Connections can also be preceptors from clerkships/rotations/observerships. The prob is that most people dont stay in touch with key ones post rotating! One of my preceptors that I did a 2mth clerkship with is one of my biggest advocates! He got me in touch with several other contacts and is helping me out with residency. I stayed in touch with him post clerkship because I was still in the same hospital and would approach him every mth or other mth if I needed more assistance. He is well known in the community and I picked that up early, and I knew I would be applying to his specialty, so I kept in touch.
So even though I have family and friends who are connected, I realized early, the more the merrier