I remember starting fourth year and thinking “well when do things start getting easier?” because as a fourth year you still have to take standardized exams but this time there are only two and one of them is not so bad.
So, I started the year by having to study a lot and still have rotations to go to and my life felt harder than it was during third year. This may be similar to you seniors in undergrad with all those applications and secondary essays to fill out for medical school. It is the summer before senior year and you are wondering when you are allowed to let senioritis kick in but you still have so much left to do before senioritis can even be a thought in your head. That is exactly how I felt during the beginning of my fourth year, overwhelmed and wondering when I could take a break. In the midst of taking those exams and doing rotations, I also had to worry about filling out applications because for fourth year medical students these applications are due starting September 15 so a bit earlier than all the AMCAS stuff.
After I submitted my application, I still felt like I could not breathe because I was in the middle of rotations and anxiously waiting for interview offers. Once interview offers started trickling in during September and early October I felt better and thought well at least I have a shot at Residency because someone is offering me an interview. I scheduled my interviews from October – January in order to try and spread them out a little so I would not get burned out. But it was a pretty awesome experience to go to different cities, learn about Residency programs, and get fed by the Residency programs.
A lot of the Residency programs have dinners or happy hour’s the evening before, breakfast in the morning, and lunch in the afternoon so you are well fed during your interview experience. For me, if I am well fed I am a pretty happy camper. Many people got tired of interviewing since we interview sometimes at 10+ places and it can get tiring to have to wake up early and the anxiety of interviews can be draining. You are probably thinking “when does fourth year get easy then?” The second half of fourth year after January gets a lot easier because you only have rotations to focus on but most people will save their vacation time and take a bunch of vacations which is what I plan to do. Granted, I already did a rotation in Ecuador in November but there is still more time to do other exciting things. The only thing that would really limit you is money because you do spend a lot on interviews so you may not be limited by time but rather money.
The latter half of fourth year is pretty much yours to do whatever you wish to do and unlike senior year in undergrad where you still have to take classes, as a fourth year medical student you can save all of your vacation time to the end of fourth year and live large!