How vacations have prepared me for second year

Sometimes the best way to prepare… is to not prepare at all

I’ve taken more vacations this summer than any other. And it’s not because I necessarily have more money to blow or any particularly new-found calling to travel–it’s just good for the soul. You give yourself a break from responsibility and you get to be selfish and focus on yourself. You find enrichment in other forms and have conversations with people you would otherwise never know. More importantly, you gain perspective. I honestly believe that my vacations have prepared me more for my second year of medical school more than any amount of chapters I’ve pre-read. Let me tell you why.

I’m a firm believer in the work hard/play hard motto. I am an incredibly hard worker, like many of you are. And when the breaks come, I take full advantage. Second year for me, however, is quite different from first year. For starters, our first year was pass/fail and starting August 8th, I’m building an official med school GPA. Also, the “summer” after second year is time to take my first Board exam–arguably the most important test I’ll ever take (even more so than the MCAT!). So I’ll be in an intensive study period once the school year ends until I take my test. In anticipation of the work I’ll be putting in next year, I’ve front-loaded a lot of the play into this summer. In doing this, I’m actually even more ready to grind it out come time. I also feel less likely to burn out, and whenever I start feeling unmotivated, I’ve got a ton of pictures and videos to go back to to remind me of happier times in life. Bottom line is now I have no excuse but to go hard once school starts.

I’ll still find time for small getaways during school to help me de-stress, but of course I won’t have the same flexibility of 10 weeks of no school. I encourage everyone who has the time now to take full advantage of it. Vacations are a time to relax, recharge, and just be happy. And we all could use that.

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