Most normal college students are focused on finals right now. After that last exam, they’re going to travel home and hang out, sleep, party and watch an obscene amount of TV. But you? You are not normal. You are a pre-med beast! But what if you didn’t plan anything for this year? That’s okay. You do need some rest and relaxation. But I wouldn’t necessarily vegetate until January. Here are some last-minute things you can get involved in that will boost your resume and give you some sweet experiences
It may be too late to be a volunteer at your local hospital back home, depending on how stringent they are with background checks and volunteer applications. But it doesn’t hurt to try. Most hospitals have a volunteer office that you can contact. Other options for volunteering include homeless shelters, soup kitchens, nursing homes, senior day programs and churches. Call or send an email now to see where help is needed.
Draft your personal statement
If you are starting your med school app in Spring of 2017, May will be here sooner than you think. You don’t have to get it polished, but you can get a good draft going over winter break. Go to my blog post on med school applications to get an idea of what should be in it. https://mddreams.com/2016/03/30/finish-the-course/
Apply to Summer Programs
The next time school breaks, you’ll be on it so you can travel abroad or rub elbows with doctors in clinics or hospitals. You may even find a mini med school type program. This webpage from the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, Inc. http://ow.ly/qSko306KyR7 has a great list of summer opportunities to get you started.
You may not be able to find a lengthy clinical experience at this late date, but even a few days would be better than nothing. Ask around and see if anyone you know is familiar with a doctor that would allow you to do so. You could even ask your primary care doctor back home. Contact them now.
Update your resume
Every time I update my resume, I have to think really hard about what I did when. While you’re off, you might as well insert the new activities that you did over fall semester. That way, you won’t have to strain your brain when it’s time to apply to med school. Keeping an up to date resume will make it easier to fill in the extracurricular activity section on the AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) application.
Good luck on finals. I hope you have an enjoyable and productive winter break!
Jarita Hagans, MD is a Family Practice physician, speaker and author of “MD Dreams: Practical Advice for Every Stage from Premed to Residency and Beyond”. Find more info on http://mddreams.com Follow her on Twitter @doctorjarita and Instagram @jaritah