Other students always love to point out that Oxford and Cambridge preclinical students have three eight week terms, which (in theory) equals twenty-eight weeks holiday! Not everyone gets quite such a generous entitlement. But wherever you study, the summer holidays during the early years of medical school are the longest you'll ever have before you retire or die (whichever comes first!).
Of course, it is important that some time is used for rest and to see family; many of you will need to earn some money during this time as well. Think carefully before you are tempted by a long lab project. Despite what others say, work done at this stage is unlikely to make a big difference to your CV; in the current job application system you get very little credit for such things. For a few who might plan an intercalated PhD and research career, lab may be the right place to spend the summer; but for most Christian students it is better spent learning and serving.
CMF has several options. Each year, a number of summer teams travel for 7-14 days. Some are involved in medical work, for instance, each summer a CMF medical school link helps with prison healthcare in the Phillippines. Previously a team has visited a refugee camp in Lebanon/Iraq, while other teams have gone to support Christian medical groups running conferences, or evangelistic summer camps for local students in Eastern Europe. Look out for our e-bulletins or our SVT webpage for opportunities: www.cmf.org.uk/international/short-term-vision-trips
Closer to home, we welcome impact volunteers to help in the CMF office; projects have included cataloguing previous CMF Files, or chasing up graduating students.
Still in the student world, CMF student links are welcome at UCCF's Forum in early September, attended by about 1000 CU leaders and UCCF staff from around the UK. UCCF also runs evangelistic summer teams.
Further afield, a number of agencies offer short-term mission trips during the summer. These need planning and can be costly, but can be a great chance to learn from those living and ministering in another culture.
Students are often a key part of the leadership team of many summer camps for children and teenagers, being among the few people who can easily spare long periods in the summer.
Even though long trips abroad may be hard in the clinical years with less holiday time, it is still often possible to fit in a youth camp or vision trip with a bit of planning.
Alex Bunn is CMF Associate Head of Student Ministries and a GP in London
Find out more details about CMF summer events at: cmf.org.uk/international/short-term