Summer is a great time to take a break, recuperate and rejuvenate from the long school year. For students who like to get a jump-start on the next year, reading materials for the next semester is a great option. But for those who prefer to fully disengage, like myself, here are some ideas for maximizing the summer break without breaking the bank.
Explore local treasures – Take the time to explore your local city. Attend a local festival, or find a new favorite restaurant, park or nightspot to take your friends and family when they visit. Consult your city’s online profile and the National Park Service for a listing of parks, historical sites and trails in your area. Use Yelp for reviews of restaurants, attractions and more in your area and start exploring!
Maximize your vacation – Vacations allow you to relax and explore other cultures or regions. Rough Guides offer travel guides to many locations around the world, along with search and comparison options to help you get affordable rates on travel insurance, tours, flights, rentals, hostels and accommodations. No matter your destination, accommodation costs can consume a significant amount of your budget. Consider Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO), Airbnb, or Couch Surfing where you can rent out a house, a room or a couch respectively within the United States or in other parts of the world.
Be a hero – Summer is a great time to serve your local dental charity clinic or partake in a community-wide dental screening event. The need for volunteers is often greater during the summer since school is out. Families are more likely to seek care during this time while dental students and dental health professionals are more likely to be on vacation. If the idea of a “working vacation” sounds great, consider volunteering. Workaway.info provides a listing of service opportunities in touristic locations around the world. You can also partake in a dental mission trip during summer break.
Get paid – Most dental schools offer work opportunities for students in the clinic during the school break. Contact your local dental school clinic for possible summer work opportunities. You can also contact dental offices in your area.
Do an externship – If you are applying to residency programs, doing an externship in your specialty of interest allows you the opportunity to network and evaluate the residency programs you plan to apply to. Consider spending one or two weeks of your summer to engage in an externship. Contact your residency program(s) of interest for scheduling info.
Make new discoveries – Consider engaging in a research project or scholarly activity. This can grant you a competitive edge when applying for a residency position and future employment opportunities. Plus, it allows you to knock out your scholarly research requirement, leaving you more time in the semester to focus on schoolwork and other demands. Contact your school’s research department, faculty members or the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for potential dental research projects you can engage in.
After a long demanding year, I hope you use your summer break to recuperate and rejuvenate. So what are you doing this summer? Feel free to share your plans, tips and resources for a fun and eventful summer.
~ Chijioke Ulasi, MPH, Alabama ’19