Monday, February 13, 2017

Research Blog #2: Scouting the Territory

I am going to stick with my original topic which is the gap year that many students are choosing to take after graduating college and before starting graduate or medical school. A major question that seems to be reoccurring throughout my research is “how will a gap year benefit me?” A few key terms and idea that are relevant to this topic are affluence and social class of different students (determining how and if a gap year will be utilized), as well as pros and cons to both sides. In the case of the gap year, either you chose to take one or you don’t. You must weigh your options and decide what the best and most beneficial step will be for you personally while keeping your financial status, academic life, and personal wellness in mind. Another interesting conversation about the topic is who the gap year is most practical for. 
There are different views surrounding the gap year, many of which depend on the students undergraduate major. 
After a few google searches, I found that the idea I had about taking a gap year is the complete opposite of what many people are saying about it. I always thought that students in the medical field chose to take a gap year (being that many of them are affluent students who may have the money to travel, or perhaps would want to get more volunteer hours). However, medical students for the most part are urged to continue straight into medical school without taking time off from a strenuous academic environment. Meanwhile, professional masters degree programs including those for majors like business and communication are very interested in seeing work experience, in which case a gap year is a great idea.
Since another main reason to take a gap year (besides to save money and gain more work experience) is to travel the world and maybe even do charity work, there are many books out about where to go and what programs to join. One book on the market right now is called “The Big Trip: Your Ultimate Guide to Gap Years and Overseas Adventures.” Another scholarly article based on the same topic is called “Doing development’: the gap year, volunteer-tourists and a popular practice of development,” by Kate Simpson who talks about how gap year programs make the practice of international development doable, knowable and accessible to young travelers.

Reasons to wait:
This article explains many benefits to taking a year off after graduation and before starting graduate school for a higher degree. It also offers great resources as well as questions to ask yourself when making the decision to take a gap year or not. 

Pros and cons of taking a gap year before medical school:
This article is geared towards students who are going to attend medical school. It explains in detail the pros and cons of taking a gap year before starting medical school. I like this article because it forces the reader (particularly a student trying to make this decision) somewhat personal questions about how and why they want to spend their next year. 

1 comment:

  1. OK, it looks like you are really interested in a "gap year" between undergraduate degree and medical school. I think most people associate the term "gap year" with post-high school. I wonder if maybe a large number of people take a gap year before grad school. Probably it depends upon industry or degrees sought. I know a lot of MBAs who worked and were often told that working before grad school would be beneficial, since many MBA courses presume knowledge of industry practices. Probably with medical school, a gap year where you do something medicine-related would be valuable. I've known some science grads who did a year of lab work before going on to grad school, and it was a big benefit toward getting scholarships or lab positions to support the grad work. It probably varies a lot more by person, and maybe has to be asked in a more focused way (such as "should you take a gap year before medical school, and what should you do?") than the HS-College gap year, which can be considered more broadly.