As a part of the profile series on notable students at Macaulay, I recently sat down with Mariya Dvoretskaya.
JJ: What is your field of study? Has it changed over the course of your undergraduate years?
MD: I’m majoring in Psychology and I’m on the pre-med track. I’ve switched on and off with pre-med over the years but finally decided concretely last year (junior year) that it was what I definitely wanted to do. I also was originally doing the Behavioral Neuroscience concentration under Psychology but decided not to go through with it because of lack of time.
JJ: Why are you taking a gap year? Will it be after graduation and right before entry into grad school?
MD: Yes, it will be right after graduation and hopefully I’ll be entering medical school the year after I graduate. The gap year will give me time to apply to medical schools without simultaneously focusing on school and MCAT preparation. Also, I took some of the pre-med required classes a bit late so I couldn’t take the MCAT fast enough to avoid taking a gap year.
JJ: What do you plan to do with your gap year?
MD: I’m definitely going to look for a job before the gap year begins, hopefully one in research or a medical-related field. It would be great to have a chance to travel to, get the most out of a year that is completely mine.
JJ: What was the catalytic moment that made you firmly decide to take the year?
MD: The catalytic moment would have been the same one that made me decide I was definitely going to strive for medical school, since they went hand in hand. I know most people are against gap years because they add on an additional year to the education process but I think it will be beneficial to me to do something else for a little while, to experience some new things before jumping into the long road ahead.
JJ: Advice or thoughts for anyone thinking about taking a year off?
MD: If you are considering a gap year, don’t be afraid! There’s no harm in doing it, unless of course you take a gap year and then just sit on the couch all year. But as a means of changing up your surroundings and being productive in something other than school, it’s such a fantastic idea. You can explore your interests, maybe ones that do not align with your undergraduate major or your future career, and learn something new about yourself.