Category Archives: Medical School Marriage

Life Has Hit Us: In a Good Way of Course

Eight months or something like that. Eight months since I last posted.

This feels like my journals from when I was 8 years old. I would make a commitment to write in my journal every day with entries such as “we played dodge ball today in P.E. (the rest of the page blank) or “we had art today (the rest of the page blank). I would write for two to three days, and then the next page would say, “it’s been a year again since I wrote, but I’m really going to do it this time. Today we played dodge ball” (the rest of the page blank). I really liked dodge ball apparently.

Well, I make no commitment to write every day at this point. Not even every week. Not even every month. But I will tell you what the Plants have been doing the last while.

We’ve been on an adventure called The First Year as Parents: Mixed with Teaching, Away Rotations, and Lots of Driving To See Each Other.

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There has been The Office, books, and family to keep me company; for Parker, medical school interviews, which means lots of flying and a new hospital every four weeks.  He is loving Pediatrics! Meanwhile, Elsie is loving her teachers at daycare and is growing at what seems like lightning speed.

There have been diapers and baby food and learning to crawl and first words (more like sounds), and right now, she is pulling up and I’d wager walking within a month.

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She loves bath time and swinging. She swung for an hour on Election day, even starting to nod off once she was sleepy. So stinking cute!

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Last night she exerted her independent streak already by only eating on the condition she be allowed to feed herself.  When I would bring the spoon of pumpkin (trying to be festive here…), she would clamp her mouth tight and furrow her brow. “Yogurt bites or bust, thank you very much.”

This reads like a Christmas card or letter, but no matter. I wanted to write (for catharsis) and say we’re here! Trucking along. Both of us are counting down to Christmas because for one, who doesn’t love Christmas? And two, life will normalize a little and we can go back to living in the same spot, taking out one of the crazy variables.

I am so grateful for family and for the opportunities God blesses us with. Sometimes when life seems this hectic, we have to take it one day at a time, sometimes even one hour at a time, simplifying as best we can and prioritizing what matters most.  God has been taking care of us. The last few months have shown us that we really are in His hands.  On Instagram, I saw a quote which said, “the Savior has promised angels are on our left and on our right to bear us up, and he always keeps his word” (Eyring). That has definitely been true for us. We have had living angels and probably others helping us along.

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Just two weeks until Thanksgiving! “Just keep swimming.”

XoXo,

The Plants

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Dear Medical School Students

Dear Medical School Students,

Hang in there.  I think it’d be safe to address this post to PA students, PT students, Dental students, Law students, Chiropractor students, and almost anyone in the graduate school realm as well; however, I can’t speak from experience in those areas. I can speak about medical school, not as a student myself, but as a spouse of a future doctor.  My message to you students, you tired and dedicated students, is to

Hang in there.

This too shall pass.  That is an oft quoted phrase, which many use as though it is a Bible verse (it’s not), but I still think it’s applicable to hard times, even when we choose to be a part of those times.  Medical school!

When I was little, my mom would take us hiking.  A LOT.  Back then I hated it or claimed I did. Hours of walking. No television.  No food.  (Who am I kidding?) There was food.  She bribed us with food the whole way.  “Just one more mile and you can have a snack.” Parenting 101: bribery works.  Well, aside from “you can have another snack in a mile,” she also loved reminding us to not worry about “getting to the end” and to enjoy the journey.  Much to her delight, one hike in Chimney Rock, the one we revisited recently, had a sign that read, “Don’t look forward to the end; enjoy the journey.” She reminded us of that quote for years! And while it is true, I think life is more complicated than that.

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Now, I’m going to do exactly the opposite of what I tell my students to do in their writing (argument writing). I always tell them to pick a side.  I’m not going to pick a side on this one because both sides are true and both sides need to be validated.

It is important to enjoy the journey.

BUT

It is also important and okay to look forward to the end.

Such as… the end of a medical school block might we say?

First year students (and spouses), I’m guessing that Neuroscience is feeling pretty tiring.  There’s irony in that while you are studying the processes of the brain, you’re wearing your own brain out.  I told Parker the other day that while studying for boards, I think reading other things like sports or news articles has to go out the window for the 8th block because the brain only has so much room for storing and retrieving information.  We need all that space and traffic for boards coming up in June.  (You all can correct me if I’m wrong below in the comments. If I’m wrong; I’d love to know.)

Second year students (and spouses), you’re almost there.  You are 6/7 of the way through normal (medical school normal) classes and then you can channel all your energy into board prep.  Now if you thought 4th Block burnout was bad, I’m guessing 7th block is bad x bad x worse x “could it be any worse?” (The burnout, not life itself). I want to remind you of a few things. And no I’m not going to say “you chose this” (So many people say that as though it will help. How is that helpful??).

My reminders:

  • You’ve done this before.
  • This is short-term.
  • Next year there will be a change of pace.
  • You’ll have a week to breathe somewhat more easily (if you can manage to forget that boards are around the corner; or at least pretend to forget).
  • You’re stronger than you think.
  • You have people supporting you.

That last one is not just for those students who have spouses or significant others.  So many people are rooting for you. Parker’s family reminded him today that they are praying for him; that’s grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, etc.  You get the picture.  I’m guessing that there is someone behind your medical dream as well.  Maybe a parent.  Maybe a sibling.  A friend. God. The vision of your future patients.  And even if all it boils down to is yourself, that’s important too.  You have worked so hard to get to this point in your life.  Don’t let yourself down now.  Hang in there.  You’re almost to a change.

The last mile is the hardest.

And this really is the last mile, academically.  I was thinking about this the other night.  There’s not much harder that you can do to yourself academically outside of going to medical school.  You have to do well in high school.  You have to make the grades in college.  And then you have to pass your classes in medical school.  Why is it a surprise that the hardest academic phase (anything graduate and above) is actually just that: hard? It’s tiring; it’s hard, AND you can do it.

So back to the argument.

Enjoy the journey in the sense that you are driven by the content you love.  Enjoy the journey in knowing that you are working hard towards realizing your dream of becoming a doctor (a dentist, a physical therapist, etc). Enjoy the journey of building stamina and endurance. Life will require that of you time and time again.

But also…

Look forward to the end.  It’s not bad to have milestones.  Own that you look forward to it.  Finish strong. Rotations will come. Residencies will follow. Fellowships will tempt you (power to you!). All of them will be hard too in other ways, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be counting down to April 3.  As a spouse, I know I am.

I am posting this on the SAA page in the hopes that anyone who may need a pick-me up can get it, but if you know of someone who may need to just hang in there, please share this with them.  You never know who needs it.

Love,

The wife of a 2nd year medical school student.

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P.S. 3rd and 4th year students, I didn’t mean to leave you out.  I just don’t have your experiences yet.  Maybe you can share them with us. 🙂 Any residents out there? Want to chime in with some silver linings and hope?