How to have a productive summer at medical school | Top Universities
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How to have a productive summer at medical school

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Baurzhan Irisbayev

Updated Aug 08, 2022
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Student relaxes with laptop on knee

Summer is a valuable time as a medical student. It gives you the time to catch up, expand your medical knowledge and have a well-deserved break from studying and working in hospitals.  

As a student at JSC South Kazakhstan Medical Academy, I like to use the summer break to rest and prepare for the next semester. Here’s how I spend my time: 

Gain strength for the upcoming year  

While studying at JSC South Kazakhstan Medical Academy, I didn’t get as much sleep as I’d have liked because classes and work experience filled most of my time. With independent study, exams and seeing friends, I crammed a lot into my days and ended up sleeping for a few hours each night.  

The summer break is the perfect time to catch up on sleep and to rest as much as possible before classes kick off again. To be fully rested, I need eight hours of sleep every night.  

I also spend more time walking in the fresh air, absorbing vitamin D from the sun. When I’m studying, I spend most of my time indoors from morning until night, either at home, at university or in the library.  

Summer provides an opportunity to have fun with friends too, hanging out and going on adventures. I noticed that after the summer holidays, where I could relax and catch up on my sleep, I came back to my studies refreshed and able to focus on the next challenge ahead.  

Spend time filling in your knowledge gaps  

We all have gaps in our knowledge. We work hard to learn as much as possible and to remember every diagnosis and treatment, but there are always areas of strength and weakness and there isn’t enough time to master everything.  

Without the pressure of assessments and exams, the summer is a great time to start looking into the topics you struggle with. For me, that’s haematology as I find it difficult to remember normal blood counts and the changes in various diseases. So, I’ll get together with some friends for some light studying. YouTube is a great way to find educational videos that fill in my knowledge gaps without too much work. I often watch YouTube channels like American Society of Haematology, Zero to Finals and Strong Medicine.  

I often find that my professors are available during the summer, either in the office or via email. So if there is a topic I’m really struggling with, I can still reach out for help.  

Learn a language  

A lot of useful medical literature is written in other languages than English, so I like to have some knowledge of other languages while I’m studying.  

Lately I’ve been learning English and German, but it’s difficult to make progress during the semester when my priorities are learning the course material. Learning languages in the summer gives me the space to absorb it properly and to practice too. It’s a great way to keep my brain working for the weeks in between classes too.  

I like to watch TV series and films with subtitles and chat in different languages to people on social media for practice. To improve my medical English, I’ve been participating in various international internships online, studying medical issues in English.  

Earn some extra money  

Like many students, I take on part-time work during the holidays. I’ve worked as a tutor to help more junior students to improve their knowledge and I’ve worked in clinics and as an assistant pharmacist.  

A part-time job in the summer gives me the opportunity to cover some of my expenses. I also gain experience, knowledge and skills to interact with colleagues, which I’ll need when I graduate from university and start working full time.  

 

Summer is a time of great opportunity. Rest and recuperate, spend time with friends and catch up on your subject before the next year begins. Don’t forget to make the most of the sunshine too.