrapped up my freshman year at umich and I’m happy with what I was able to accomplish academically given the pandemic and everything that’s going on with my mental and physical health this year. One area that I did fall short on was club involvement, I know I can come up with a million excuses but getting to the point I wasn’t able to find and stick with a club that I liked this year. I went to intro meeting for a couple but ended up dropping them or they were very watered-down versions (at this volunteer club people just talked about random things for an hour; an entire meeting was about a fishing trip the seniors went on that none of the rest of us knew anything about haha) of what the club claimed to be (can’t blame them covid does make it hard for clubs to run like normal), I’m just worried that I now have almost nothing to put down for my freshman year as far as extracurricular when doing my application on AMCAS or whatever a couple years from now. I’ve done some outside of Umich volunteering during the pandemic does that count? Is this something I can recover from? I’m worried about gaining leadership roles now that I’m 1 year behind, have any of you started the club game late? What advice do you have?
To start off, I’m glad you feel accomplished given the circumstances of the past year (you should be proud!). In terms of clubs, being a part of one is important but not nearly as important in terms of your other activities on the AMCAS (like patient interaction, MCAT, volunteering, research). While you should continue to search for a club you enjoy/want to be a part of, it’s completely okay that you didn’t find any that interested you this year. As you said, some clubs aren’t able to do much virtually which makes them less enjoyable. Hopefully, clubs will be able to meet and hold events in person in the fall semester, but until then, I would suggest looking through categories on maize pages for clubs that may have a purpose you relate to or involve a passion you have. I would also emphasize that your clubs do not have to be pre-med related (they can be, but they don’t have to be). It’s much more valuable to participate in a club that you are passionate about and want to be deeply involved in. As for leadership roles, they do not have to be just from club eboard positions! Leadership can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, such as being an SLC study group leader, leading a project as part of your research lab, etc. That being said, you still have plenty of time to gain leadership roles in clubs you join your sophomore year, too. I would also encourage you to only pick a couple (2-3 max. clubs) to be a part of/gain leadership in so that you aren’t spreading yourself too thin and can fully engage with each of those clubs. With regards to your volunteering outside of UM, those hours for sure count towards your med school applications! You can choose to include them as non-clinical or clinical volunteering on the AMCAS, depending on the nature of what you did.
I hope that reassures you and that you find some clubs that interest you! Feel free to reach out with any other questions.
Leen, PMH Advisor