One question that I get each year over and over again is, “How should I spend my Thanksgiving or Christmas break?” Thinking back to my Pre-Med years, I often wondered the same thing. But, after a stressful and long semester the only things I imagined doing were kicking back, eating, and spending time with my family. But, here are 5 things that I wish I would have done to have had a more productive Thanksgiving and/or Christmas break from school.
A lot of medical schools, such as Georgetown where I went for medical school, have a requirement of clinical experience before you can even apply. Email several local physicians (1 out of the 5 should get back with you) in your hometown or wherever you will spend your break and explain to them that you are a student who will be out for the break and would like to spend some time shadowing. This is a great way to learn about the life of a physician and also be productive. An icing on the cake would be getting a letter of recommendation from that physician after you are done shadowing, which you can use as part of your application.
A section on the medical school application asks what your volunteer experiences are. Find a local food bank or homeless shelter and spend a few hours giving back. Make sure the experience is meaningful though. Don’t volunteer just to do it, volunteer for something that you are passionate about.
3. Update your CV
If you don’t have a CV, Google sample CV’s and start drafting one today. If you have one already, update it and always have it ready to present at a moments notice. You will need copies of your CV for your medical school interviews so working on it early can set you apart from the rest the applicants.
4. Start a rough draft personal statement
It is never to early to work on your personal statement. Your reason for wanting to go into medicine should not change much over your college career so even if you are a freshman, you can start working on your personal statement NOW! This will relieve a lot of stress when it comes down to applying when you realize your personal statement is already written (or atleast half way done) while everyone else is scrambling to apply and write theirs.
5. Read a non medical/non science book
You may be just like me in the fact that at the end of each semester, you want nothing to do with science yet alone read a science book. And that’s ok, your brain needs to rest and recharge for the next semester. Pick out a few non-science books to read. Some of my favorite books include, The Millionaire Next Door, 50 Laws of Power, The Millionaire Teacher, or Rich Dad Poor Dad.
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