1. Getting Your Paperworks in Order
As the excitement of getting that acceptance email/letter dies down, now it's time to get the logistics of getting settled into medical school in order. Many medical schools will send a lot of paperwork that you must fill out in order to enroll in their classes. Check your acceptance letter and see what kinds of forms need to be filled in, picked up, and submitted. I believe all medical schools will require a police check which can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks so make sure to get this done as soon as possible. Updated immunization records are often required as well especially with TB testing and Hepatitis B vaccinations. Some schools also send scholarship information/applications so be sure to apply for these if the deadline is during the summer months.
2. Living Arrangements
Whether you are in the city or moving across the country, finding a place to live during your medical schooling is going to be a task that one has to look into as soon as possible. There are many questions to consider when finding a place and deciding what kind of a living arrangement you'd want to have:
- Do you want to live by yourself or with a roommate?
- How far from school would you be willing to live/commute?
- What is your budget for rent? Many places near campus and a busy downtown core can range anywhere from $800-$1700
- Do you want to live in a condo? apartment? townhouse? on campus housing? basement apartments?
- What furniture do you need to buy/transport?
- What are the lease requirements? Are you able to sublet your place?
Medical school is expensive. Combined with tuition costs, rent, groceries, bills and other miscellaneous spendings, a medical student's debt can quickly accumulate. Thus, it is important to see what types of financial aid is available at the medical school you are going to. When do they give out bursaries? Are there any applications involved? What scholarships are available and when does one apply for them? What types of government loan programs are available in the province that you're attending the medical school? Can you transfer loans from one province to another?
Most students will be applying for a Professional Student Line of Credit. In Canada, some of the most popular banks that students use for their LOCs include RBC, ScotiaBank, and TD. Depending on the branch, most will require a Proof of Enrollment which the school can provide. Others sometimes only require your acceptance letter/email. Most students set their LOCs up in the summer in order to access the funds that they will require in order to put a down deposit on a place, for vacation, etc.
Other students will also choose to work during the summer in order to alleviate some of the costs of medical school. Whatever the case, figuring out how you will be funding your medical school education is something to look into during the summer months.
4. See the World
I've been asked by some of my friends who've gotten into medical school this year whether or not they should be studying and preparing ahead for the material being taught in medical school. DO NOT STUDY! You will have more than enough studying opportunities once medical school starts. I'd highly recommend travelling and seeing the world. This is one of the few summers left in which you'll have 3 months of freedom to do anything and go anywhere in the world.Take advantage of this!
5. Finishing Up Old Projects
The start of medical school is really a new journey that you'll embark on. If you're in the midst of finishing up a research project, try finishing that up in the summer before school starts. Have a paper you need to write? Try to do it and submit it before school starts. This way, you've tied up all your "loose ends" so to speak and it'll feel like a fresh start once medical school begins.
6. Spending Time With Family
I never realized how much of my time medical school ate up until this year. Even though I lived about 1.5 hours away from my family and still visited them every weekend, I still often missed them. I'm fortunate enough to at least be able to see them once a week whereas some of my colleagues who moved from a different province only had holidays to go back home. Thus, use this summer to spend time with your family and friends.
Congratulations to the newly admitted medical students!