Welcome to the very first edition of my “Married to Med-school” series! When the idea to start this blog wiggled into my mind, my first thought was that I was not going to start this thing if I didn’t have something to offer others. (Hint as to why it took me soooo long to finally enter the blogging world!) Once Jeremy started medical school last year I began scouring the internet trying to find other wives in my situation…..apparently med-school wives live at the bottom of the ocean, and I don’t blame them!
Being the sole support system for a future physician is not for the feint of heart (FYI: Haley N. Jacobs does indeed have a feint heart), and it takes an unbelievable amount of work. Being a med-school wife is seriously the toughest job I have ever had to do. *Enter light-bulb illuminating my brain* If I am finding this life to be trying–to say the least–at times, I’m sure other wives and fiances and girlfriends are going through the same. So I hope that through these posts and through this blog I can create a sort of support system for other wives in similar circumstances.
For those of you that don’t know, my husband, Jeremy, is right in the middle of his 2nd year of med-school at Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson City, TN. At the close of this year he will be taking the biggest test of his life…a test that will change our lives forever. This test will determine what specialty that he can match into (what type of doctor he can be) and where we will be spending the 3+ years for residency/fellowship following med-school. Holy pressure, right? This means that for 15-17 hours everyday he is in class, studying for classes, or studying for Step 1. If you’re doing the math, that only leaves 7 hours left in the day, and 0 of those are allocated to date night. So how do we get through it? With a whole lotta tears! (Ha! Kidding…mostly.) The following 6 bits of advice are a few things that make this time more tolerable.
- Lower your expectations
This sounds bad, but honestly it’s so important. First year may have seemed tough, but it’s nothing compared to second year. At the close of these 9 months, your husband/fiancé/boyfriend’s knowledge and test taking ability will determine the next season of your lives. Hello massive amounts of stress and massive amounts of studying! This means even less time to spend together…if you can even imagine that. The sooner you realize this and accept it, the better things will go. Stop comparing this year to last. It’s a different world now, and you must adjust.
- Schedule things to look forward to
As a med-school couple, date nights are already few and far between. In second year, that’s taken to a whole new level. It can be hard to remember that there is, in fact, a light at the end of the tunnel. Something that helps Jeremy and I (mostly me, because let’s be real, all he notices at this point are Step 1 books and Pharmacology notes….but if I had a gnarly tumor, oh man I’d get all the attention!) is to schedule a special weekend or day trip that we can look forward to. We might plan to visit some of our out of town friends for the weekend or to go out to a nice restaurant that we wouldn’t normally eat at. By scheduling these special times, it gives us both something to set our focus on when we feel like we can’t possibly make it through another day of this med-school life.
- Take notice of small moments
This is quite possibly the most important item on this list and the one that I struggle with the most. With so little time to spend with one another, it is essential for our marriage to truly appreciate those small, seemingly insignificant moments that we get to spend together. And when I say small and insignificant, I mean it! We’re talking cooking a meal together, watching a show together, or even just getting a moment to laugh together. When I get frustrated with the trials that I am faced with daily as a wife of a future physician, I try to turn my focus to all of those little moments. It does my heart a world of good.
- Stop comparing yourselves to other couples
Seriously, how stinkin’ hard is this?! Here you are sitting alone in the living room of your apartment, folding your 5th load of laundry, and binge watching the episodes of The Bachelor that you’ve missed, while your other married friends are out buying houses, and going on trips, and doing all of these things that you wish you could do with your husband. How can you not compare the two?! Just don’t. Stop it right now. You’re torturing yourself.
.Your husband is training to save lives! Do you realize that? He will one day hold human lives in his hands. How blessed are you to be standing beside a man that has the determination to walk that path? Just stop and think about that for a moment. It takes such a selfless person to put themselves through the stress and the mountain of work just to simply help others, and you’re married to that person! So suck it up, be patient, and be thankful! Great things are to come!
- Realize that most people don’t understand
I know what you’re thinking, “Is there anything on this list that’s easy to do?” My answer to that would be “No, no there is not.” That’s because this situation is not easy. It’s hard, really hard, and people don’t understand that. Sometimes, when this life gets to be a bit too much to handle, it’s nice to vent to a friend, sibling or parent. This gets sort of sticky, because, most of the time, the people closest to us are on the outside looking in. Sometimes, they can see a man who cares more about his career than about you. What they don’t see is a man who values your opinion and wants you to have everything that you dream of. Sometimes, they see you alone on a Friday night. What they don’t see is a man working so hard to achieve something so special and so beneficial to your lives. So, my advice to you is this: be careful when taking advice from those that don’t understand. They only see half of the picture.
- Pray for peace & patience
Remember when I said that noticing small moments was the most important item on the list? Yeah, I lied. This is actually the most important. There’s not much to say about this one. Just read these verses, keep the prayers flowing, and you will be heard.
” And so it was that he, having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained what God had promised.” Hebrews 6:15
“My peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27