Pre-Med Academics

What to Do the Summer Before Medical School

Curious what to do the summer before medical school starts? Here’s what a day in the life of an incoming MS1 looks like! I can barely believe it, but I am finally navigating through my last summer before starting medical school. My days are pretty relaxing at this point, but I’m cherishing that by getting smoothies, spending time with family and friends, and doing my fair share of reading before all of the med school madness begins.

First of all, congratulations! If you are reading this you have most likely been accepted to a medical school and are one GIANT step closer to becoming a physician. Thats HUGE! Bask in that victory and triumph for as long as you can. Then, when you are done basking, read the rest of this article to learn about the single most important advice I have ever received about this last summer before starting medical school.

What’s the Big Deal About This “Last SummerAnyways?

Well, these few months are potentially the last ones that you will live outside of the medical education umbrella for quite a long time. Unless you are participating in a pre-matriculation research program or something along those lines, this summer can truly be whatever you want it to be.

It’s become well known for being a summer full of travel for incoming MS1 students, but even though COVID-19 guidelines permit some forms of travel, many students are staying home and making memories in their hometowns or places nearby.

In any case, this summer is meant to be a time of celebration, fun, and hopefully some relation as well!

But I’m About to Go to Medical School, Shouldn’t I Be Preparing?

From the many wonderful medical students, advisors, and physicians I’ve spoken with over the past few weeks, the real answer is no!

No one is ever fully prepared to start medical school because it’s unlike anything we have done in our lives. So, don’t waste your summer studying material early or digging up the textbooks to start pre-reading. Every person I have spoken to has simply told me to relax and enjoy the little time that I have doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do.

Try asking an expert yourself, you can check out my YouTube video on this topic, ask a med student friend or mentor of yours, or best of all, set up a time to talk with one of the incredible advisors at MedSchoolCoach!

In reality, any true preparation will be offered to you during orientation once you start medical school. And who better to lead you in that than the instructors who will be teaching you and potentially writing your exams? Trust the process and know that medical school is very different from undergrad. They are investing a lot in you (in the same way that you invested in them), and they want to see you succeed above all else.

So What Should I Be Doing?

The better question is, what have you always wanted to do?

For me, I’ve been dying to get back into pleasure reading, learning American Sign Language, and working fun random jobs! I like trying new things, but I still have to get paid, so I applied to work at a Juice Bar, a Luxury restaurant, an LGBTQ+ centered health care center, and I started freelance blogging for the summer. Before you ask, no, I won’t be working three jobs all summer. Just the one that speaks to me most and sounds the most FUN!

This can be totally different for you. You may want to skip the work part and spend your summer camping, writing that book you’ve always dreamed of, becoming a fitness guru, or a film snob (I’m thinking of trying this one too). This summer is all about you! More so than perhaps any of your other pre-med summers. There are no rules, except to make it FUN and make it COUNT!

So, I Shouldn’t Think About Medical School at All?

Well, not exactly.

Some of the things you could explore are your learning and study styles and your preferred study environments. I’ll admit, I’ve watched my fair share of “How to Study in Medical School” videos on YouTube, but aside from that, I’m not necessarily testing out these methods.

Looking for something to read to help you prepare for medical school, you could check out “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” by Peter C. Brown. It came highly recommended by my interviewers along the application process. Other than some YouTube videos, informational reads, and maybe some chats with current medical students, just relax!

For those of you who are applying this cycle or are thinking of applying to medical school in future cycles, I hope this article got you excited about what’s to come! For help along this wild yet rewarding journey, talk to some of the extremely knowledgeable and supportive advisors at MedSchoolCoach. You can set up a session with them using the link below. See you in medical school!

Schedule a free consultation to talk to an advisor today!

Olivia Brumfield

Olivia Brumfield is a 3rd year medical student at Harvard Medical School where she is pursuing her interests in pediatric neurology and getting involved in her class as the Vice President of Student Services! Before medical school, Olivia studied Neuroscience and American Sign Language at the University of Rochester (located in her hometown of Rochester, NY), two passions that she continues to explore in her medical school journey. Since beginning her clinical year, she has become involved in research exploring fetal brain development and healthcare access for children born with hearing differences. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with classmates and family, trying new foods, and working with aspiring medical students.

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