The infamous Summer breaks or Summer vacays, they’re serendipitous moments of the year that every student looks forward to with hope and bright eyes while going through cram days and all-nighters during college. They never last long enough to do everything you want to do, but they’re just long enough to make you feel like you should be doing something productive with your time. & I’m writing this blog post to tell you just that. Yes, you should be doing something productive over the Summer.
From not having to set your alarm to just working or maybe you don’t work, because you’re a “grades only” pre-med student and lounge around over the Summer.
Whatever it is, the Summer session of the year is a great buffer to get ahead on your medical application.
After reading the list below, if you have at least one thing from it that you’re doing, you’re in the clear. If you have zero, then it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get to accomplishing at least one. You can do it!
“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”
― Lao Tzu
Here are a few things you can do with your Summer:
Stay Motivated + Inspired
The journey to an MD is a long one. The majority of students who start out “premed” don’t actually make it. Don’t let this be you. Stay inspired to pursue your dreams by surrounding yourself with constant reminders of why you wanted to be a doctor. Read the writings of physicians, connect with current medical students, write down your dreams–do whatever it takes to keep your dream alive.
- Podcast listening — my personal favourites: Dr. Ryan Gray – The PreMed Years, Ask Dr. Gray PreMed QA’s, MCAT (Also on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Android)
Dr. Tayyaba Ahmed D.O. (Pelvic Pain Specialist) (Can be found on Apple iTunes as “The Women’s Pelvic Pain Podcast”) NY Pelvic Rehab Practice
- Pre-medical forums: Student Doc, College Confidential PreMed Forum
- Start creating: delve into your hobbies
Boost Your Application
Even though summer breaks are a precious luxury that really only exist while you’re still a student, they probably aren’t something you should squander away. While some time for refreshment and relaxation is entirely justifiable (and often necessary for future success), summer break is also an excellent time to engage in activities that will boost your resume/medical school application and will make you appear as a well rounded and motivated individual.
- Shadowing physicians
- Working a Summer REU (Research Experience for Undergrads),
- Volunteering (best if in a medical environment, where you are giving back or something you’re passionate about)
- Working while boosting, skills, leadership experience & fulfilling clinical hours (i.e. CPhT, EMT, CNA, Nurse, scribing, etc)
- Summer medical trip abroad
- Medical scribing
If you’re a PreMed student, the MCAT is probably most likely looming in your future at one point or another. If you plan on taking your MCAT during the Summer or the beginning of a school year, the Summer break is the optimal time to review all of the materials for it.
- Take a review course, work through practice tests, build up your test-taking endurance–do whatever you need to do to be at the top of your game on test day.
- If you’re a pre-med student about to start your first year of medical school, reviewing materials are not quite as important. However, it truly wouldn’t hurt you to start reviewing some anatomy, biochem, or physiology materials from undergrad as a refresher for the year ahead.
Finally, even though it’s important to wisely utilize your few short months of Summer break, it’s also important to remember to take care of your physical and mental health as well.
- Use Summer to work your way back into a healthy sleeping schedule.
- Treat yourself to some leisure reading by the pool.
Even if you’re busy with research, shadowing, and studying it’s still important to take time for the things you love and are refreshed by. Besides, entering a new school year burned out from the last one will only hurt you in the long run.
Overall, enjoy your Summer, time is gold, so use it wisely. Use it to refresh yourself, but also use this time to learn and grow in knowledge through shadowing, research, or volunteering. Most importantly, be sure that you find a way to take pleasure and interest in whatever you end up doing with your Summer.
I hope the tips + options helped you cultivate a vision on how to spend your Summer as a PreMed!
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Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed!