Were Your Summer Plans Canceled Due to COVID?


With summer around the corner, the future is still uncertain as the global coronavirus pandemic continues. Despite reopening efforts, many summer internships and opportunities for premedical students remain canceled. If you are in this position, you may be scrambling to plan out the next couple of months. If you’re! looking for some suggestions to still have an enriching summer while staying safe, read on.


Coronavirus Research Project

Coronavirus research efforts are a priority at several institutions. Experimental and clinical coronavirus-related projects range from developing effective COVID-19 screening tests to clinical outcomes research to genetics analyses and more. As data on coronavirus is collected, manpower will be needed. What better way to spend this summer than to directly contribute to a solution for the global pandemic? Not only will this experience be a service to society, but you can gain valuable research and public health knowledge.

If you are interested in a coronavirus research project, email principal investigators working on COVID-19 work. In the email, you should introduce yourself, list your previous experiences and describe your specific interest in their research. Research institutions usually have a list of principal investigators working on coronavirus-related projects. As lab-bench research is still based on a restricted schedule, it is possible certain research opportunities may not be full-time, in which case you can supplement research with other opportunities. Fortunately, there are a number of coronavirus research opportunities that can be done virtually. These opportunities include patient phone call screening and running computational analyses on health data.


Make Some Extra Money

Unfortunately, the medical school admissions process and journey are expensive. If you have time over the summer, you can earn some extra cash. Finding a job during this time might seem difficult, especially with the unemployment rate high due to the coronavirus pandemic. You can try to find opportunities at local businesses or ask any previous employers that you might have for opportunities.

Another option is childcare or tutoring. Childcare a necessity for most households with working parents during these times. A quick Google search should pull up opportunities for tutoring or childcare in your local area. I have listed some established opportunities based in cities. Some of these opportunities are volunteer-based, but payment can usually be arranged individually with families if you prefer to make some money.

Alternatively, you can reach out to local educational institutions such as libraries and schools, who may offer additional opportunities. The premedical curriculum generally includes courses such as biology, chemistry, physics and math, so these are subjects that you can tutor in. Additionally, SAT/ACT tutoring is an option as high school juniors and seniors likely are preparing for these exams during the summer.


Learn a New Skill or Language

Have you been postponing learning something that interests you because of classes? Now is the time to achieve these goals. Some valuable skills for a career in healthcare include computer coding and Spanish. Throughout medical school, several research opportunities involving electronic medical records are offered and a background in coding can be very useful to contribute to these projects. Furthermore, learning a new language, such as Spanish, is an invaluable skill to communicate with patients. There are even courses on epidemics and pandemics if you want to be better educated about our current crisis. Coding, language, and other medically-related classes are being offered at a discounted or free price by virtual learning companies and certain universities.


Educate Yourself

Educating yourself on healthcare topics and social issues as a future physician is extremely important. You can create your own summer reading list to fill up some free time. There are several excellent books written by physicians that you can order online or check out at a library. If you are planning on applying for medical schools this year, these books can help you think about common questions that are asked during the interview trail.

The MD degree is a platform for many individuals to pursue social issues that are important to them. For example, health equity, health policy and medical research are some passions for doctors in addition to providing patient care. Reading this summer on these topics might help you find your own passion and think about what path you want your future to take.


Prepare Your Medical School Application

The pandemic is the perfect time to dedicate study time for the MCAT. Especially if your MCAT testing data was canceled due to coronavirus, you can take the summer to prepare further and boost your score. Med School Insiders offers excellent MCAT preparation resources!

If you are planning on applying for the upcoming cycle of admission, this summer may also be a good time to focus on your essays. Medical school essays are an important component of admissions, so taking time to edit and refine them will pay off. Med School Insiders offers help with medical school essays.


Take a Break and Reflect

2020 has been a year filled with not just the coronavirus pandemic but other crises that have highlighted several issues in our society and world. All of these events can be extremely distressing. You should not question taking a break for your mental health this summer. You will be the best doctor if you take care of yourself first.

If you are concerned about your cancelled summer plans, remember that medical school admission committees are cognizant of the pandemic. Already, medical schools are discussing flexible application requirements, especially with MCAT testing dates canceled due to coronavirus. You can always email medical school admission committees to stay updated on special considerations they may have instituted in light of the pandemic.

Either way, some time to relax and take a break for your mental health in this chaotic time is warranted. Medical school admissions are important, but not as important as your health.


If you have any other ideas or suggestions for summer activities for fellow students, feel free to share in the comments!


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