How to holiday at medical school – OurWarwick

How to holiday at medical school

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Anything at all! Everyone who comes to Medicine as a…
Find out more about me Contact Frederick

In our placement blocks towards the end of our course we are given an annual leave allowance. We have a short summer holiday scheduled by the university in July and another for Christmas but apart from that we are largely free to use our annual leave allowance in order to take a well needed rest during placement time. And we are encouraged by the med school to use it up, showing their understanding for the need to take a break, even during the high pace of placement learning.

With that in mind I wanted to use my recent holiday in North Norfolk to create a bit of a guide for making the most of holidaying whilst at med school. Some of the items on the list are things that I did and some were things that I realised afterwards that I could have done differently.

Do not take a laptop

It is very easy to get into a habit of using your downtime to answer some practice questions, read a textbook that helps with the current placement block or make some revision notes. It’s a really good skill to develop (which I am still working on!) but a bad habit when it comes to enjoying your holiday. Remember that all of your knowledge will still be there after the holiday, and finding the time to relax and not think about medicine is a really important part of taking a break. Not taking a laptop or any other study materials is the best way to ensure this happens.

Get outside

Myself and my partner really enjoy running so we scheduled in some trail runs on a few days in our holiday that got us out and about. Even if running is not your thing, scheduling in some outdoor activity, soaking up some sunshine and walking around a new place is a great way to refresh your mind. Working in hospitals and revising at home can make you feel cooped up at times so I prioritise getting outdoors during any time off I have.

Reconnect with friends and family

We used the break to see as many friends and family as we could fit in, whilst also having a few days with just each other. Because of the nature of the placement blocks it can be hard to find the time to see friends and family so we wanted to catch up with anyone we hadn’t seen in a while. However, you should be wary of putting in too many visits or doing them late in the holiday. This is a very personal observation so others may disagree, but we both found that having multiple visits to loved ones at the end of our holiday, whilst enjoyable, was also quite exhausting especially due to the extra travelling involved. What I and my partner agreed to do in future is put the time spent by ourselves at the end so we can maximise our relaxation and recharge the batteries before heading back to work.

Medical school is very different from other courses in terms of holidays so finding a good strategy for maximising your time away from studying is paramount. And, as always, this is a skill that should serve us well in our medical careers as well. I certainly haven’t worked it all out yet but hopefully these tips can get you started in the right direction!

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Anything at all! Everyone who comes to Medicine as a…
Find out more about me Contact Frederick

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