What are you views on sharing work/activities that were faith based? I spent a year in India on a faith based mission and it is one of my most meaningful experiences. I am apprehensive about bringing up faith / religion during this process, not out of shame but concern of discrimination. Any thoughts/advice on this topic?
One of my more meaningful experiences was taking communion to homebound member of the church that I was attending at the time. Another of my clinical experiences is at a free clinic that is affiliated with churches. I just spoke about htese expereicences in whjat they meant to me as community outreach, I really didn’t get into the religious aspects of it.
I would think that as long as you talk about how it shaped you in wanting to help people or how it made you feel while doing it you would be okay. On my discussion of homebound communion I mentioned how great it was to visit these folks who so wanted to be a part of their “church family” but couldn’t. I don’t see how anyone could really call that bad community service.
Now if you were picketing oputside of abortion clinics or “anti-gay” rallies that might be looked at differently, since most med-schools are about “diversity”, but saying you worked with poor people in India should be no big deal.
I don’t really see how the religious aspect of what you did has any real bearing on it. I would describe what you did, and leave the religion out of it. I don’t think it’s bad to mention it was a mission trip, or anything like that, but I probably wouldn’t say that “god told me to go there.”
I don’t think it’s an issue. There were many Mormons at my med school and I think their mission experiences were an integral part of their application. (Most of them had spent at least two years in another country.) Many medical schools have a branch of the Christian Medical/Dental Association, and some schools have other faith based organizations as well.
This is a great question, actually–and I’m glad to see it discussed.
Until last fall, I was not on the track of heading to medical school. So while I volunteer, it wasn’t with medical school in my sites. I work full time and have children, so when I get to my application next summer, my ‘patient focused’ volunteer hours are going to be miniscule compared to my total volunteer hours. That’s just my particular situation, and I have to make the best of it. But I am certain that my non-medical volunteer experiences still taught me a great deal and honed some of the skills that make a great physician.
I spend close to 20-30 hours a month (and sometimes well over 100 hours) volunteering in a music ministry where I work with teenage students, and I also speak at student faith-based events. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life volunteering and working with teenagers in some way, and it’s always been in the context of a church.
Much of the work I’ve done shows leadership and communicative ability–and I’d love to highlight those skills. It just gets a little tricky to know exactly the right way to do that.
I’m not embarassed about my faith–not by any stretch–but I do want to make sure that it’s presented correctly.
I think, as others have mentioned, that the key is to highlight the skills used, the human interaction, what you learned from it, etc… and just let the fact that it happened within the context of a faith-based environment become the location (the ‘where’) and not so much the ‘why.’