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How Can Medical Students Make the Best of Winter Break?

How Can Medical Students Make the Best of Winter Break

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You are done with your exams and it is time to give yourself a pat on the back for those long hard hours you put in. With the start of the winter break, you must be wondering what to do with the hours not being spent studying, running between classes, preparing for this exam or that, or working in a hospital. While you must be tempted to power through and start studying for Step 1, it is advised to take your breaks when you need them because they’re important for your sanity. Let’s see how you can best spend your holiday time off this winter and rejuvenate for the semester ahead.

Explore The Picturesque St. Kitts

When you are on a break, we suggest you actually go on a break and take this opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate, ready to take on the next semester.! And what better way to relax than to delve in nature! Fortunately, you don’t have to travel far from home to experience pristine sandy beaches, lush forestry, sumptuous cuisines, vibrant cultures, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences when you live in the small, sun-drenched island of St. Kitts. If you are looking for things to do during your winter semester break, we suggest you visit the 18th-century Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park built by African slaves, with panoramic water views as well as a museum. You should also take a ride on the double-decker Sugar Train, which takes you through the stunning Kittitian countryside, while you enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Liamuiga, the lush vegetation of the rainforest and across St Kitts to the surrounding islands.

If you are up for some adrenaline-fueled adventures, why not explore the Rainforest in Central Reserve National Park with your friends. Also, St Kitts houses the longest zip lines in the Caribbean Sea, letting you garner a bird’s eye view of the rainforest as you soar above the tree canopy. Be sure to climb the three-hour hike to the majestic Mount Liamuiga, and enjoy epic views from the island’s highest point. If you prefer to hit the beaches, try the various watersports on offer at Cockleshell Bay and South Friar’s Beach.

Hit the Sugar Mass

The St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival, affectionately known by locals as the “Sugar Mas”, is the perfect opportunity to experience Kittian culture at its finest. Starting on 15th December, the festival washes the islands in a kaleidoscope of colors and the sweet sounds and wild rhythms of the Caribbean. Don’t forget to enjoy the action in fetes, sunset cruises, bar crawls, street celebrations and folklore performances. Don’t forget the opening of carnival, National Calypso and Soca Competitions, National Queen Pageant, Festival of Lights-folklore night and the grand parade of the bands on New Year’s Day. Be sure to wear your vibrant costumes, as you jam to the sweet music provided by live bands and DJ’s band.

Focus on Wellness

The rigorous demands of your Caribbean medical school leave little room to follow creative pursuits or take care of your health.  However, it is necessary for our bodies and minds to experience breaks in order for us to function efficiently.  There’s more to life than medicine and even for the two-week winter break, there is a lot you can do to recharge. We recommend you use this downtime to do something that isn’t medicine-related.  Perhaps you have been meaning to learn a new skill, catch up on a good book, binge on Netflix with friends, practice mindfulness, exercise, do yoga, try reflective writing or tantalize your tastebuds with different cuisines. Last but not the least, winter break is a great time to catch up on sleep! Afterall, research shows that medical students become so engrossed in their studies that they have lower sleep quality and are often sleep deprived. With no academic responsibility over the break, you should definitely rest and recuperate.

Prepare Ahead

While you are definitely enjoying your winter break to the fullest, perhaps you can find some time to realign your goals. Think about what you want to achieve in the next 3 months? Or in the next year? Or in the next 10 years? Is there a specialty you want to be in? What type of doctor do you want to be? How are to going to prepare for your USMLE? Additionally, it would be great to make new associations for memorizing, like mnemonics. While you will be learning new things in the upcoming semester, it is still wise to go over your notes and flashcards from the previous semesters and do a quick rerun, especially focusing on a past subject you struggled with.  Do practice tests. Unless there’s a topic you need to read in advance for class, you’ll remember more by enhancing your existing knowledge.

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