By: Brilee Jones
I remember sitting in the spouse and partner orientation thinking “I don’t think I can do another year of this. I don’t think my marriage will survive 4 years of medical school!” The reason I had these thoughts were because the MSBS program was demanding. My husband was under a lot of stress with trying to get the grades to get into medical school. We had a new baby in the middle of the year and were trying to navigate the adjustment of newborn life. And all I was thinking was “ Is medical school going to be just as stressful as MSBS?” Well I am here to tell you 1st year was much better for us and here is why.
Most people tell you this is going to be the hardest 4 years of your life and if you can just get through these 4 years, then you will be fine. I disagree. These 4 years can be the best of your life, you just got to change your perspective. You already know that your spouse will be studying a lot, that aspect of your/their life will not change. Your spouse has studied these subjects already, just not as in depth. You are prepared for what is to come. However, what did change was my spouse and my own perspective on studying. During the MSBS, grades were life or death in order to be competitive for acceptance into the COM program. Once in the COM program, he could focus on truly learning the material without the pressure of having to get good grades, which in turn helped him relax and do better on the tests.
For me, instead of nagging him for studying all the time, I would just live my life without him and if he could join me than I would enjoy every minute of it. I think this is the hardest thing to learn in medical school, but it will only help us as we continue on our medical journey. Don’t let your life stop just because your spouse is busy studying. As a stay at home mom, my life would be really boring if I just waited around for him to be done studying for the day. I would plan my day, inform him of those plans, and he would choose the things he could fit into his schedule. Which leads me to my next point: have a set schedule.
It is challenging for any year of student to find a balance between studying and family time. Some things that really helped us manage this was every week, usually on Sundays, we go through our schedules. I have a calendar in our kitchen with important dates on it. That way we both know big things coming up. I love knowing when his tests are going to be because it reminds me to be nicer to him the couple days leading to the test. This also helps us stay connected to each other’s lives. As a spouse, it is important to find your independence through medical school, however, staying connected is just as important. Schedule time together. Find things to look forward to. I remember I couldn’t wait for when he had tests on Fridays, because he would usually take the whole weekend off and focus on us as a family. You both are going to have to compromise things throughout the journey, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose yourselves as a couple.
Lastly, this is your journey too. Some days it will probably feel like you are going through the pressures of medical school with your husband. Find ways to decompress. My husband uses video games to decompress, and honestly it’s not my favorite but a hour of videos games helps him be happy. That, and when he gets to play golf. When the pressures of school get to me, venting to other medical spouses is a great coping method. I don’t know how I would survive without the support I receive from the other spouses, they are amazing. Get involved and go to the activities and I promise you, you will find friends throughout this journey. At RVU, we have the best spouses who are supportive and we have plenty of activities that will help you make new friends. Don’t worry, you will find your group and they will be essential to making this the best 4 years of your life. Congratulations and welcome to the RVU family!