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Finding the Positives as a Medical School Significant Other

By: Helen Udy

I think we can all attest to the fact that medical school is HARD. Our students put in a lot of work to make their dreams a reality. We, as their significant others, put in a lot of work to do everything that we can to support them in this journey. Finding positives throughout this medical school journey can be difficult but believe me when I say there is SO much good.

Community and Friendships

When my husband was accepted into medical school, I was legitimately scared I was never going to see him and that I was going to be so lonely. I am so glad that I was wrong about both of those things.

Since my husband started school, we have really tried to make sure that we have quality time together daily since we don’t have a large quantity of time together. Even though most of his day is spent studying on campus, he devotes a couple hours in the evening to come home and have dinner with me and our daughter and we always try to do some sort of activity that we all enjoy doing together. I look forward to this every single day. We talk about the good parts and bad parts of our day, we play with our daughter, and try to go on walks, as long as the weather permits. It is so good for both of us and helps us stay connected.

Being a medical school significant other comes with a built-in community to help us through this crazy journey. There is no one else in the world that can understand what it is like to be a medical school significant other than another medical school significant other. They understand when our students have to stay home and study instead of going to the pumpkin patch with friends. They understand the rigorous and demanding schedule of board study. They also understand all of the terminology and ins and outs of medical school, which can be extremely difficult to explain to someone outside of the med school world.

The people in this community can also turn into lifelong friends. The friends I have made throughout the last couple years have quickly become my best friends. We get together weekly for girls’ nights, playdates with our kids, and talk daily. These really are friends that I know I will keep in contact with for the rest of my life, and I owe it all to medical school.

The Declaration of Medical School Significant Other Independence

Medical school is synonymous with having very little free time. Our students aren’t always able to make it to family dinners, game nights with friends, a Saturday hike or sometimes even a family trip. Just because our students can’t go out and do things, does not mean that we can’t or shouldn’t still go. Being a medical school significant other comes with a lot of learning to be independent.

We also live in such a beautiful area with so much to explore in our own backyard! We don’t need to wait for our students to go out and experience it all! Learning to be independent and being okay with going out to do things on my own took a little while to get used to, but I am so glad that I have learned how to be independent in this way!

A Passion for Learning

Our students worked so hard in their undergrads (or master’s programs if they completed one) to get to this point. They most likely had to take some classes that they didn’t enjoy, but now that they are in medical school, they are learning about the things they love. One of my favorite things about this journey has been watching my husband light up every time he tells me about something exciting he learned that day. There is so much joy and passion in his face and in his voice, and if nothing else, that right there makes this journey worth it to me. They are learning how to become actual doctors, and if that isn’t the greatest thing, I’m not sure what is.

Even though being a medical school significant other comes with its challenges, there are so many positives. I have genuinely loved our medical school journey so far and am excited for what is to come.

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