The summer after your first year of medical school is an excellent time to explore different fields of medicine. What you do the summer after your first year of medical school isn't critical in terms of your residency application. Instead of choosing something just to enhance your CV, choose a project that helps answer a question about your career goals or personal interests and aspirations. Below are three ideas that can give you a productive, exciting and successful summer. 

1. Get Involved 

Becoming involved in a project that holds meaning for you is a great way to get something worthwhile out of the summer. This can take a variety of different forms – such as research, teaching, volunteering, advocacy, etc.  

Working with a resident or attending physician on a project is a great way to develop a mentorship relationship that can guide you throughout your training and into your career. You can also see first-hand how physicians organize their professional time and begin to consider what is available to meet your work-life goals.  

2. Create

No matter how you choose to get involved over the summer, a good goal is to have a tangible product of your work. This can take the form of a curriculum you develop, a research paper, poster or case study, an artistic piece, or magazine/journal article. 

Don't be discouraged, though, if this does not come to fruition immediately by the end of the summer – these projects take time and can become something you can continue to work toward during the remainder of medical school. Regardless of how far the project gets over the summer, take time to reflect and write down what you learned and what the experience meant for you. 

3. Rejuvenate 

This is also a fantastic time to kick back, relax and regain energy. Take time to recover from your first year of medical schoolIt’s ideal to be well rested for the intense sprint coming in your second year. Take plenty of time during the summer for YOU and those important to you.  

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American Academy of Pediatrics