Thoughts on summer rotations

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by neurotiger, May 4, 2004.

  1. neurotiger

    neurotiger Member
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    I'm a senior right now, finishing my last set of undergrad papers and exams, and will be entering an MSTP soon. I'm having trouble deciding whether or not to do a summer rotation, and was hoping for some other opinions. Here's what I think:

    Pros: I'd get to move in early, meet people and hang out in a new place before classes start, get paid...and obviously get one rotation in (I think I might be doing a bunch).

    Cons: It's my last summer, and I'm straight out of school. I'm going away for 2 weeks before anyhow, but part of me would like to bum around/bartend instead of working in a lab...

    Anyone from years past done one thing and wished they made the other decision? I should also add that at the school I'm going to, most people complete the "optional" summer rotation...
     
  2. vwhan

    vwhan Senior Member
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    Do yourself a favor and take the summer off. Enjoy it now while it lasts. I've got one more week in completing my 1st year and am glad I took the summer off before starting. I moved to Winston-Salem, NC for the summer and spent it exercising and taking care of myself and my girlfriend. It was fantastic. No regrets and no stress.

    Hany
     
  3. kels

    kels Member
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    I agree. Like you, I'll be starting in the fall and I'm a graduating senior. I feel like I really need to take the summer off and just do stuff unrelated to research and med school. I want to catch up on everything I neglected while in school.
     
  4. Ocean482

    Ocean482 Junior Member

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    Hey, I have been contemplating the same thing. I am right out of school as well.

    I am leaning towards not doing the rotation for a couple of reasons.
    1. no one I have talked to who has not done one has regetted not doing it
    2. it would be nice to relax after finals, senior thesis, etc.
    3. I don't have a place to live at med school yet
    4. this may just be a personal thing but it could apply to others: in my lab now I am the senior student and basically run the place, that would not be the case in a rotation where you are being evaluated as a future grad student, so it may be beneficial to easing into the whole MD/PhD process and get back into the mode of studying a lot and being at your 110% best that M1 and M2 will force on me

    But overall, its a personal decision, I know mine is not totally made yet.
    Good luck, have a great summer regardless!
     
  5. neurotiger

    neurotiger Member
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    It still seems to me like a school-specific thing...right now, I'm planning on going to a school where 85% of the entering class does the summer rotation. Even if I do it, I get a month off and there are no expectations for what I might accomplish in 6 weeks. Anybody not do it and wish they had?

    On the other hand, I'm gonna have a really tough decision if I get in off of the waitlist of another school, and no one does the summer rotation there...put that on the pro side, I suppose.
     
  6. adesua

    adesua Member
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    Neurotiger
    Your point about going in a bit early to get settled before medschool actually begins is a good point. But you can move in and not necessarily do research. If you've been out of school for 1 or 2 years and are itching to get back into more structured work then I can understand doing the 1st summer rotation. Otherwise then the impression I get from most people is that taking the summer off is a good idea - You'll be in lab for 4 or so years, so 6 weeks doesn't seem to make a difference in the grand scheme of things.
     
  7. Habari

    Habari Senior Member
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    though it is hardly crucial to do a summer rotation, i had a great experience doing it.

    i was initially quite averse to the idea, but it was mandatory at our program. not only was it extremely low stress, which allowed us to enjoy and get to know the city well during the summer. our md/phd class got to know eachother very well [a good thing in our case], and might be a plus if a majority of your class is attending. secondly, while some friends at other schools are just beginning to think about research after their 1st year of med school [where to rotate, what the options are], we are very familiar with what is available - people have had the time to completely change their minds, acquire new techniques, contact PI's, work in a lab during med school, finish papers etc...

    our program director also points to a study [perhaps internal?] that shows that the initial rotation, however short, ends up shaving almost a year from graduation times for the aforementioned reasons. this is part of the reason that harvard mstp implemented their mandatory preMs1 rotation.

    again, i highly doubt anyone who chose to travel in europe, work at a different job, or something completely different would regret doing that in lieu of a rotation. in fact, if you have some other great opportunity - no reason not to do it. all of us just happened to have a great time.

    as a final note, it is myth that once you enter your respective programs that there will be no free time/relaxation for the next 7 years and onwards. there is substantial vacation time, or time one can [and people do] take off. the pressures are quite different from those in undergrad, and while there is quite a bit to get done, i've found it to be substantially less stressful overall.
     

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