Default image

On Being in a Long-Distance Relationship

Jordan P., M1

Long-distance relationships can be difficult, and when coupled with the stress of medical school, overwhelming. My long-distance relationship is a bit “easier” than most as my girlfriend lives in Jamaica (similar time zone to STL), is of a similar cultural background as myself (my parents are Jamaican), and is a doctor. Living in similar time zones makes communication easier for obvious reasons; however, communication is possible regardless of time zone disparity. Being in different time zones requires a bit more organization, creativity, and, of course, sacrifice. The start of medical school marked the first time I would live away from home. While excited to begin this journey, I was apprehensive about being unable to hang out with my family and friends. Sharing a similar cultural background with my girlfriend makes me feel closer to home and is an example of one of the little things that helps me get through the day. Additionally, since my girlfriend is in the same field, we can bond over both medical and non-medical topics of interest. She understands the time and effort it takes to be in a medical program, and as such we try to balance our busy schedules to make time for our relationship outside of medicine. I feel fortunate to have found someone who shares these aspects of my life. However, I believe that any long-distance relationship can work as long as you remember to communicate with and make time for each other despite the demands of medical school.

Default image

On Being Married

Karlee D., M1

My husband and I adopted a dog on August 3, got married COVID-style on August 7, and moved across the country to St. Louis on August 9. While life can be crazy (and life in medical school can be even crazier), having my best friend by my side makes it a lot easier. When I’m studying for an upcoming exam, it’s nice to have someone else I can count on to cook a healthy meal or do the laundry before I run out of socks. Not to mention, partners make great practice patients. 

Since moving to St. Louis, we have also had plenty of time to explore the city, go running in Forest Park, and enjoy each other’s company. While married students only comprise a small fraction of WUSM’s student body, many students are in long-term relationships, and the community is very welcoming to plus ones. My husband has made close friends in my class, and so far, we’re both loving life as newlyweds in Missouri.

Default image

On Being Single

Frances A.S., M1

Though it may seem like a lot of your peers are in serious relationships, there are plenty who are happily single! Being single in medical school is what you make of it. As anyone in our generation knows, there are plenty of dating apps around; and in a place with so many graduate and professional schools, there’s guaranteed to be a large dating pool of people. You may find a future partner on one of those apps, in your own class, or in one of your hobbies outside of school! Plus, your peers who have partners can make awesome wingpeople. And if you’re not actively looking for a partner, that’s great too! Medical school is all about finding your interests and passions, so being single can leave space and time for you to say yes to new opportunities and build relationships with your incredible new classmates.

Default image

On Being the Non-Med Student Partner of a Med Student

Jared T., Non-Med Student Partner

Being the partner of someone who is going through medical school has taught me a number of lessons and a few things about myself. First of all, I have started to understand just how strenuous the curriculum is for students. I had to learn to give her the space she needs every day to complete her strict study regimen (though my experience might differ from yours after the COVID “work from home” era is over). Next, I have learned to support her even though I cannot understand how difficult what she’s going through truly is. Sometimes that has been attempting to read some textbooks (that seem to be written in another language) and Anki cards out loud and sometimes it’s simply listening to her vent. Finally, I have learned that medical school can be incredibly overwhelming to spouses/partners, though in a different way than it is to the students. It’s important to be flexible and to understand that some plans might not always be able to come through because of the student’s responsibilities. Despite all of those things, I am incredibly proud to be along for the ride as she chases her dreams and climbs to unimaginable heights. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

Default image

On Dating Someone in Your Med School Class

Shannon C. & Evan L. , M1s

Congrats! You’re in now, which means you can start asking the real questions — what is dating in med school like? Well, as the randomly selected and sacrificial couple chosen to write the article “On Dating Someone in Your Med School Class,” we’re here to give you advice that we have absolutely no authority to give. Dating someone in med school is both very special and chaotic. On one hand, you save a lot of time explaining things to your partner because they are also navigating the wild journey that is medicine with you. On the other hand, sharing the same life experiences also means sharing the same daily schedule and friend circles for your first year, which can be a lot sometimes. That’s why it’s especially important to communicate intentionally and continue investing in other friendships and interests that you value outside of your relationship. We also recommend you make sure to spend quality time together that does not consist of takeout and watching lecture at 2x speed in the carrels. Go explore some cute date spots in St. Louis on the weekends (bonus points when you inevitably run into classmates)! All of that being said, the start of medical school is an exciting time filled with new experiences and amazing people so don’t get too stressed about dating. But if you are lucky enough to find that special someone in your class, you might also have the privilege of writing this article in the Dis-O Guide next year.

Default image

On Dating Someone Not in Med School (non-long distance)

Sabrina G., M1

In my opinion, dating someone outside of the medical school is great, although it does pose some extra challenges — albeit ones that are not impossible to work around. One of the biggest demands of med school is your rigorous and often inflexible academic schedule. On top of that, you will likely be making a lot of new friends during the beginning of your first year, and will want to dedicate a lot of time to socializing and attending events (hopefully more than we were able to!). The most important thing is to be open with your partner about your needs and responsibilities but reassure them that they are still a very important priority in your life. 

Since we do not live together, we purposefully set aside time in the week to spend quality time with each other. Partially due to this, I make a huge effort to plan my studying and practice good time management (which is something that I believe would benefit any med student, regardless of relationship status!). We check in regularly about expectations, and I warn him about upcoming exams or especially intense weeks. We also try to incorporate day-to-day activities into the time we spend together (like exercising, grocery shopping, cooking, etc.) so that we can see each other even when things are super busy. 

My partner is a great sounding board and gives a great perspective to the goings-on of my academics and medical journey. It is incredibly refreshing to have such a great support system in one person who knows you so well. Even if they don’t understand the intricacies of medical school and health care as much as you do, they will always have your back. Plus, it’s nice to have someone to practice your physical exam on!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is POV_On_Dating_Someone_Not_in_Med_School-790x1024.jpg

Sabrina and her partner, Chas, as he greets her after the White Coat Ceremony

Default image

On Having a Family

Austin H., M2

Medical school at WashU is amazing. The professors, students, and entire med school community are talented and kind. However, I always hurry home each day to hold my daughter and kiss my wife. Before getting married, I thought being a doctor would help lead to a happy life. After becoming a husband and father, I know doctoring is a great career, but still only a career. While in medical school, I prioritize family time, but I’ve learned that flexibility is key. On a typical school day, I make sure to feed my one year-old daughter breakfast before school. At school, I call my wife to say hi. After school, we eat dinner together and I don’t study again until the baby is put to bed (normally by 7:30 p.m.). Most nights, I don’t need to study and my wife and I will have friends over or watch Netflix. WashU and St. Louis are great places to have a family!

Austin with his wife, Ally, and his daughter, Penelope.