operationMD

Not owning a BB/iPhone is holding me back! >:O

In Rants, Volunteering on August 9, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I signed up at the end of the spring semester to volunteer with a local outreach program.  Without giving out names, the program sets up a free health clinic at a different homeless shelter 5 days a week, offering services and education to under-served communities.  This is the type of work I would love to stay involved with throughout my career, if not run one myself in the future.  I read through their website and signed up to be on their list serve so I can sign up weekly according to my schedule.  Back in May, I was excited to finally get some more hands-on clinical experiences with a different patient population than I had seen before, and to have a productive activity to fill my time  with until I found a full-time job – in sum, I was the stereotypical eager pre-med kid, geeked to potentially be experiencing something more closely related to my anticipated career, and that would make my overabundance of free-time this summer look better.

Fast forward 3-4 months.  How has my experience been? Oh wait, what? Where am I?  Sitting at home on my couch, frantically checking my e-mail. And why?  In addition to searching for notifications of status updates from med schools, I am waiting for the weekly e-mail to be sent out to this list serve so I can finally experience this outreach I’ve heard such wonderful things about.  The problem is, the program, much like my part-time job, operates on a “first come, first gets” basis, which in turn boils down to those with continuous internet access (i.e. those with Blackberries or iPhones) repetitively beat out those of us with normal cell phones.  Sent on different days at varied times, there is absolutely no way to predict when the email will be sent. With over 100-300 people on the list serve (depending on the time of year), and maybe 10 openings a week, competition for these slots is high.  Ugh, talk about frustration.  A friend of mine has already volunteered with the program a few times.  Yes, she has a Blackberry. Oh, and wait for it – she also works my same part-time job and gets all the gigs she wants, when she wants them. In sum, her BB not only enables her to make more money than me, but it also allows her to volunteer better than me! Talk about a slap in the face!

I already put volunteering with this organization on my submitted secondaries, so now I feel forced to keep trying to hook up with this program even in the face of repeated fails.  Fortunately, this week has been good for me.  Not only did I find and start a good full-time job in the area that allows me to telecommute, but I also finally was able to secure a spot in this evasive volunteer program.  Furthermore, I found a closer volunteer opportunity at a Planned Parenthood clinic that I can potentially work with on Saturdays.  While I believe in quality over quantity, the limited availability of the superb quality offered by the program is about to take a backseat to the vast quantity of decent experience I can gain at the local clinic.  I will still try for the hard-to-get experience, but I’m just glad I found something to tide me over in the meantime.

What can I say? I absolutely love volunteering!  This past year, I was so involved in my program and working in the ER, that I neglected volunteering at all.  Honestly, I haven’t really volunteered since undergrad (clue #1 to my background) and have truly missed it.  It feels good to get back into giving to others.  I’ve spent these last few years establishing who I am and what I want to accomplish with and in my life.  Now that that’s all settled, it’s time for the new and improved me to start helping others achieve their goals.

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