Find your perfect pre-health RSO

A+representative+for+the+Medlife+RSO+speaks+with+a+prospective+member+during+Quad+Day+on+Aug.+26%2C+2018.

Kenyon Edmond

A representative for the Medlife RSO speaks with a prospective member during Quad Day on Aug. 26, 2018.

By Shivali Shukla, Assistant Special Sections Editor

From national fraternities to small, local philanthropic organizations, there are a wide variety of options when it comes to finding the perfect on-campus pre-health organization for you. If you’re looking for a pre-medical fraternity, you might want to rush Phi Delta Epsilon or Phi Chi. If you aren’t necessarily interested in medicine but are still looking for something along the pre-health route, Alpha Epsilon Delta might be the match for you. 

If the idea of joining a professional fraternity isn’t appealing to you, you might consider one of the hundreds of other organizations on campus that will allow you to explore your pre-professional interests. Simply searching for “pre-dental club” or “pre-vet club” in the RSO database will turn up the exact result you’re looking for. Many organizations, however, are not limited to only students interested in a single profession. Some offer service trips to provide medical care abroad, such as Medlife or Global Medical Training. Others encourage you to engage with local volunteer efforts, like Illini Medical Screening Society. You can likely search any of your interests or pre-professional goals and find what you’re looking for — and if not, you can start it yourself. That’s what I did.

In the middle of my sophomore year, I wanted to find out if Doctors Without Borders had a student chapter on campus. When I realized they didn’t, I went ahead and contacted the international organization to find out how to get involved, and they soon connected me with another student who was interested in doing the same thing. Together, we created the university’s student chapter of Doctors Without Borders, and we haven’t looked back since. So you too can start from scratch and create the RSO that aligns with everything you’re looking for.

Every RSO will have to adapt this semester, perhaps indefinitely, to ensure the safety of all of their members. It’s likely that each club will be utilizing unique methods to recruit members and keep them engaged. Doctors Without Borders will be hosting virtual and outdoor events and encouraging membership via a weekly e-newsletter, social media posts and various department newsletters. You might find other pre-health organizations posting on your class Facebook page or some of your professors advertising clubs your class might like. If you’re still struggling to find a place you fit into, you can try talking to your advisor about RSOs they might suggest for your interests and goals.

Many times, even if your professional goals don’t completely align with the title of the RSO you’re thinking of joining, you can still get the same thing out of it. Doctors Without Borders, for example, is not limited solely to those of us who want to be doctors. Planned events are always coinciding with the interests of our members, whether they’re pre-PA, pre-vet, pre-PT, etc. For the most part, clubs usually want to engage as many people as possible. So as long as you’re communicating what you’re interested in, there will likely be some events planned related to what you’re looking for. That’s not to say that you can just join the Pre-Dental club and expect to visit a new veterinary clinic every week; you should still try to be realistic about what you’re joining.

The goal of pre-health and pre-professional clubs on campus is to unite students who have similar goals with other like-minded students and professionals in their field of interest. There’s usually some networking involved, and specifically for some of those pre-health RSOs, you can maybe expect to take part in some volunteering, philanthropy, social events, fundraisers, conferences, field trips and other events to help you explore the path you’re looking to take. You can also find other students who have been down the same road and help you figure out what courses to sign up for, advisors you can talk to and suggest other things you might want to be involved in. Joining a pre-health organization is all about joining a community of people who know exactly what you’re going through as you traverse the plains of your pre-profession. And who knows? They might end up sticking with you every step of the way.

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