Depending on when your program starts, you may have a couple of months between your previous place in life and medical school. If so, here are a couple of ideas to consider as you prepare for medical school:
As your environment changes from undergrad, graduate school, or working, you will need to develop a new network of friends, professors, and mentors. Maybe your school has a summer meet-up for incoming students – join in! Or the professors may be leading a top-notch research project – email them and see how you can contribute. Upperclassmen can be a great resource because they already know what to expect, can offer discounts on used textbooks, and often have downloadable notes, PDFs, and lectures. Stock up on these resources as you come upon them – it will make the first few weeks a little easier to plan and manage.
Research is becoming more and more important in medicine as new developments are discovered everyday. Residency directors are increasingly looking for applicants with research under their belt. If you know you want to pursue academic medicine, a competitive residency, or research is your passion, why not start a project you can continue into medical school? This way when school starts you already have connections, a research project underway, and a little less to worry about going forward.
Time management was important before medical school and will continue to shape your future in medical school. Find out your school’s schedule, attendance policy, dress code, and other important logistics. If you have a chance, visit your school. Then use this information to create a game plan. Your plans may change as school actually starts but at least you will know what type of stethoscope you need to buy, who can help with your financial aid, and where you will be living. Tying up loose ends now will lead to a more manageable transition.
Medical school is expensive and you may need a couple of extra dollars to survive comfortably. If you can find a job that satisfies you, even a part-time job can make the coming months smoother. Once schools starts a job is out of the question, so investing in your future now can remove some unwanted financial stress.
Many people have dreams to travel the world. The summer before medical school can be a great treat to celebrate a new beginning, unwind, and relax before getting to work in medical school. There will be little time for traveling once schools starts and now you will have weeks to indulge and not worry about the upcoming Anatomy test. You deserve it !
No matter what you choose to do the summer before medical school – congratulations! You have accomplished one of your dreams and are one step closer to being a medical professional – Enjoy it!