Should I work, or do an internship for the summer?



Its that time again!  I know the summer seems light years away, but NOW is the time to start applying for programs. I recently discussed summer plans with a young man who was junior, aspiring physician.  He mentioned that he was considering some summer programs but he was also thinking that he needed to work, because he “needed money”.   Needing money is a common reason students will opt to work at non medical / dental / career oriented places during the summer rather than using those 2 months to do an internship, shadowing program etc.  My advice will always be:  If at all possible, if your family is not directly relying on you for survival ( which isn’t the case for more than 95% of those reading this post), then opt to use your summer to gain some experience that will valuable to you on your application for professional school, or to the process of applying to professional school.  The amount of money, you can make during the summer pales in comparison to being able to :

1. Gain valuable experience to discuss during your interviews and application

2.  Meet potential future mentors

3. Gain exposure to your field of interest which could help you determine if it’s truly something you want to pursue

4. Meet / network with likeminded people who become your lifelong friends, colleagues, and supporters

5. Gain exposure / insight into the skills of your compeititors for spots in professional school

6.  The opportunity to learn from others and gain knowledge about other programs students have done, resources they have used while navigating the same path you’re on

7.  Enhanced reading comprehension skills,  advanced knowledge of anatomy / physiology  (lots of programs offer basic science classes that will give you an edge once the school year starts)

8. Opportunity for one on one contact with admissions committee members and one on one advisement

The value for a summer program far far far outweighs that of any job you could find.  Everything you do now is a preparation for your future.  You have one singular, eagle-eyed focus and that is to enter the professional school of your choice (thats going to take mastering the required admissions test, gaining adequate exposure / coupled with personal growth and development, writing a killer personal statement, strategically choosing which schools to apply to, rocking your interview, and setting yourself up to gain some scholarship money)  If whatever you have planned for today, tomorrow, next year, doesn’t facilitate that process, then it’s not worth your time.

N.B: Many internships and summer programs pay!  So its a win-win situation.

Later this week, we’ll post a list of summer opportunities.


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