“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skin in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson

Spontaneous is not the first adjective that my friends would use to describe me. I toe the line between fun-loving and responsible; spontaneity falls outside of my comfort zone. I have known this about myself for a long time and I don’t think these attributes are necessarily bad, but this quote has been making its way back to me a lot this week.

Yesterday I woke up at 7AM and reworked my resume. Before, I had a plain, one-page resume, with Times New Roman size 10 font (it’s actually not difficult to read) which details a few work-related experiences from high school in addition to my college experience. Of course, I cut out most of my extracurricular activities (Princeton Premedical Society and Her Campus Princeton) for my abbreviated/creative resume. When I looked over my work-related experiences from tenth grade until now, I realized how much time (and free time) I dedicated to preparation for what comes next. As an eleventh grader, I was the social media campaign head for a new company. I spent my free time writing newsletter, tweeting, writing articles, conducting market research, and connecting the CEO with like-minded corporations. That’s strange. It was a great opportunity and I greatly enhanced my skill set, but the truth of the matter is that: I haven’t taken a summer off (entirely) since the summer after sixth grade and I think that’s incredibly unhealthy.

This is of course not unique to me. Princeton is a Mecca for students who are like-minded and equally driven. We have been legitimately thinking about our futures (in some cases, careers) since we were children. It’s unsurprising that many Princeton students (and individuals at similar universities) face more than their fair share of mental health ailments. What I think is unique to Princeton is that we never truly have an opportunity to breathe. Fall break is used to study for first semester midterms. Winter break is used to study for first semester finals (I know, it’s ridiculous!).  Spring break is used to study for second semester midterms. The summer, as expected, is taken up by research, jobs, or related academic tasks. There is one legitimate break: Intercession. One week between the two semesters. Many people use this week to buy school supplies and textbooks for the upcoming semester. Some, disappointed with or motivated by with the previous semester, begin to study for the upcoming semester.

This year, I had a medical school interview on the first day of Intercession. For the rest of this week, I have signed up for a thesis bootcamp. The boot camp is setup in such a fashion that 9:00-12:30 we work on our theses. Breakfast is provided. Lunch is provided. After we have lunch we have a debrief in which we talk about difficulties we are facing with our theses and how we have worked through them. Largely, the debrief is a bragging session. I won’t lie, I do some work on my thesis outside of the bootcamp just so I can sound productive during debrief. So yes, I have been extremely productive this week but I almost did not sign up for the bootcamp and then I did. Chalk it up to Princeton pressure or even the fact that I don’t really know how to be unproductive anymore. I realized that over winter break when I felt anxious that I had taken a week off from studying.

I will give myself props for not attending the optional bootcamp sessions  (2-6PM).

At most of my medical school interviews, I have had the opportunity to chat with M1s, M2s, M3s, and M4s. Although the students are extremely busy, they seem to have an excellent work hard / play hard balance. They often describe spontaneous trips and things of that nature and I envy their ability to relax unashamedly. I think I used to be able to do that and I think that is what I want to do this summer. I want to read the books on my to-read list. I want to stumble across new and interesting indie-bands. I want to go to a concert. I want to explore something or someplace new. I don’t want to think about my career because this summer is the last one that legitimately belongs to me. I want to de-stress and I think it’s really important for me to do so.

Okay, so I mentioned my creative/abbreviated resume and I think it looks pretty cool. I used a minimalist template that I reworked slightly but I hope, in the future, to design something entirely new.

If you are currently on the job market or have a need for a resume, I strongly recommend going the creative route. Offices are bombard by resumes and a splash of color or a unique template are extremely eye-catching. As long as the resume still looks professional, I don’t think it is problematic to deviate from the standard format. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, go for it! It’s great for networking purposes and it serves as a digital copy of your resume. I know that I heavily depended on my LinkedIn account to complete the AMCAS last summer.

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