April 5, 2017, by mzykr3
Why Should You Try a Summer Internship? Plus Bonus Tips for Medics
By Krishna Rajan, BMedSci, graduated 2016, and 4th year medical student
Work experience – two words I used to shudder at the sound of. “Does that one thing I did that one time count?” I’d ask myself. It soon became clear that I needed to stop worrying and start looking.
As a medic, my schedule is pretty jam-packed. I decided to use the summer to get some experience. Here are my top internships tips.
You will get a flavour for your likes and dislikes
When you get to university, you feel like the world is your oyster. Even in courses where the outcome seems pretty determined, like medicine, it is still hard to make up your mind about what you want to do when you ‘grow up’.
As you get more interested in what you’re doing and learn what you like and what you don’t, work experience can be an opportunity to walk a mile in different shoes without committing to buying them.
Quick tip for medics: This is a great time to explore specialisms. Before second year, I had no idea what I wanted to specialise in, but after spending four weeks in Anaesthetics, it looked like something I’d definitely consider as a career.
You will add some structure to your summer
Rocking back up at university after three months holiday can be a challenge for the best of us, particularly when you come back to a timetable-heavy course like medicine. Taking part in an internship ensures that you don’t completely lose that 9am mindset, keeping you energised and motivated throughout the summer months.
While I enjoyed having time to myself to relax, I still found I needed some structure. Being on an internship for the first half of the day allowed me to add some order to my day, and feel like a productive member of society!
Quick tip for medics: You will be able to continue to practice your easily forgotten clinical skills too.
You will meet contacts who might help you further down the line
Before university, work experience often felt like extra padding for applications. However, it can offer much more. Use it as an opportunity to network and it can open a lot of doors, especially into fields that may pique your interest.
This also allows you to work out if this is the career for you. You might find your foot into the door – reducing job-hunting, and end-of-degree stress.
Quick tip for medics: You will need a clinical referee for your foundation year applications, so this is a good opportunity to find someone willing.
While it is important to get out there, I don’t want to undermine the effects of a nice break during the summer. Don’t get me wrong; watching Netflix in bed all day is a perfectly acceptable way to spend your summer. However, there’s nothing wrong with being a contributing member of society with a great CV by day, and a hermit under a blanket by night!
During both my internships, I only worked the first half of the day, freeing up time to enjoy the rest of the day too. Ultimately, the biggest advantage of summer internships is you can build it up in a way that fits you best.