by Mark Heslin
The summer before your first year of medical school is a unique and celebratory time because you finally have a summer “off.” Each summer in college and graduate school, you’re tasked with a laundry list of “medical school application to-dos” that you have to work tirelessly to complete — all with the goal of one day getting accepted.
The summer after my sophomore year of college, I had a full-time internship at an academic hospital where I was first exposed to the med school environment. The following summer was solely dedicated to preparing for the MCAT, which consumed my life from the last day of the spring semester to exam day. Obviously, I didn’t get much of a break either of those summers. After you get that long-awaited acceptance into med school, though, most of these worries disappear and you can focus on spending time with your family and friends before you officially start the journey to becoming a physician.
While it should be a time for relaxation and celebration — there’s no more stress about getting in, after all — you may be wondering what to do in the summer before medical school. You don’t need to focus on studying before you’ve even started classes, but there are some educational and fun resources you can check out to prepare for your first year.
Fun Things to Do Before Medical School
Two of the best online medical resources I wish I had taken advantage of before starting med school are #MedTwitter and medical podcasts.
#MedTwitter is a supportive community for learners at all levels. It’s a great forum to ask questions about medical school, board exams, clinical rotations, residency applications, and anything else you might wonder about. All you have to do is make a Twitter account (if you don’t already have one) and take in the free wisdom from the world’s best clinical educators!
You could create a mile-long list of the best podcasts for medical students that would cover every possible subject in medicine. I’m an internal medicine and clinical reasoning nerd, so two of my favorite podcasts are “The Curbsiders” and “The Clinical Problem Solvers.” Both highlight everything I love about internal medicine, but provide their own unique twist on traditional classroom learning. Also, if you’re interested in the pathophysiology behind disease and disease management, then “The Curious Clinicians“ is a great podcast that highlights lifelong curiosity in medicine.
If you really want to get a jump-start on studying or just familiarize yourself with exam content, First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 is one of the best resources for medical students. To access First Aid content online and take advantage of proven study tools, you could also sign up for USMLE-Rx’s Rx360+ and begin reading Rx Bricks.
No matter what you do in the summer before medical school, make sure you take some time to relax and recharge. The stress of getting in is gone, and it’s time to get ready for the good stuff — training to become a physician.
Mark Heslin is an MS3 at Cooper Medical School at Rowan University. Mark is a member of USMLE-Rx’s Rx Coach team, serving as a tutor and resource for other med students.
If you’re starting your med school journey and need help studying, click here to get a free five-day trial of USMLE-Rx.