The Last Official Summer “Off”

Stephanie, Second Year Medical StudentThe summer between the first and second year of medical school is technically supposed to be the last one that we will have “off”. Knowing this, medical students are told to make the most of it, to fully enjoy the time they have. I chose (as did many of my classmates) to spend the summer working on a research project at the school. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, I am married so I wanted to stay in the area, and second, I knew that it would be a great experience (and look great on my CV). I also, however, knew that laboratory research was not something I found even remotely interesting and that I needed to find something else to research for the summer. Last winter I mentioned a desire to do some work in bioethics (to use the master’s degree I had already earned) to one of the deans at the school and he helped me find a faculty member who was interested in doing some bioethics research. I was so blessed to have gotten this opportunity! I worked on a project where we were going back through all of the ethics consults from 1990 to the present, classifying them into categories, and recording general demographic information. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories of the patients that the ethics service had worked with, and I have learned a lot about various hospital services and some of the doctor lingo. I will now be working on writing up an abstract to submit for a possible presentation at a regional conference and I may also write an article for publication. In addition to all of this, it has been GREAT to have some free time to do things I enjoy (but don’t necessarily have time for during the school year). My husband and I moved at the beginning of the summer so I took some time to do things like decorate the new house, redo a bathroom, and strip, pain, and cover a pergola. It has been a very fast and admittedly exhausting summer but I feel like I have gotten a great break from the chaos of medical school and I am excited to get back into the swing of things for the second year!

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About Stephanie McDearmon

I am currently a fourth year medical student looking forward to entering residency in Family Medicine next year. I grew up in a small town in northwestern Illinois (Morrison) and have relocated to Southern California with my husband for the four years of medical school but plan to move back to the Midwest soon (aka for residency)! Some of the hobbies that I enjoy the most are spending time with my husband and our pets (a dog, Addison, and a cat, Blaze), dancing, running, and cooking.

3 thoughts on “The Last Official Summer “Off”

  1. Hey I loved reading your blog. I noticed that you went to graduate school before going to medical school and I was wondering how that factors into the application for medical school, the reason I ask is because I am pre-med but lately I have been considering going to graduate school before medical school but I do not know if that would used to strengthen my application. Thanks

  2. Hey! I’m glad you enjoyed the blog :). I did go to graduate school but I should probably clarify that my undergraduate school had a program that allowed me to work on my master’s degree while I was doing my undergraduate degree – so I graduated twice on the same day, lol (first with a BA and then with a MA). That being said, it was still a big part of my medical school applications. A lot of the schools liked the fact that I was working on my MA, but it wasn’t like they focused mainly on it (my undergraduate scores and GPA and such still seemed to be the major focus as far as academics). I would say the biggest advantage for me has been the dimension that it has added to my professional knowledge – what I have to offer patients in the future. I hope that helps……if you want/need more info I would be MORE than happy to talk more about it, just let me know!

  3. Hi! How important is it to do a clinical elective/research during the summer following first year? Would is be a major faux-pas to do nothing?:) Thanks!

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