summertime blues

I’m trying to decide how to spend the 2nd half of my summer when I won’t be in school. Here are my 5 choices:

  1. radiation oncology externship – 6 weeks in duration w/ a $1500 stipend. I’m ultimately interested in an oncology fellowship way down the road and think this could be a good learning experience. I’ll be assigned to a staff member and be able to observe and assist in the follow-up clinic and treatment area. I’ll have an opportunity to be involved with a research project, attending daily planning conferences, lectures, and journal clubs. The downsides are that no housing is provided and my nearest family is 70 miles away. It’s in a large (read expensive) city and the $1500 stipend would not cover my out-of-pocket costs especially with no other source of financial aid during those 6 weeks. Deadline: February 28.

  2. family practice clerkship for pre-clinical students – 2 or 4 week rotations. This is 130 miles away from where I live and a stipend, complimentary lodging and meals may be available. I could go home on weekends. I was also thinking I’d be a TA for our anatomy lab on weekends and this would allow me to do that. I would like to do apply to an IM residency; although family practice is not exactly internal medicine, they are both primary care fields and so I imagine there would be relevant overlap between FP & IM. This might give me a slight competitive edge at residency application time. This option would be lower cost to me than option 1 and would allow me to be close to home. Deadline: May 1

  3. research – I could stay on campus for the summer and try to pair up with a faculty member that wants a research assistant. I’ve had substantial work experience as a research associate prior to medical school. This is a low to no cost option to me especially if it’s a paid position. The downside is that after having worked in a research lab for so many years, I might be bored with it if the faculty member is not doing research that I find particularly interesting. I would not have the expense of maintaining separate households during the summer break, but I may not find a paying position (or any position).

  4. teaching assistant – I could work (earn money) helping students and faculty in our anatomy lab over the summer. The TAs that were in my lab were a lifeline and I’d like to pay it forward for the next batch of students. I like teaching. This would be the least cost option to me as I would not have to maintain separate households during the summer break and could actually earn money.

  5. do nothing – I could just enjoy the time off and most importantly study for boards! I won’t have any out-of-the-ordinary expenses, but will have no income for those 6 weeks either. I could also become very bored. I would like to serve on my school’s orientation team for the incoming class (2015) during the last week of the summer and options 2-5 would allow me to do that.

    Any suggestions, comments, or recommendations?


Although I am not an MS yet, I like Option 2 and Option 5. since you have an interest in IM, it would provide good experience. However, allowing your brain to recoup after MS-I would be a good option as well.

I don’t think you will go wrong with any of the options. Do what feels “natural” to you. Good luck in your decision.

Wow, 355 views & only 1 reply.

By default, option 5 won out.

Thank you for your thoughts TJJ MD.

If I would have caught this earlier I would have said option 5. Especially after MS-1 the last thing I would be worried about is being bored…more like brain fried.

Take the break and study for boards my friend.

I kept reading this because I Did #2 for my summer, and if I hadn’t needed the money, I would have done #5. I did learn a lot because of it… but still summer is summer.

I think I didn’t reply because I kept thinking by the time I saw it the window had already closed. Sounds like you made the best choice anyway!