Sunday, January 13, 2008

Finding time to volunteer...

Medical school students have plenty of chances to do volunteer work. Many of us are overachievers who were required to volunteer and join social clubs in order to show that we could not only excel in academics, but in social affairs as well in order to be accepted into medical school. I swear that their are as many leadership and volunteer positions at UMC as their are medical school students. For every specialty, their is an interest group. For every interest group, there are officers and liaisons to each of the four classes of medical school students. We also have officers for each class, and we have a student body which has another set of officers. We also have the Ever's Society, which is group of students who coordinates surveys of each class and each professor to ensure that the classes continue to improve year after year. We have a liaison committee, which is responsible for challenging questions on our exams. This allows the instructors to keep from receiving 50 emails after each exam wondering why someone didn't get something right. There is no shortage of activities.

Personally, I am the Director of the 2011 Note Taking Service (NTS). I coordinate to have all of the audio for each day's classes to be recorded. The audio is made available on our class NTS website. Each person in the NTS is assigned an audio file for which they have to transcribe nearly verbatim within 40 hours of the lecture. The transcription is then posted on the website. (Beats going to class!) I don't do this alone. The NTS has 4 members and falls under the direction of the VP for my class. There is me, a treasurer, a web site coordinator and a recording coordinator. I am also one of two web site coordinators for my class' website and the medical school help website. These aren't huge jobs, but I cherish what I do.

I also volunteer at the Jackson Free Clinic. The clinic is staffed by students to help the people of Jackson who have inadequate access to medical care. It isn't anything special as far as clinics go, but it is special. It provides learning opportunities for students. It allows them to practice real time skills on patients under the supervision of a volunteer physician. It also allows people who can't afford to go to a physician, the ability to get the medical care that they deserve. Students work in teams with an M3 or M4 heading the team and M1 & M2's with them. The upperclassman has the skills that s/he passes down to the lowerclassmen. It also provides the lowerclassmen with an opportunity to discover what the next few years of our lives will be like by socializing with the upperclassmen that we rarely get to see because they are in the wards while we are still in the classroom. Each weekend, you get to work with different students and a different physician, maximizing the learning experience.

If you ever wanted to donate to a cause that helps underserved patients and medical students of Mississippi, considering donating to JFC. It is completely tax deductible.

There are probably even more volunteer activities, but I can't keep up with all of them. You will never lack for a position and a way to spend your free time in medical school.


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