What to Consider Before Taking a Break during Medical School

Many experts argue for and against the merits of taking a break from medical school. Many claim that it has a negative effect on their transition into a residency program. Others state that it’s crucial to the mental health and well-being of a student. There is one thing for certain; medical school is rough on everybody. The anxiety of completing your rotations, exams, and the pressure of entering a highly competitive field soon is enough to drive anyone a little bonkers. Before you decide to take a break from your studies there are some important things to consider.

Things to Consider about Taking a Break from Medical School

If you decide to take a break from medical school you should really speak to an administrator or the dean first. Unfortunately, you’ll have to explain this break during your applications for residency and some may consider taking a break as a negative. Most residency directors will understand if your break was completely unavoidable, situations occur that make such time off necessary. However, you have to remember that these applications are highly competitive and with only a limited number of spots available, a hospital will look for any reason to weed someone out.

With this being the biggest reason people advise against taking a break during medical school, there are also a lot of benefits for taking some time off. First you must consider the above possibility and any financial repercussions that go along with it before you proceed with this endeavor.

One of the best reasons to take a break from medical school is to attain a second degree, such as a Tropical Medicine, MBA. This will look extremely well on your application. Students have also used this time to pursue other electives and even travel abroad, which broadens the horizon of any young professional. For those seeking careers in a particularly competitive specialty and you notice that your GPA is a little lacking, it would actually benefit you to take some time off to find internships or do field research with that specialty. This will give you the appearance of showing more experience and dedication in that area.

This is a major life decision and you should always take every aspect into consideration. Taking a break from medical school is not an excuse to go on vacation. You need to be filling up this time with experiences and knowledge that are beneficial to your residency exams.

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