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What not to do during Christmas breaks in medical school

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One thing I always looked forward to in medical school in Dublin was the Christmas breaks. It was always short and sweet and came with a vibe that was different from the summer and spring breaks. It had a “zero responsibility” feel to it, especially when I had no exams coming up in January. Even during the odd semesters when I did have exams after Christmas, the break still felt a tad bit special. The meticulously curated Christmas lights on Grafton Street, the eye-catching Christmas trees in the malls, the boxing day shopping, and people generally seemed happier and brighter than usual.

Taking breaks in medical school is very important and the opportunity should be ceased whenever possible, including the Christmas holidays. As a medic, it is easy to get lost doing the same things you do when you’re not taking a break i.e taking a break but not actually taking a break. LOL! Does that make sense? What I’m trying to say is you could actually find yourself observing the Christmas break but not actually resting or recharging as you should be.

Here are a few things you definitely SHOULD NOT be doing during this break.

Not spend time with family and friends


The Christmas period is a season that’s synonymous with love and sharing. You’ve spent most of the past few months working very hard, focused on school work, and most likely haven’t gotten the chance to spend quality time at home with your family and friends. This is a good time to do so. Buy them gifts if you can, cook meals together or go out to eat, go to Christmas fairs or carols together, talk about how you’ve been and how they’ve been. 

Spend a lot of time thinking about exams


If you had exams this month, then Christmas break isn’t to be spent thinking too much about how they went. The exams are done and dusted, forget about them until the results are out. Worrying about exams definitely wouldn’t change the outcome, but what it will do is take the fun away from the holidays. 

Not get yourself a Christmas gift


During the holidays, a lot of us focus on getting gifts for others and sometimes forget ourselves. Yes, you might receive gifts from others too but there’s something special about rewarding yourself with something you’ve wanted all year, after months of working hard in school. It could be as simple as a really nice meal or a weekend away. Go ahead, pamper yourself in a very special way! 

Not rest


The holidays are full of parties and numerous activities. And the time passes by really quickly. Choose what you attend and what you can be absent from. Prioritize rest and relaxation, you deserve it. 

Not make summer plans


December is the perfect time to start thinking about your summer plans. Are you going to do a summer elective? Are you getting a summer job? Are you volunteering? Are you going to be writing external exams? How about research? Traveling? There’s so much you can do in the summer. Start planning and booking in advance to avoid the last-minute decisions, disappointments and of course costs. 

How ever you choose to spend this break, make sure it benefits you. Relax! Rest! Take a break! Enjoy!

Featured image: Giphy

Dr Wendy Evans-Uhegbu

The author Dr Wendy Evans-Uhegbu

Dr. Wendy Evans-Uhegbu is a graduate of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, with experience in Connected Health, Medical Technology, Clinical Research, Medical Education, Medical Communications, and Web Design/Development. She is a part of the Medics Abroad team with the role of Chief Communications Officer. She is also a Medical Writer at 3D4 Medical and runs a Medical Communications and Children's books company (ODR Integrated Services/ ODR Books).  She is the author of the newly published children's book series "The Things Around Me".

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