That’s me. At one time, my partner Megan worked for Luther Seminary in St. Paul, during which time she began a support blog for the spouses of seminary students in the distance learning program she coordinated. So surely it’s only fair for me now to reflect on being a med school spouse. My advice in a sentence: be flexible, and remember it’s not really about you.
Ten things on being married to a med school student:
- It ain’t cheap. Yes, you know this, but you perhaps forgot about the be-gillions of costs above tuition — books, scalpels, a PDA, tests, a stethoscope, etc. (that Fisher Price set just doesn’t cut it anymore.)
- You’re a natural guinea pig. Every eight weeks, I pretend to be a standardized patient. This is cool, except when your spouse uses the largest hole thingy to look in your ear and nose (didn’t happen to me, but a friend. He screamed. She was supposed to use the smaller one.)
- Get ready to cook a lot. Again, not just my experience but shared by the other spouses. I cook most meals for us, which I really enjoy. It’s a gift to provide nourishment for those gray cells.
- Your schedule is determined by the testing schedule. Before Megan started, I had heard stories of spouses taking vacation by themselves in the week before their partner’s exams. I thought this was over the top, until I experienced the whole-household stress of pre-exam week. Multiple-day meetings away never looked so good.
- It’s totally cool seeing your spouse thrive. Well, at least that’s the case for me. Megan loves learning, and I love seeing her happy.
- You’re the connection to the outside world. I’ve always been the newsy one in the family, but that’s increased ten-fold since med school. Med students study a ton, and that’s about it (well, they try to sleep a bit, at least). Heck, even the curriculum at UND couldn’t accommodate a discussion on health care reform when it passed.
- Ice cream, cookies, and surprise coffee deliveries are a bonus for everyone.
- In med school hangouts, most conversation goes over your head. Embrace it: this presents a great opportunity for cheesy jokes and puns.
- It takes a while to benefit from your spouse knowing all things medical (apparently, they must not learn all things medical until year three or so). The joke, “you’re in medical school, can you look at this _________” gets old. But, yes, it’s still fun 🙂
- Make your dates and rituals to incorporate studying. For example, most Thursdays late afternoon finds us in Starbucks together — Megan studying, me writing. Saturday morning bakery runs are a fun date as long as you read the paper and your spouse reads lecture notes. That’s life these days. It’s fun. Be flexible.
image by sanja gjenero