The summer before I started vet school, I decided to not work. I had started working when I was pretty young in high school and had never had a summer off since. Vet school probably wasn’t going to offer leisurely summers, and the life that follows certainly wouldn’t. So I was looking at no free summers until retirement (if that ever happens with my pile of student debt accumulating by the second). Anyway, I spent the summer traveling and spending time with friends and family before I headed off to Canada. I didn’t get a full-time job, but worked a few little side jobs for some pocket cash.
While I certainly enjoyed my down time and mental relaxation period, my bank account suffered tremendously. I started vet school with almost no savings — and that was not great. I ended up having to borrow money on my loans just to afford to live (plus thanks to my parents and boyfriend). My biggest advice is to make sure you have some funds saved up. I was jealous of my classmates who had taken a couple of years off after undergrad and worked. They had money to fall back on, so they could pay for living expenses, school expenses, and all the other little things that come up (which for me seem to be pet emergencies).
Now that it’s summer again, I was lucky enough to get a job while I’m home. It’s really nice to have paychecks coming in and a savings account developing. I’ll be able to take out only the loans I need for school and not have to worry about taking extra emergency money out of my high-interest loans, which ends up being more payments in the future.