I'm taking a year off--what should I do?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by cleanup, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. cleanup macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    I recently graduated from the University of Toronto with an HBSc, which is unfortunately a useless degree. :p I applied to a couple dental schools last year, and was interviewed at one, but was waitlisted for admission. So I'm preparing for the shameful year to come.

    While I have some plans (ie. take the MCAT so I can pursue medical admission as well, and actually apply to a decent amount of schools this time), I predict that I'll have a substantial amount of free time on my hands. I will be taking a couple courses at a neighbouring university for ***** and giggles, possibly doing some research at my old lab, and keep my positions in a few extracurricular activities at school, but beyond that, I'm unsure of what to do.

    While I'm not averse to traveling or going-off-to-find-yourself type adventures, I'd like to keep my budget rather low this coming year.

    I suppose what I'm really asking is, what sorts of volunteer activities or hobbies do you guys engage in that you find really boosts your happiness or quality of life? Any part-time jobs you've held that you found particularly enjoyable or helpful? Great community service experiences?

    I suppose for once I'm not going to have a consistent school/work commitment (besides perhaps part-time research) and I'm a bit lost as to what to do. Medical/dental school admissions are stressful enough and I'd like to keep my head relatively clear as soon as my MCAT is done.

    Any advice is appreciated. :eek:
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    Doh, spend the whole year in MR :D

    Seriously speaking, do what you find enjoyable. I really enjoy different sports and I could easily spend 4 hours a day just doing different sports. Gym membership can easily take 2-3 hours of your day and will get you in good shape ;)
     
  3. StvenH90 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Florida
    #3
    Part time job? Hmmm, I actually enjoyed delivering pizzas. I bought a van for $700 from an elder couple, did a tune up and installed a nice radio (tinted the windows). The van ran good and was reliable for the job. But onto the job its self, was actually kinda fun. Meet interesting people, met some scary people. Was being paid to basically jam to the radio. It also helped that I delivered in a mostly lower middle class area, that knows how to tip...

    Hobbies: You can try photography, gym, or even look into getting a pet.
     
  4. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #4
    I was in roughly the same situation about a year ago. I completed my undergraduate degree in History and didn't really have anything lined up. I ended up taking a couple of graduate courses, taking the GRE, serving as a Youth Advisor for my churches youth group and doing an internship with a museum.

    About three weeks ago I landed a job at a medical research center and I'm about to take the revised GRE and make a push for a couple of graduate programs.

    I'd say just use this time to try new things. You never know who you'll meet or what you'll do.
     
  5. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #5
    I'm already using my freetime this summer to work out a lot more than I normally do. I've gained a good 10 or so pounds of muscle in about two months. During the schoolyear I was involved in intramural ultimate frisbee and volleyball; I'm unsure of how I'll take part if I'm not a student, or if there are community teams I can try out for. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

    Haha, I wouldn't want to deliver pizzas in downtown Toronto. I think I'd kill myself before I got into an accident.

    I'm already a photographer, and during the year I frequent the athletic centre on campus; since I'm not a student anymore I'll have to see whether it's more worth it for me to purchase a membership at the campus centre or at GoodLife/Extreme. It'll certainly be my first time actually paying for a gym membership. :)

    And as for a pet, I would LOVE one, but I think it may be irresponsible of me considering that the following year I'll probably become a professional student and will have little to no time to take care of a pet, unless it's a cat perhaps. One of the most appealing ideas I've heard so far though! I love animals.

    This is the sort of mentality I need to take on. For the past 4 years I've been too ingrained in trying to be a traditional medical/dental applicant. I achieved high grades, volunteered at hospitals, did research, etc., but rarely delved outside of the box. I'm not religious in the least, but I like the idea of serving as a counselor or advisor for something; perhaps become a Big Brother.

    What do you do at the research center? And how did you arrive at the conclusion that you should do something completely outside your field of study? How'd you land the job?

    Pardon the questions. I'm just curious. :)

    Thanks for all of the replies so far. I feel the inspiration brewing.
     
  6. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816

    bobfitz14

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #6
    if all else fails you can pretend to be me and do my second year of college for me. :D
     
  7. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #7
    To be honest, I was looking for a way to get some volunteer experience on my resume and it was very easy to line that opportunity up.

    When I interviewed for the position, the operations manager started talking about how his daughter was in an MA program for museum studies and she was having a hard time finding a job. Perhaps he felt sorry for a History major without a 'real' job. :p

    He actually indicated that it was because I had about six years experience working at a local ice cream company through out high school. He said he thought that the experience working in a 'clean' enviorment would have prepared me well for the job as an Research Animal Technician. Basically a fancy way of saying I do animal husbandry. :p

    However, the only reason I took it is because the graduate school I'd like to go to has a close relationship with that research center, so even though it's outside my field/ area of study/ interest, I'm already working with people who might be good sources of recommendation come application time. That, and it's nice to actually get a paycheck now and not have to work/ volunteer for free.
     
