June 24, 2017, by studentcontributor
Summer Days: How to spend your holiday before Results Day
“Biology students, your time has finished, please put your pens down”.
For me, these words were sweeter than any I’d heard in the past month, one consisting mainly of industrial tea consumption, mountain ranges of past papers forming across my bedroom floor and bedtimes that made waking up feeling like crawling out of my coffin. There was nothing more I could do, I was free.
Freedom however, if you think back to your post-GCSE holiday, quickly breeds boredom if you don’t make full use of one of the longest holidays you’ll ever have. Though results day seems a million miles away when you finish your last paper, it can seem scarily close when you’re counting down in days rather than weeks. Make the most of this summer, and you’ll turn up to uni refreshed and ready to throw yourself into student life.
Ideas for Summer
Get a job
Even if you do plan on training as a surgeon and moving to the USA to rake in your paycheck later in life, the fact is that a little extra cash at uni never goes amiss. In the event you do not get in this time and you decide to take up a job for a year, summer-work can only count in your favour on a CV by helping build up experiences associated with teamwork and time-management.
Prepare for not getting in
The maths is not friendly. 10 applicants competed for each medical school place in 2011, and, inevitably, many are going to be disappointed. UCAS Clearing typically opens from July to September and allows you to apply for courses that didn’t fill up in the normal application process. Even if you plan on taking a gap year if you don’t get in, you should still write up a short list of courses and jot down phone numbers of the respective admissions offices of their universities in case you change your mind or your grades aren’t as expected.
Holiday with friends
Often, the group you end up travelling with is the one you’ll keep in closest contact with after you go your separate ways. I’d wanted to do Interrail – the European rail-pass giving you access to hundreds of routes winding across the continent – since the age of 14. Having barely stepped foot in any other country than the UK and Italy, I, with my group of friends, flitted from city to city, soaking in all the cultural delights and experiences we could in 48 hours before whizzing off to the next. Most interrailers either sleep in miserable contortions on trains or book beds in hostel dormitories – for many that’s just part of adventure.
If, like mine, your reading dropped off a cliff during GCSE years, go into Waterstones, pick 4 or 5 of the books you’ve heard of but never found the time for and get stuck in. I used the opportunity to burn through Lord of the Rings at a pace that left little time in the day for silly things like eating, washing or talking to friends and family. Perfect.
Get a hobby
Having finished my holiday, I was wandering around the house looking for things to do when I stumbled across an array of old bikes in our shed. Having not ridden one for years, I realised even an old bicycle could be extremely useful at uni and set about fixing them all up. They ranged from mountain bikes to a badly-rusted yet fetching 1940s frame that turned out to be my great-grandfather’s!
Learn to cook
If you’re going to be self-catering next year, it’s an excellent idea to expand your repertoire beyond overcooked pasta with tinned sauce. You’ll find that as well as feeding yourself, cooking can prove quite therapeutic after a long day of lectures and labs, as well as saving money and offering a social element when preparing meals with housemates.
Though perhaps easier said than done, there’s really no use in worrying about your results during the summer. The most you can do is ensure you have a sensible backup plan in place and distract yourself by enjoying the kind of free time you’ll soon be longing for when you get to your first set of university exams!
James Persico, 2nd-year medical student