Benefits of taking a year off:
1. Research experience
2. Possible publication
4. Take a year off without the constant worry of coming exam, etc
5. See other aspects of medicine
6. Take care of things outside of medicine
1. If you don't do official fellowship or something connected to education, you may have to start repaying your loans
2. Some are afraid of being behind as compared to those just coming off of taking the boards going right to third year
3. Taking a year off means delaying/prolonging your training for an additional year when med school and residency are already long enough
4. Lots of work with no published paper
I personally took a year between med 2 and med 3. I'm now in med 3, and I'm doing just fine. I think I'm doing better than I would have had I just gone from med 2 straight to med 3. I personally did do a fellowship in pathology. I have a friend that's doing a fellowship at NIH, and she got to pick the specialty. Another guy from my class went to Cali to work in Cardiology. There are plenty of fellowships, but your salary (if offered) can vary. My friend at NIH gets a furnished apartment in DC, and close to $38k for the year...as much as a resident. My fellowship only paid me about $20K, but I got lots of perks like huge book/computer fund, decent travel fund, etc.
You gotta look for them as soon as you are interested in taking a year off. I decided late, but thankfully the application wasn't due till late into my second year. In any case, think about it, you may like it or need it.
I've been lurking here. Thanks guys for having this dialogue! sscooterguy, I'm applying for a PSF and I sent you a message.
disque71, I've known a few people who've taken a "year off" of med school. One person hooked up with a doc he knew at a nearbye hospital and the med school helped to get him some funding. He accomplished a lot through his experience without feeling overwhelmed.
I know one guy who got a Howard Hughes scholarship (deadline is usually around Jan 1st in case you'd be interested in doing this between 3rd and 4th) but he had loads of previous research. Not sure if that is prerequisite.
My school offers some cool opps for a year of research. They provide 2 stipends annually to students who get involved with clinical research. They also have a funded program between 3rd and 4th year where you work with the dept of medicine on both a research project and some clinical stuff (might be like an extended subI)... I don't know all the details but the point is there are probably similar opportunities at your school. I had dig around to learn what was available at mine.
Also, if you're interested in path and have both clinical and research interests, you can look into post-sophomore fellowships.