  8. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #8
    Sounds not unlike my Grand-niece, who just graduated with that very designation from Guelph U.

    She already did her MCAT prep before her Senior year, and will take the exams this Summer.

    She's going forward for her Masters in in the Fall, probably Medical Biology.

    Her marks are ridiculous.

    She just turned 22 after graduation. :D
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #9
    Ontario March of Dimes.


    I used to work for them on Sundays while I attended uni (McMaster). My job was to get a cerebral palsy sufferer (1 year younger than me) out of bed in he morning and ready for the day. It took 3-4 hours.
     
  10. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #10
    Kudos, Brother. :D
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #11
    Well getting a 90kg guy out of bed took like 30 minutes in itself!! I'm 70 kg, and the guy in bed can't move at all. It could be very frustrating when it took an hour sometimes, but I felt no right to complain because he's the person who has to go through this on a daily basis. Also, I was the only cared he had that was the same age as him, so while I did feel frustrated at times, he'd feel embarrassed. :eek:

    It was a good learning experience. :)

    I suggested doing this because it may look good on his CV. If he's going to volunteer, but also go into healthcare as a career, he may as well help himself at the same time.

    Actually, I'm not sure it was a volunteer job. It may have been paid. I didn't do it for the money so I didn't care.
     
  12. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #12
    Try working in a convalescent hospital or a facility or day program for disabled adults. This is much more of a challenge than going back to your lab, or, studying abstract algebra or whatever.
     
  13. samiwas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #13
    As a freelancer, I sometimes have a month or more at a time free. I try to further my creative passions...3d modeling/animation and other artful type things, and doing other projects like ripping my DVD library, doing some house remodeling, etc.

    Do find something that you feel a worthwhile response from...a hobby, a passion, volunteering, etc. Don't waste it playing X-box.
     
  14. Daffodil macrumors 6502

    Daffodil

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    In a sunny state of mind
    #14
    I'm in a similar-ish situation. Already done with my MCATs and applying this summer, but still looking for a job/ something meaningful to do this year the process takes...

    I found that making a list of things I now have time for that I didn't while I was in school helped shift my focus away from being depressed/despondent to seeing the opportunities in it. I was so busy with classes, etc. that I'd forgotten what it feels like to set new personal goals and learn things I've always wanted to learn.

    I think that your mindset really matters - do something less conventional, as long as it's meaningful, so you won't say year wasted. Remember this is probably the freest you'll be in a long time, since professional/grad school is intense!

    Best of luck to you!
     
  15. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #15
    Agree completely. Well done.

    This would also be my advice; take the opportunity to do something, learn something, explore something you have not had the opportunity to dream about until now. Try to see it as an opportunity - a slightly ajar door - rather than a problem, and look into areas of your life, or interests, that have long intrigued you but, for a variety of reasons, you never had the chance to explore until now. This could be travel, studying fascinating areas which are new to you, volunteering, new hobbies, and so on. Above all, enjoy it.

    Best of luck
     
  16. maclaptop macrumors 65816

    maclaptop

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Location:
    Western Hemisphere
    #16
    For Your Budget:

    Immediately Sell _All_ Your Apple Gear, while it still has high resale value.

    In a year Apple will be finished morphing into a pure toy company, with nothing of substance, if you need a good computer when you return.

    I'm a cross platform engineer that finds both Windows 7 & the upcoming version 8, excellent for business, design, scientific, fluid dynamics, and other computational work.

    To Enhance Your Quality Of Life:

    Try volunteering at a local hospital, it's very rewarding to go around visiting patients that have no visitors or family. It will brighten their days, and remind you of just how lucky you are to have your youth, health, and a robust future. It will put things into a new perspective, one filled with gratitude and renewed motivation to do your very best in your next endeavor.

    I've done it myself and it's one of the best volunteer activities I've participated in.

    Cheers :)
     
  17. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #17
    Thanks so much for the suggestions, everyone! I suppose the issue is that I've done a bit of everything already and I have too many hobbies. I volunteered at Toronto General Hospital for two years in an angioplasty clinic, and in the summers when I visited Shanghai I volunteered at the Heart 2 Heart program at Shanghai Thoracic. I loved the constant patient interaction. Playing with the kids at H2H was a joy as well. Working for March of Dimes would certainly be a different experience and I'm most enthusiastic about such a thing. I've started to do some more digging into similar organisations that serve disabled or disadvantaged groups. Thanks for the inspiration, Abstract!

    I've also decided to start training for either a half marathon or the CN Tower Stair Climb for the United Way, something that many friends of mine have done before but I've never taken part.

    The ideas are solidifying. :) I'd love to hear more stories, though, no matter how quirky or out there.
     
  18. ShamrockSolace macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    #18
    Lose yourself, then find what your boundaries are.

    No better way to find who you are, until you are absolutely lost.
     

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