Wayne State University

Student organizations help M1s jump into med school life

In the final weeks before medical school begins, new M1 students have a lot to prepare for and consider. Many are moving to new apartments and meeting new roommates, and there is an endless amount of paperwork to fill out for the start of the year. In addition to all of this, new classes, labs, volunteer experiences and more are right around the corner. With all of this change, it can seem daunting to add any other new activities to one's plate, but that's exactly what current Wayne State medical students suggest.

"Being engaged in the medical school community through student organizations really shrinks the campus and rounds out the medical school experience overall," says Jake Pawlowski, a rising M2 student. "I'd recommend new students spend time exploring several different student groups and activities to find the best fit for them. Being involved outside of class is a great way to take a break from studying, and the huge variety of organizations at Wayne State means there's always something for everyone."

WSU School of Medicine has more than 70 student organizations for medical students. A full list can be found online, and students are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Student Affairs if they have questions or would like to start their own organization. Organizations vary from groups with an academic focus to music and the arts, religious groups, and more. Many organizations also have a strong volunteer focus, something M2 student Ariana Shane says inspired her to get involved on campus in her first year.

"What I love most about getting involved with student organizations is the volunteer opportunities available," she says. "My favorite volunteer experience was organized by the Black Medical Association (BMA) in conjunction with DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital. We helped with blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol screenings for the surrounding community. As far as I know, there is no other medical school that provides opportunities for first and second year students to gain clinical experience prior to doing clinical rotations during third and fourth year."

In addition to volunteer experiences, the school has many chapters of medical-professional organizations that students can get involved with, including the American Medical Association.

"I wanted to make an immediate impact on the health care system, in medical education and in preserving the craft of medicine," says M.D./Ph.D. student Jay Llaniguez. "For this reason, joining the American Medical Association chapter here at WSU to work on public health policies, medical education reform and physicians' rights such as licensure and tort reform was right up my alley. We have such a diverse offering of student organizations and interest groups that almost everyone can find a group of like-minded students to make an immediate impact on their own career trajectory and our community at large."

To learn more about WSU School of Medicine student organizations, visit the Office of Student Affairs website. A student organization fair will also be held in early August to provide M1s with more information and a chance to speak with student leaders about their organizations and how to get involved.