Avoid Burnout in My Gap Years

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Session 319

This recent graduate has to do science GPA repair, get clinical experience, and take the MCAT. Is it possible to do all this in 2-3 years?

Questions answered here on the podcast are taken directly from premedhangout.com. Go ask your questions there and use #OPMquestion.

Also, please be sure to check out all our other podcasts on Meded Media as we try to bring you as many resources as you need on this journey.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:10] The MCAT Minute

The MCAT Minute is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT.

Check out Blueprint MCAT’s free study planner tool. Put in when you plan to take the MCAT, how many hours a day you’re planning on studying, days that you know you’re not going to be able to study, and days that you want to take your full-length exams. Then it will automatically create a study plan for you that you can use throughout your prep.

Follow that study plan and adapt that study plan as you go by dragging and dropping the modules around things happening in your life.

[02:30] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

“I’m a class of 2022 College graduate BS in Human Development. I plan on taking at least two gap years before applying to medical school, and I’m overwhelmed by deciding what I should do during this time. 

Where This Student Is At This Point

My GPA is pretty low – 3.4 cumulative GPA and 2.3 science GPA, both with an upward trend, however. Due to this, I’m considering a do-it-yourself postbac, particularly in BCPM courses to boost my science GPA. I have no idea how many units I should take, any advice? Would raising my science GPA to at least a 3.0 be possible? How do I determine how many classes I need to take? 

Additionally, I have limited clinical experience. To fix this, I plan on working as a scribe for at least a year before applying. During my gap years, I also need to study to take the MCAT. 

From my undergraduate career, I do have shadowing experience, non-clinical work experience, and various other extracurriculars. 

Dealing with Burnout

I guess my biggest question is, how do I manage to balance all of these deficiencies during my gap years? 

Is it realistic to improve these deficiencies in two to three years? Where do I even start? I graduated just last month, but I’m feeling so burnt out from undergrad. I wanted to give myself the summer just to relax and not do anything. But I’m constantly stressed out feeling like I’m getting behind and should be doing something now. I want to relax but I’m having trouble doing so. 

At the same time, I fear rushing through my gap years and then being burnt out before even starting medical school. Any advice, tips or recommendation is really greatly appreciated.”

[04:17] Take a Breath!

Just take a breath. You just graduated so don’t be in a rush. Take things slowly. Realize that there are a lot of things to do, but there are also a lot of things to do in life in general.

“This is what a lot of nontrads are dealing with every single day – that is the feeling that they're getting behind.'Click To Tweet

Not everything has to be done today. And that’s what differentiates those who are able to navigate this process successfully.

A lot of students think they have to have thousands of hours for clinical experience or that it’s going to be impressive. But what’s impressive is having a balanced life. a well balanced application, having fun along the way, maintaining your sanity, and not getting burnt out.

If you do 20 hours a week over the course of those 18 hours, you have 360 hours. Consistency is key. Then another 12 months is another 240 hours, assuming you put in 20 hours a week.


When students think about this process, especially nontrads who are balancing everything and all the responsibilities of life, it can feel overwhelming. And so, break everything down into the smallest chunks possible. 

If you have 18 months before submitting the application, and if you spend 20 hours a month for an activity, that means you have 400 hours by the end of 18 months. Then try to work backward by breaking down what that looks like on a per month basis, then on a per week basis. Break everything down into bite sized manageable chunks.

It’s the same thing with the MCAT. Blueprint MCAT offers a free study planner tool to break it down into manageable chunks.

“Everything in this process is manageable. There's a lot of it. You just have to be good at separating it all out, and tackling the things that are important to tackle today.”Click To Tweet

You’re not going to accomplish everything in one day, in one week, or in one month. If you need to extend and you think 18 months is not long enough, then extend that to however long you think it’s going to take you to be ready.

You can always apply next year and take another gap here. Then that gives you that much more time and more flexibility to manage those things. Then you can break things down into even smaller chunks.

[11:57] Check Out How Mappd Can Help You Along This Journey

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