Summer is on the horizon! Is it too soon to be excited? After a challenging year, the summer season is what we can all look forward to. The great weather, ample time and new experiences are just a few of the highlights. It's so important that you utilise your summer efficiently; do the things you love, catch up with friends and family and focus on passion projects. This is your time to really rejuvenate! We've shared our top tips for making the most of your summer, even if you're a Medic or applicant, make sure that this summer is one to remember!
1. Reflect, relax, rest and recharge!
The majority of us, if not all of us would have just completed several final exams or OSCE’S which challenged us mentally, physically and emotionally. Therefore, it is vital to give yourself a break to recover from these exams so take some time out for yourself whether it be binge watching all your favourite Netflix/Youtube /TV shows, retail therapy or sleeping for a week- whatever it is do something that makes you feel refreshed.
Another useful tip after exam is to spend time reflecting on your exams- did anything not go according to plan, was your study techniques- did it work?, is there anything you could improve upon? Did you utilise your personal learning style to your advantage?
2. Re-introduce your regular activities or hobbies- e.g. gym, playing an instrument, etc which you may have significantly reduced or pushed aside during exam season. For me this is playing netball, baking cakes, going to fitness classes, early morning jogs with my mum and sister.
3. Reconnect with family and friends – For many of us we live away from home during the semesters at university so it is important to stay in contact with friends who you do not see or speak to often. A few ideas include: having a picnic in the park, bbq’s, catching up over coffee or doing something fun such as bowling.
4. Volunteer /complete work experience - there are many opportunities available such as summer school programmes or conferences which you can attend. Alternatively, you may choose to volunteer in your local hospital as part of your work experience or with charities such as Doctors without Borders, British Red Cross, and Human Relief Foundation etc.
5. Find ways to make an income- now that you are not studying for a few weeks/months and have more free time on your hands why not apply for healthcare related jobs such as HCA, care home assistant or if not a job in any field will be sufficient. If not, use your skills to your advantage and make into a business e.g. freelance hairdresser/photographer. However, this may be easier for some students if they have already managed to secure a job by working whilst studying medicine.
6. Do something new- learning a new skill is always fun for example learning a new sport at your local leisure centre or sewing. Not only will this allow you to make new friends but also provides a sense of accomplishment.
7. Travel- whether this is exploring your current city, a day trip to different city in the UK or a holiday abroad, there are plenty of things to do and discover. Who knows you may even find hidden gems in your local area.
8. Research medical opportunities e.g. internships or medical electives which can take place both in the UK and abroad. These may include: NSAMR, Work the World, Gap Medics or Projective abroad.
Even if missed the deadline for this year summer placements or internships you can begin to plan and prepare for next year whilst taking note of the deadline.
9. Polish your personal statement/ CV or portfolio- it always important to constantly update your CV with any courses you have completed throughout the year and what skills you have gained from these experiences. This is useful as it allows you to keep a record that you can refer to in future interviews.
10. Get ahead of the new semester- speak to students who are in older years and ask them what you can do in order to become be prepared for the upcoming year. Start your reading list which will save you sleeplessness nights during the upcoming semester and avoid trying to cram everything in a short space of time.
Written by Shona Manning