How to make the most of your summer(s)

Congratulations to all of the recent graduates! From High school, college, various health professional schools, etc. It’s not easy. If you’re done with school forever, I definitely envy you. This post is for college students, recent college grads who aren’t matriculating into med school, and those between their M1 and M2 year with a relatively free summer (your “last” summer). Summer is a time to relax and refresh your mind. But when your end goal is becoming a doctor, you have to make every summer count! At this point, you may already have a line up of what your summer will look like (summer program, working, interning, etc.), but I’m going to list some things you can add to it. All in all, you want to have a well rounded summer that will make you a more competitive applicant by the end.

Shadow

This is the time to explore or confirm career options with no strings attached. You can shadow multiple people as if you’re casually dating, or you can actually form a relationship with a physician that can serve as a mentor down the line. It’s easy to set up by simply making phone calls to your local offices (if you’re at home). You can ask them if the doctor would be open to having a student shadow them for however long. Or if you’re staying around your school, you can connect with faculty that you already know! I still keep in touch with a family medicine physician I shadowed during college, and that has proved to be a priceless relationship.

Research

For the college folks and especially for the medical school folks, research is so important. If you’re looking to get into a major academic medical school or residency program, or have a competitive specialty in mind, this is something they look for. Your application scores literal points for having it. And it can honestly be in any subject. My med school has a summer research program that pushes students to get involved in research early, but even without that, the opportunities abound. Even if you only do a poster or oral presentation and don’t get published, still take the opportunity. If you’re interested in family medicine like I am, you can probably get by without it. But these days you always want to set yourself up for success the best you can.

Scholarship search

I know it’s easy to just accept that student loans are inevitable and we’ll all become slaves to them, but we shouldn’t give up on scholarships! Many third parties offer students at different stages in their education scholarships for leadership, dedication to a cause, going into a certain field, being a minority, etc. You never know what you can find, and the money adds up! So if you land in some free time, keep it in the back of your mind.

Volunteer

Simple. Easy. Best advice here is to find something recurring so that you are able to have a more substantial impact. For example, volunteering every Saturday morning at the salvation army. If you only do something one time, it really shouldn’t even make it to your resume. Start with a simple google search. Or if you’re staying near school, you can likely find opportunities through their website.

Travel

Because life is hard and we all need breaks! Cross a destination off of your bucket list! And if you don’t have the funds for that, get your best friend of sibling and take a day/weekend trip somewhere that’s driving distance. You deserve to relax and treat yourself for all the work you’re about to put in this summer!


Hope this post applied to at least one person out there! Make the most out of this summer your future self will thank you.

ije long logo BLK

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