Summer after D1... what did you do/will do?

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15+ Year Member
Jan 10, 2006
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This summer my class gets 2 months off, I'm just wondering, what do people usually do and what kind of jobs do they take?

Research is basically out of the question, because A. I have no experience an B. I don't plan to specialize. Travel would be great... I'll see if I have enough $ for that.....

Do people just get jobs doing dental assisting or working at a cafe or something like that?


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Hey, I'm curious about this too? What do students normally do? What if you want to specialize? Is it horrible not to do research during the summer for future specialty chances? Thanks. Any insight is appreciated from those experienced d-students.
At San Antonio we have elective courses that we can take in the summer. If your school has that, you might look into it. Some students went and assisted down in the South Texas clinics too. And others traveled or did nothing... just enjoyed their time off.

I did two electives last summer and went on two trips.
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I would recommend doing research during your first summer if you have any thoughts on specializing. Although it is not necessary, it does help your application a lot. And I know that at many schools the schedule gets hectic with trying to fit research in later on with studying for boards at most schools, as well as summer clinic. Plus, externships are a big deal when applying for specialties, and since you can't really do those until you are in clinic, you wouldn't have as much time to do research during your clinic years.
It really depends on your curriculum. We didn't get the first summer off - we had 2 weeks between august and september and were encouraged to take the NBDE part I at this time which I did. Even though we had a summer semester, we had covered pretty much everything that was on part I outside of some pathology during the first two semesters.

I would take the board exam if you can. Again, I have no idea how your curriculum is set-up. I mean, if you haven't taken micro or biochem yet, you should hold off - but it seems most schools get these out of the way during year 1.

If you can't take the exam, then I would seriously just do something not related to dentistry. Research is great if you can get a meaningful position and are truly interested. However, if you are merely looking to 'pad' your resume, you will have a miserable experience. Not to mention you won't get much done in two months (unless you already have experience) and will have very little time to continue once school starts again.

But on the other hand, it is something to try out if the opportunity arises and you have an open mind to it.

D-2 year is the hardest year for many students so I would either lighten the load by notching off the NBDE, or simply get out and enjoy life.

You are going to get tons of different opinions, and really - the best should be your own. Every school is different, everyone has different goals - there is no correct way to spend your off-time.

Regardless, I would focus on surviving your next semester before you really start thinking about your break. Good luck.