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7 Pre-Med Summer Activities To Do Despite COVID-19

  • by Fehbe Meza
  • Jun 15, 2020
  • MCAT Blog, Pre-Med Support

Raise your hand if you’ve had your summer pre-med plans disrupted by COVID-19.

via GIPHY

Let’s get real; the first half of this year was no fun. The pre-med journey is a fulfilling yet stressful path, and you didn’t need the curveballs that the COVID-19 pandemic threw your way. In just a few months, life as you knew it changed. Entire states were shut down. MCAT dates were canceled, then rescheduled, and then canceled again. An entirely new, shorter 2020 MCAT format was released along with three different times you can take the MCAT on test day. Most people had to reschedule their MCAT date to later this summer or even September and are wondering when it’s too late to take the MCAT and apply to medical school. Rounding it out were the nationwide protests highlighting police brutality and the social inequities people of color still face in 2020. 

While Summer 2020 might look different, you can still spend the next three or so months improving your medical school application or investing in your personal growth. We’ve compiled a list of pre-med summer activities you can do despite the COVID-19 shutdown. 

Two important things to note:
1. Check your state and county/city COVID policies to ensure the in-person activities you want to do are not canceled or postponed.
2. Stay safe no matter what you choose to do by following your local health authorities’ guidelines.

1. Take Summer Courses
No doubt many pre-meds were already planning on taking some summer classes. It’s a great time to sneak in prereqs that you otherwise would not have time for during the semester. This year, they will likely be online classes, which gives you the added benefit of staying home. However, don’t wait until the summer to take all your required pre-med classes. Medical schools don’t look favorably upon too many summer classes. One or two is fine, though. You could also take elective classes in a subject that interests you. 

2. Volunteer
This one will likely depend on your location. If your city is allowing it, there’s plenty of in-person volunteering opportunities you can do (like at your local food bank). If you’d rather volunteer virtually, this is the year to do it! Many organizations and cities are looking for COVID-19 Contact Tracing volunteers to help local health authorities keep track of COVID transmissions and connect patients and close contacts with necessary resources. If you prefer a more direct impact, you can work on acquiring vital PPE for frontline workers. Check out GetUsPPE, a grassroots movement founded by physicians and medical researchers, to get started.

You can also tutor middle or high school kids in math or science online by contacting a local school or through a company like Upchieve. If you’re looking for ways to help senior citizens, try delivering meals or groceries. 

Surprisingly, there are many remote volunteer opportunities to fit your schedule and interests. Don’t get stuck in the idea that they must be within the medical field. Choose something you’re passionate about and will enjoy doing!

3. Scribing
As states open up, some hospital departments and primary doctors are accepting scribes again. ScribeAmerica even has a TeleHealth division. Unfortunately, scribing opportunities will vary by location but it’s worth looking into in your area! 

4. Prep for the MCAT
As far as pre-med summer activities go, this one is a given. If you haven’t already taken the MCAT, you will have to tame the beast one day. The last day you can take the MCAT in 2020 is September 28. If you’re aiming for that date, you have three months to whip yourself into MCAT shape. However, the 2021 MCAT testing cycle begins in January, which gives you ample time to start on your content review now. Blueprint MCAT knows every student preps at a different pace, which is why we offer 6-month, 12-month, and 18-month MCAT Online Course plans! The MCAT is not something you can (or should) cram for; slow and steady will get you to the finish line without getting burnt out. 

5. Find a New Hobby
In a few months, you will inevitably find yourself interviewing at a medical school and trying to answer the question, “Tell me something about yourself that’s not in your application.” You are undoubtedly intelligent, your accolades and achievements will be on full display, and your desire to become a doctor is unquestionable. However, the same can be said about the rest of your peers. Medical school admissions committees want to know the person behind the resume, the human underneath the white coat. To do that, they’ll want to know about your hobbies and passions—and if you don’t think you have any, now is the time to find one. Whether it’s being an expert in anime trivia, rock climbing, hosting your own Youtube channel, moonlighting as an influencer, or growing your own vegetables, a well-rounded applicant will have at least one hobby to talk about. 

6. Start on Your Applications
If you’re applying to medical school this year, you should have already submitted your apps or are diligently working on them. As soon as you hit Submit, take this time to begin drafting your responses to secondary applications. Medical School HQ keeps an updated Secondaries Library, but most schools reuse the same ones from the year before. 

If you’re applying next year, it’s never too early to start working on your application! Jot down some ideas for your personal statement and maybe even crank out a draft. It will definitely evolve by next Spring, but you’ll be glad you have a starting point!

7. Sleep
What is this thing, “sleep,” we speak of? It’s something you’ve earned. With classes, extracurriculars, and so much more, you probably don’t have much time to rest during the school year. Everyone needs a break. So, before you pack your schedule with any of the above pre-med summer activities, schedule in some self-care. Relish in sleeping more than four hours every night. Throw in a catnap during the day for good measure. Don’t feel guilty for taking time off—you’ll get back to the grind before you know it.

Ultimately, pandemic or not, the summers are what you make of them. Even if you’re a working non-trad, the next few months will likely feel a little lighter. Choose your pre-med summer activities wisely. Use this time to regroup, recharge, and learn something about yourself. And don’t forget to have fun while social distancing! 

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