One of the most important days of a medical student’s career is Match Day, which typically comes in the middle of the spring semester. Getting matched to a facility is an important milestone in your time at medical school, but you might not be sure what to do with the rest of your time at medical school. Many students focus on planning for their matches, and they might not think about the remaining months of school. However, there are a few ways you can make the most of your time to prepare for the next step.
Educate Yourself on Personal Finance
Many students who are about to graduate might not be that experienced with personal finance, and you have likely accrued debt during your time in school. It might be hard to balance this with the salary you earn as a resident. It’s a good idea to understand aspects of personal finance, such as saving and budgeting. If there are things you are unsure about, like investing or filing taxes, take some time to read up on these topics. If you aren’t much of a reader, there are also plenty of podcasts and videos online. Plus, you might be able to take advantage of your school’s financial counselors.
It’s important to come up with a plan for your student loans, especially if repayments are a new experience for you. There are plenty of options for new graduates, including the option to refinance. Typically, refinancing results in lower overall expenses each month. There are student loan refinancing options that often allow you to combine existing debts into a single one, which makes these repayments simpler.
Prepare for Life in Your New City
You most likely won’t receive a match at a hospital in your current city, so taking some time to prepare for the move can make the transition easier later. It’s always challenging to live in a new city, and residency can make it even harder. You likely won’t receive much time off, but it’s still important to spend time outside the hospital so you can unwind.
Think about where you will live and whether you will have roommates. Take some time to find forums for medical residents in the area so you can connect with like-minded people. Your residency program might provide these forums, or you could meet on other pages on social media. Preparing for life outside the hospital allows you to have an easier transition there.
Take Some Time to Enjoy Yourself
The months between match day and the first day of your residency allow you to enjoy yourself and take some time to recharge. Because of the limited amount of time, you will have outside your residency once it starts, it is important to enjoy yourself, with whatever activities work for you. Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night and exercise every day and take some time to do hobbies that you enjoy.
If you have been too busy to think about the things you enjoy, you can also use this time to consider what you can do to help yourself unwind. Knowing what helps your wellness allows you to focus on these things, which can prevent burnout in the next phase of your journey.
If you are interested in travel, now is the best time to do so because it is hard to travel once you are a resident. Plus, traveling now allows you to go with a better mindset than once you are in the middle of your residency. Going on a trip could make this one of the most memorable parts of your life.
Deciding How Much to Study
After you have a match, you may wonder if you will need to study to prepare yourself for the next step. You have already been working hard for several years and have become used to the grind, and when you don’t have to study as much, it might feel like something is missing. Know that while studying can help you feel more prepared, it is not always critical.
For some, doing extra studying feels comforting and can help them feel more confident going into their residences. It does make sense to refamiliarize yourself with some key concepts of whatever area you are focusing on. That does not mean you need to surround yourself with books as much as you did during the main part of medical school. The program is designed to give you a foundation to build off, and if you have made it this far, you can generally trust that you know the material well enough to be successful in residency.
Plus, no matter how much you study now, your residency will be a difficult time, and you will face a steep learning curve. Studying more now is unlikely to affect how well you perform in a hospital setting. Many students benefit more from allowing themselves to recharge during this time.
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.