It’s Week 10–tensions are high and most people call this week the “calm before the storm” of Finals Week. But after that storm is summer! A time for relaxation, sitting by the pool, spontaneous beach trips, and copious amounts of ice cream and iced tea, right? Yes! However we cannot forget that summer is still a time for self-reflection and personal betterment, not just indulgence. When applying to medical school, you will be asked about those summers; with four months of free time for summer, it should be pretty darn amazing.
In no way do I want to suggest that summer is only for working. There should be time for relaxation too! It is important that you spend your time not just relaxing and doing something worthwhile.
Here are some suggestions:
Take Summer Classes: Probably the most obvious choice of summer time. Summer classes can be to get ahead, catch up, or just take something that interests you! Just as a reminder, stay involved with everything you were involved in during the school year, or find summer activities that are around whatever campus you’re in. This way, you’re not tempted to lounge about when you could be doing something fun!
Research: See my last blog post for more information, but almost every lab is looking for free labor during summer because most of the students who work there during the year won’t be there! Because we have a very lengthy summer, try your best to be able to start and finish a project. The sense of completion after a hard summer’s work is a great feeling.
Summer Jobs/Volunteering: Hopefully if you planned to get a summer job then you would have started looking by now (same for volunteering positions); however, many people hire at the very start of summer to prevent losses. A job shows responsibility and can teach you the value of money, which is a great experience necessary for all fields. Volunteering can help provide a new perspective on giving back to the community and definitely gives you something to write about for medical school!
Travel: One of my favorite teachers once told his class “Don’t let school get in the way of your education.” Traveling for extended periods of time is the best way to increase cultural awareness and cultural intelligence. The reason I don’t say “vacationing” is because it implies short periods of time, staying in tourist-y areas and limiting your exposure to another place, which is not conducive in heightening cultural intelligence. Why is this important as a pre-med? Medical schools do not want people who are only science/biology geeks, they want people with character. While a passion for medicine is necessary, other passions are encouraged. If you develop a love for salsa dancing in Latin America, that’s a great way to prove that you’re not only a well-rounded candidate for medical school but also a well-rounded person in general!
All in all, have a great summer, and do something you love!