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Amber Robins: Diary of a Med Student

July 24, 2011: Planning for summer

Author: Amber Robins

 July 24, 2011

Dear Journal,
My last summer is almost over. I’m always amazed at how time really goes by fast even though I don’t want it to sometimes. This summer was really fun-filled and I have no regrets. My summer started with vacation with my parents on the beach and attending my sorority sister’s wedding. Then I began working on my research projects back in Rochester, NY. After that I went to Morocco to teach English for a week. Now I am continuing research while getting ready to start my 2nd year. Overall, this summer has been great! I am so glad that I took the advice of other medical students who said to really enjoy the last summer. As they gave advice to me, I would like to do the same for you now that I have experienced it myself.  
The summer is all about doing what is BEST FOR YOU. If you think that doing research would benefit you the most, then you should do it. Research is such a broad area that you can do just about anything. Some of my classmates took this time to do research abroad and others decided to stay in the United States. They found these research projects by simply asking physicians in their areas of interest if they could work with them over the summer. Many people also took this opportunity to shadow doctors as well. As someone who did research over the summer, you’d be amazed at how eager physicians are to work with medical students. A simple professional email to a physician can, and will, take you a long way in doing research. Just ask. The worst they can say is no. However, keep in mind that you DO NOT have to do research over the summer. You have so many other options!
If you’d like, you could volunteer somewhere. You could do like I did and go abroad, even if it’s for only a week. You could also go to Disney World’s new hospital as a volunteer like one of my classmates did.  As you can see, you can do anything! Just don’t limit yourself. You don’t necessarily have to do something medically related either. The fact that you’re interacting with people and understanding various lifestyles will always come in handy in the field of medicine. That’s called being an empathetic physician.
You may be asking now, “What about just doing nothing at all during the summer? Would that be appropriate as well?” Yes, of course that is appropriate. If you feel like the first year of medical school really took a toll on you and you need a break, then this is the best time to take it.  Like I said before, just do what’s best for you. It’s your life after all.
Well, this summer has been great! I am surprisingly looking forward to the school year. I have a feeling that things will be a little smoother than last year because I am familiar with the flow of medical school now. I am sure there are some surprises awaiting me though. Who knows? I will just do my best and have fun along the way!
Amber Robins, MS2

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