Student organizations highlight service as the heart of medical profession

MAPS students volunteering at Steppin' Out. Photo courtesy of MAPS

By Courtney Sosnowski | Reporter

As students in pre-health majors worry about those impending applications to the next level of schooling, they should not neglect one of the most important aspects that medical schools are looking for: service.

Medical Service Organization (MSO) and Multicultural Association of Prehealth Students (MAPS) are just two examples of the many service-oriented organizations on campus which help organize students to contribute to the Waco community.

“Being a healthcare professional means that you will be dedicating your life to other people for your entire career,” Houston senior Maya Fontenot, the MAPS president said. “If students want to see ‘is this really what I want to do? Do I want to dedicate my life to serving others?’ then they get the chance to taste that while they’re in college and see how wonderful it can be.”

While GPA, test scores and research opportunities are valued parts of the application, Chattanooga, Tenn. sophomore Anjali Ravee suggested that service is the most important part of the application. She explained how doctors can sometimes be criticized as being “too robotic,” and that service combats this stereotype.

“I mean obviously we all think we’re good applicants for med school, but if you cannot show that you’re willing to sacrifice your time to help others then it sheds a bad light,” Ravee said.

Pre-health advisor Dr. Linda B. Haynes emphasized that medical schools like to see that students are capable of balancing vigorous schedules, while showing their humane side.

“Students often say that they want to be a doctor, dentist, PA, etc. because they want to help people,” Haynes explained. “Service to the community is one way of showing that passion.”

Not only does serving look good on a resume, it helps pre-health students gain exposure to different types of medicine, which can affect the direction of their career.

Marshall, Minn. senior Kayla Murphy, the president of MSO, has been influenced by her work at the Family Health Centers in Waco.

“I’ve volunteered at the Family Health Center and that’s really shaped my desire to serve underserved communities with my medical career,” Murphy said “[That’s] one of the things that I view as most impactful in my experience in MSO and even at Baylor generally.”

While Waco has many opportunities for pre-health students to gain clinical specific exposure, MSO and MAPS send students to places that do not always directly relate to medicine. Students may play with children at Mission Waco or talk with the elderly at nursing homes. MAPS has a program with G.W. Carver Middle School and Indian Springs Middle School to inspire younger students to pursue the medical profession. Through this partnership with Waco ISD, the middle schoolers can join a pre-med club after school where they can conduct science experiments, and be mentored by a Baylor student.

“I think the biggest part of volunteering is creating those personal relationships. It’s the whole point,” Ravee said. “What else would you be doing with that time? I always say to people that ask – the best part of my week is when I get to go to the clinics.”

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