You know what’s hard? Relationships. Relationships are hardddddd. You know what’s even harder, dating someone in the medical field. Bruh! My boyfriend of over 5 1/2 years is a 4th year M.D. student. Which means that when he graduates, it only seems fit that I should be presented with an honorary medical doctorate.
But I digress.
Nonetheless, if I could give you one piece of advice it would be to familiarize yourself with the word ‘patience’. You’re going to need a whole lot of it lol
It’s interesting dating someone in medical school who is so driven and doing a million additional side projects. Here are a couple of things you should consider if you find yourself dating someone in medical school.
- Understand what their next 4 years will look like as a medical student (M1, M2, M3, & M4). Each year is going to vary, different dynamics and different responsibilities. Their third year is going to look very different than their first year. Get familiarized with terms like STEP 1 & 2, OSCE, Shelf Exam, match. You’re going to hear it often.
- Be ready for them to refer to everything using medical terminology as well as being their patient. Whenever you’re sick get ready for them to ask you a list of questions so they can make a diagnosis.
- Keep an open mind and be flexible.
- Dates will get cancelled, but be sure to set a future date.
- You will have to squeeze quality time during their 30 minute study breaks. Don’t set too high of an expectation for quality time during the final 3 weeks leading up to their STEP 1 exam. However, have something planned to do together for when the exam is over.
- While watching a movie, don’t be surprised if they fall asleep. Just take good movie notes and be ready to explain the movie to them when they eventually wake up.
- Be prepared for 3rd year (M3) when they start their clinical rotations. Personally, I believe that the OBGYN and Surgery rotations were the most strenuous on quality time.
- Communicate WELL and OFTEN. It’s going to be a long road and if you’re not expressing what you want and how you feel, your relationship is going to be challenging. So make sure you are constantly ‘checking in’ with each other.
- Learn that their STEP 1 exam takes precedence over everything lol The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) STEP 1 exam score is to a residency program, as your credit score is to getting a good loan offer. This is a crucial component in their residency application. Each medical specialty has an “average” STEP 1 score that residents who have previously matched to those programs usually have. This 8 hour exam brings on a load of stress to M2 students (M3s if they go to FIU), as you have about roughly 6 to 8 weeks to study for this crucial exam. Don’t feel bad if during those 6 weeks spending time together only involves you staring at your significant other as they are glued behind a computer, iPad, and First AID USMLE STEP 1 book.
- You may have to make a sandwich or a plate of diri for them. They may forget to eat sometimes, so you may have to bring them lunch or dinner every now and then. Or make a Publix run for them.
- Find similar interests and do it together. So Stevenson and I are Haitian. I have a strong sensitivity for Haiti and Stevenson has an even stronger connection to Haiti because he spent roughly half his life growing up in Haiti. Therefore, when Stevenson, Dany, and Sam founded KORE Haiti, Inc. I was more than happy to get on board with moving the organization’s mission forward. So our common interest is serving the Haitian community (fun, right?).
- Encourage and support them in hobbies outside of medicine. Stevenson has always had a passion for soccer so he joined the city league. And there I was, supporting him at his games, hoping he didn’t twist an ankle (he’s come close many times) lol
- Most importantly, do your own thing. Don’t get caught up in your significant other to the point that you can’t function without them.
What’s been pretty cool during this time is meeting some of Stevenson’s many classmates, especially Dany and Sam. It’s been wonderful seeing these young men grow in their journey of becoming physicians. Though Dany, Sam, and Stevenson are great or whatever the ladies supporting them are that much better lol
Chloe is out here stunting at the Miami Herald, Dominique is blazing through her Ph.D. in Nursing program, and I’m trying to put Haitians on the map. How did these future physicians get so lucky?! lol
“In front of all mediocre men are highly intelligent women dragging their behinds to success.” – Dany
Well we’ll touch base in another year or so…I’ll let you know what it is like to date a medical resident.
In the mean time, what comments, advice or questions do you have for individuals dating medical students? Share with us in the comment box.