apr27

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Nov 10, 2010
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It seems that I will have a year off after I graduate from my master's program.

Would you mind sharing your experiences during your gap/glide year before medical school? I know it's a while away, but the thought of not being in school full time is a little weird to me. I was hoping you could share some interesting experiences about what you've done or are currently doing. If you know people doing cool stuff, please mention that.


Thanks for your time,

apr27
 

UnclePhil

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Jul 4, 2010
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Its nice, I'm glad I took a gap year, I didn't do anything particularly impressive, finished up some research projects that I started as an undergrad, published some papers, but I got a feel for what it was like to work a normal 8-5 job. I was excited to get back to school afterwards and I think that was the real value (I was sick of school after college).

The negative part was that I went a year without school and am not very mentally sharp out of the gate. I'm a little dumber and slower having not really studied and working a job that could be incredibly mind-numbing at certain times. But overall, I enjoyed having the year.
 
Jul 9, 2011
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didn't do anything particularly impressive
published some papers

Oh you know~ I just published some papers.
:( Wish I had a single publication


I'm just working a research job at the moment. But most purely for the paychecks.
Like the above poster said, It's a nice experience (I learned that it sucks) just working a 9-5 job for a year.
 
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Don15

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competing in muay thai tournaments during my gap year. let's see if the training has paid off...
 

UnclePhil

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Oh you know~ I just published some papers.
:( Wish I had a single publication


I'm just working a research job at the moment. But most purely for the paychecks.
Like the above poster said, It's a nice experience (I learned that it sucks) just working a 9-5 job for a year.
I didn't mean to make it sound like that, they were basically projects that I started 3 years ago and should've finished a while back so I spent the year tying up loose ends, etc. I don't think it mattered for applications because by the time the manuscripts were submitted all my app stuff was already sent out.
 

arfc6

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Nov 12, 2009
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I'm in my year off right now and should be in med school in the fall of 2012. So far it has been not so great, the job market is rough and I've had trouble finding anything. It would be especially hard for me to get something now considering that in a few weeks I will be off to interviews every week or so. However, I did just get a @#$%@#$ sweet gig at a ski resort out west for the winter that I'm psyched about. I can't wait to snowboard everyday. After I get done with that job I will probably guide rafts somewhere until med school starts.
 
Jul 28, 2011
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I graduated in May 2010 and this upcoming academic year will be my second year away from school...hoping to start med school in fall 2012. I was lucky to have an undergraduate research assistant position in Endocrinology at my University's Hospital and formed a great relationship with my boss. She was able to create a full time position for me as a clinical research coordinator. I have learned a lot about FDA regulated clinical trials this past year, and have gain tons of clinical experience. In addition, she has let me participate in our rural telemedicine program and even allowed me to develop and run a NIH pilot study looking at community health workers in rural New Mexico. While the experiences are great, it has been nice to save up some money too for the future. In addition to work, I've also used my time to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and at a therapeutic horsemanship clinic. So as long as you find meaningful activities to do, I don't know why it would be a bad thing.
 

RuSkaya

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Jul 18, 2008
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I ended up taking two years off after finishing my masters program, which was in May of 2009. The first year was spent studying for my MCAT retake, working part-time, shadowing, and volunteering in a lab. As for my second year off - the first half of it was spent on the application process and working part-time, and since then I continued working and relaxed the rest of the time. I decided to take it easy before starting med school
 

HumbleMD

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I did not take a year off between things. I'm glad I didn't (see below), because I'll actually be starting my career by age 35. Some folks have to in order to get their applications together. I was fairly on top of things and front-loaded in undergrad, so application was set early and my last semester and summer before med school were easy and relaxing. From what I've seen, few people accomplish a lot their gap year, and they need to explain what they did. Many end up dinking around in a lab for little pay, with little accomplished at the end (ie no publication or even presentations). Others will do some bull**** job. The independently wealthy will travel (acceptable to adcoms but wasn't an option for me), and the WORST are the ones who sit at home on the couch (med school applicaiton is not a full-time job).

I DID take a year out during medical school training, however. I think going straight through undergrad-med school-residency without a break is tough. The big secret at some schools (like mine) is that your fourth year is a bit of a joke, and you can relax then. I took a year off because I did need a break (probably because I didn't between undergrad and med school). The big difference about taking a year off during med school is that most people, including many of my colleagues, accomplish a lot. We are better paid (med school fellowships are certainly better than undergrad ones), we get degrees in a year (MPHs, MBAs, MSs), or get competetive fellowship positions (at the NIH, or do career-builders like Doris Duke or Sarnoff), and actually accomplish things (ie publications). All will strengthen your residency application much more than some bull**** thing you do before med school (ie 4 years ago), which is uber important if you're thinking something like Derm or Rad Onc.

All in all, is taking a year off bad? Certainly no. Do it if you need to, but I'd recommend taking a year in medical school instead.
 

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TheMightySmiter

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I finished my post-bacc classes in December and am applying this cycle, so I'll have a year and a half off. I studied for the MCAT and took it in April. Since then, I'm working as a patient care tech in a hospital, volunteering, and I'm hopefully going to get a job as an MCAT tutor with TPR.
 

vannguyen

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Dec 24, 2010
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I'm in my year off right now and should be in med school in the fall of 2012. So far it has been not so great, the job market is rough and I've had trouble finding anything. It would be especially hard for me to get something now considering that in a few weeks I will be off to interviews every week or so. However, I did just get a @#$%@#$ sweet gig at a ski resort out west for the winter that I'm psyched about. I can't wait to snowboard everyday. After I get done with that job I will probably guide rafts somewhere until med school starts.
That's funny I'm doing the same thing haha. I'll be at Mammoth. Where'd you end up?
 

robbieflick

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May 12, 2011
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That's funny I'm doing the same thing haha. I'll be at Mammoth. Where'd you end up?
Careful - you may never go back to school :)
 

1TB4RKSB4CK

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If you didn't do much at college, even with an avg GPA (3.6-7) a gap year is a good way to beef up your application.
 

Slowpoke

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currently working as a lab technician in the undergraduate research lab that I studied in.

Basically my dream job post-grad.... hours are ridiculously flexible, mentors and colleagues are all superbly intelligent and kind enough to educate me in areas that I am weak in and the salary is incredibly nice (relative to the several minimum wage jobs that I have worked). I opted out of any of the benefits to maximize my pay because I am still under my parents insurance and just having a great time (it is my first "salary" job).

The lab tech that I am replacing actually starts medical school today (actual classes not orientation) at UCI. This lab is insane for producing some potentially great leaders in the future.

Two of us (including myself) are currently applying to medical school, one undergrad is off to princeton for grad school and another one is off to the Caribbean.

Could not have asked for a better opportunity after graduating, very happy that I didn't decide to rush and try to get into medical school.

I hope to be able to save enough money to afford all the interview expenses (not to mention the secondaries underway), and save money to travel the summer before medical school (of course, this is under the assumption that all goes well this cycle, but will want to travel anyway).
 

HH Holmes

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Nov 9, 2009
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I would love to take a gap year/defer a year if medicine is still my thing in a few years. Interesting to see what people do, but if I was accepted to GHC, I would go in a heartbeat. It seems that taking a gap year can also help with applications, as one doesn't have to worry about classes + ECs + whatever else on top of secondaries.
 

vannguyen

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Dec 24, 2010
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Careful - you may never go back to school :)
That's what everyone tells me hahh! I don't think I'll have a problem though. Can't wait to ride everyday. I plan on volunteering and shadowing as well. Don't think they have any research opportunities up there though.
 
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