This is my last semester of college as an undergrad, set to receive my Bachelor of Science in Biology. It feels like a long yet short journey since high school graduation, but I am ready for the future.
Being a student during this pandemic was unexpected, to say the least.
Having a graduation ceremony online for my Associates and then continuing virtually for my Bachelor’s for a year, was never in anyone’s plans and I’m so proud of what many of us have accomplished, and graduating is well deserved.
As a Senior at the University of Maryland – College Park, I am extremely excited about graduation, especially after this pandemic. A common question I always receive is, “What will you do next?” The beauty of this question is that it doesn’t matter what graduating senior you ask, their answer will be different. We all have different plans as we progress through our academic and personal lives, and here is mine.
I plan on taking two gap years. It seems like a lot but, that is what works for me.
As a student on the Pre-Med path, a gap year would be perfect for my specific goal, and this is why many of my peers and I have considered it.
After graduating, I will spend 1-year studying and taking the MCAT, hopefully achieving a competitive score of 509+ while adding experiences to my resume. As I add these experiences I will also network and understand what it means to work for the community. Lab or clinical experiences sound great for resume building but, there is so much more to it. It’s the ability to learn about the people you meet and the unique interactions you can make within the community and/or with trained professionals. This deeper view of the opportunities you have will build passion and humility, just some of the characteristics of a great doctor that you can achieve.
During my second gap year, I will be applying to med schools and awaiting their responses. This is a waiting period that should NOT be spent waiting and doing nothing. Though what you do during this time will not be used in the med school applications, they may still ask you in their admissions interview, “What have you been doing this past year as you awaited med school responses?”
Here is a tip, listen closely.
One thing about med school is that they love to see you with a busy schedule while multitasking personal, school, and extracurriculars. They believe it is a good way to see your capabilities, how much you care for the community, and see that you are a well-balanced responsible potential student who is not phased by a hectic schedule. Med School is infamous for its hectic schedules and heavy course loads, and they need to see if you have what it takes.
It may seem like I am a med school expert, but I am still learning every day. This is my plan, but regardless of your path or the amount of Gap years you take, this is all about your journey, your goal, and your dreams. Take your time and choose what you need NOT what you think you need or because you feel left behind. I have met med students who have taken 3 or 4 gap years or med students who begin their journeys late in life, so always focus on yourself. I hope this inspires you to take a chance and learn about yourself as you grow academically. These are my plans, so dont be afraid to take those gap years.