I have a decent number of friends who are doing pre-med in undergrad. Once you’re in med school, they start asking you questions about all sorts of things. What kind of research should I do? Should I join this lab? What classes should I take to prepare me for medical school? What clubs should I join? How do I prep for the MCAT? How many hours should I volunteer?
There are no easy answers to these types of question because I think they vary by person. However, the first thing you should do as a pre-med is really try to figure out if medicine is right for you. This is easier said than done. Go talk to some medical students. Read some med student blogs (like this one!). Medicine is not an easy road to take. I’ll admit that there were many times when I’ve questioned my choice to go into medicine. Heck, I still do it sometimes. Med school is rough. It’s not difficult conceptually, we’re not doing rocket science here–but the sheer volume of material is overwhelming to say the least. So definitely make sure you’re positive that medicine is for you rather than assuming it is.
As for what to do in undergrad, do things that you are passionate about. If you’re passionate about medicine and research, go work in lab that combines that. If you’re passionate about medicine and humanity, go work at hospital. As long as you can explain how your experiences are relevant to medicine, go do it! There is no magic formula to getting into med school–yes grades and test scores are important–but your activities matter as well. Seek out relevant experiences and make sure you can have a conversation about them. Passion and hard work can go a long way!