I just finished my SSC project (Student Selected Component) and sparked me to write a little entry about it as it is a requirement for all medical schools to do them. At my school, we have three of these per year. For first year we have:
1) History of Medicine
2) Critical Analysis
3) Communicating Health Information
The first one is a 2500 word essay and you would choose an essay topic from something ridiculous like 260 topics? I found this to be the hardest of the three assignments. If I remember correctly, they expect you to have about 12-20 references for this essay and it really kicked me in the ass. I cannot recall borrowing so many books from the library before! But other than collecting the info, writing the essay was pretty straightforward and easy. It was practically just summarizing your findings.
The second one is where we chose a drug from a list of topics and we would have to analyze it and present it to a small group. I found it pretty easy and actually did it up only a few days before deadline (shhhh). Really straightforward...and requires hardly any energy.
Third one is what I just finished. It is a public health assignment. We can pick our own topic just as long as it is a public health problem and do up an information poster about it. Again...really straightforward (zzzZzzzZZ). Finally pulled my brain together and managed to finish the entire thing in five hours.
I don't know what the other medical schools do for their SSC topics but personally I think the ones that we have are pretty bland and straightforward. Most of my friends truly believe that they give us these SSCs just to keep us busy. Personally I don't find that I learn a whole lot from doing the SSC unless I pick a topic that pertains to what I want to do in the future and what I am interested in. For example: the critical analysis SSC to me was pretty pointless. I found out a lot from ONE drug...and a bit about others but the stuff we present aren't that informative for the future. It was pretty much just a brief outlook on the drug. On the other hand the History of Medicine and Communicating SSC are the complete opposite. The two topics I chose are something I am interested in and I am considering to possibly specialize in either one of them - so I find these projects more informative. I guess it really depends from person to person.
Also forgot to mention that these are marked on a 1-5 scale.
1 = Outright Fail
2 = Borderline (kind of failed - require meeting)
3 = Satisfactory
4 = Good
5 = Excellent
It is pretty hard to fail...the only way to fail is to not hand it in or do absolutely nothing. OR the scariest part is plagiarism. I still remember the first lecture we had on plagiarism and the university takes it really seriously. I get really nervous every time I hand in my work and I always make sure I did all my citations correctly and stuff.
Random thought: I was thinking the other day if I should register for a volunteering job at a hospital back home when I go back for summer. The problem is that most hospitals are not keen to accept people for short term volunteering and I think I will only be home for 1.5 months, which ain't a long time. Hmmm. Thoughts? Opinions?