I have been hearing more and more about taking time off from medical school. A couple of my classmates have taken, or will take, the GMAT because they will soon be pursuing their MBA after 3rd year. Others wish to get a Master’s in public health or public policy. Both are very applicable to medicine, making them common choices. One friend has been trying to convince me to take a year off just to relax. This conversation usually stems from my complaints about the USMLE Step 1 or 3rd year rotations. Medical school, and medicine, is a very long road with few stop signs. Sometimes you have to make your own stop sign, turn off, and take a breather.
I adamantly tell my relaxed friend that I do not want to take a year off because I want to finish medical school and residency in as few years as needed so I can start my “life.” I have been in school for almost 2 decades and will continue my studentship for another 5-7 years. I came straight into medical school and plan on going straight into residency. But if there is a reason you feel you need to take time off, do not hesitate. I feel any experience can be beneficial towards your future, either directly or indirectly. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I entertained the idea of taking time off. There was a job opportunity presented to the third year class to work for a medically-related television show. Now my goal in life is not to get on TV, but if medicine wasn’t my chosen route, I would have pursued a career in acting or stand-up comedy. Due to their lack of stability, I steered towards the noble path of medicine. Needless to say, I do plan to apply for this position if it is available next year.
Who knows what I can learn from this position? I think it will be a fantastic opportunity to combine creativity and medicine to educate the public. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am still young and have the luxury of being able to take a year off to explore this other side of medicine. And it wouldn’t hurt to take a break from studying either.
no stop signs