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Divine Furor

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So I've accepted/committed to Wright State Boonshoft in the fall of 2007, and I'm currently in an 8 month relationship that admittedly, moved faster than I thought it would....she's been here with me through the whole application process. Now, getting ready to go look at apartments/relocate my life/etc....I feel increasingly conflicted about our plan to go out to Dayton together. She's 7 years my junior, hardly independent, and while I love her I'm scared that I'll compromise my experience in medical school....or wind up hurting her more when I can't give as much to the relationship as I might want. Has anyone ever been through this? I can't seem to continue to want BOTH a girlfriend and medical school, and I want medical school. Advice, insight, if you can...
 

Labslave

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So I've accepted/committed to Wright State Boonshoft in the fall of 2007, and I'm currently in an 8 month relationship that admittedly, moved faster than I thought it would....she's been here with me through the whole application process. Now, getting ready to go look at apartments/relocate my life/etc....I feel increasingly conflicted about our plan to go out to Dayton together. She's 7 years my junior, hardly independent, and while I love her I'm scared that I'll compromise my experience in medical school....or wind up hurting her more when I can't give as much to the relationship as I might want. Has anyone ever been through this? I can't seem to continue to want BOTH a girlfriend and medical school, and I want medical school. Advice, insight, if you can...

Seriously, people exaggerate when it comes to the amount of time you'll be dedicating to medical school, especially here on SDN. Sure, you'll probably end up studying three or so hours a day, and that number will increase during exam weeks, but you really can treat medical school like a 9-5 job if you want during the first two years (this does to some extent depend upon your medical school - if you're in class eight hours a day...well...it might be a little more difficult). By this I mean that if you have about five hours of class/day, you can just stay at school after everything's done, finish up your studying for the day, and return to your beloved girlfriend in the evenings.

Don't be intimidated by the amount of studying everyone says you'll be doing. I know absolutely nobody in my medical school that studies more than four hours per day outside of class. Almost everyone has time to pursue ECs, hang out with friends/peers/significant others, and pretty much do whatever they want with a decent amount of free time. This changes by third year, but at this point that's too far ahead in your future to even worry about. It may take you a little while to get in your studying groove and be efficient, but it will happen within the first few months. Best of luck!
 

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I appreciate the earnest response. I wish I could stop myself from freaking out, but I seem to be floundering. I need to find a way to trust that I'm more than competent to handle both. My girlfriend seems to think so...it's just so unknown.
 
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I have to disagree with the post above re: how much time you spend. Even when I was slacking and doing poorly (but still passing) I put in ~10 hrs/day during the week and at least 5/day on the weekends. Once I decided to change the way I approached medical school I started putting in ~12 or so on the weekdays and 8-10 on the weekends (less if I'm not close to a test).

I once saw a post on here about a professor who said to the 1st year class at his school that they could either be in a high maintenance relationship OR go to medical school, but not both. This is VERY true in my personal experience.
 

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Agree with Labslave, if you treat the first two years like an 8-5 job you'll have no problem surviving (and probably do quite well). It does take discipline, but if you approach your studying in an intelligent, efficient manner your life will actually be quite easy. Also, don't feel bad about completely skipping lecture if you find it doesn't help you. Abandoning class was the best move I made in med school... I'm still irritated with myself for not doing it sooner.
 

Labslave

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I have to disagree with the post above re: how much time you spend. Even when I was slacking and doing poorly (but still passing) I put in ~10 hrs/day during the week and at least 5/day on the weekends. Once I decided to change the way I approached medical school I started putting in ~12 or so on the weekdays and 8-10 on the weekends (less if I'm not close to a test).

I once saw a post on here about a professor who said to the 1st year class at his school that they could either be in a high maintenance relationship OR go to medical school, but not both. This is VERY true in my personal experience.

With all due respect, it seems to me that you didn't know how to study efficiently before coming to med school and apparently still don't. Nobody can really study 12 hrs./day outside of class. Suicide rates of medical students would be 10x what they are if it were the case that everyone studied that much. If you're saying that you put a total of 12 hours per day into all med school-related activities (includes studying AND going to class), I might be able to buy that if you are a relatively slow learner. Otherwise, you're not really studying throughout all of those twelve hours or are just lying.

OP: When I say that I study 3-4 hrs./day outside of class, I mean that I'm really studying for that amount of time. I'm not taking 15 min. email breaks. I'm not talking to classmates every five minutes. I'm not thinking about studying. I'm studying. If you're truly efficient with your time (which is really just a matter of forcing yourself to study for larger blocks of time with maybe a ten minute break every hour), there's no way you'll be studying 12 hrs./day during non-exam weeks. I promise. I have studied 12 hours in one day before, but that was only due to the fact that I was cramming (not a successful strategy in medical school).
 

Labslave

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Agree with Labslave, if you treat the first two years like an 8-5 job you'll have no problem surviving (and probably do quite well). It does take discipline, but if you approach your studying in an intelligent, efficient manner your life will actually be quite easy. Also, don't feel bad about completely skipping lecture if you find it doesn't help you. Abandoning class was the best move I made in med school... I'm still irritated with myself for not doing it sooner.

Agreed. Going to class is nothing more than a social outing. It's an incredibly inefficient way to learn.
 

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I appreciate how this is tending in a hilarious direction. Labslave, thank you for diligently calming my nerves.
 

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i agree with labslave about the amt of study time needed. Honestly if you put in a good 3-5 hours of studying a day you can easily keep up. This doesnt include class and is really dependent on the class you are taking. I struggled during anatomy so I prolly studied 5-6 hours a day then.

I have been in a relationship now for 2 and a half years. It is much, much more difficult than it was in college. Even though there is not a terrible amt of work, there is a decent amt of stress which will take its toll on your relationship. Relationships are definately do-able in med school but they are much harder. Go in knowing this and you should be fine.
 

SoCuteMD

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With all due respect, it seems to me that you didn't know how to study efficiently before coming to med school and apparently still don't. Nobody can really study 12 hrs./day outside of class. Suicide rates of medical students would be 10x what they are if it were the case that everyone studied that much. If you're saying that you put a total of 12 hours per day into all med school-related activities (includes studying AND going to class), I might be able to buy that if you are a relatively slow learner. Otherwise, you're not really studying throughout all of those twelve hours or are just lying.

OP: When I say that I study 3-4 hrs./day outside of class, I mean that I'm really studying for that amount of time. I'm not taking 15 min. email breaks. I'm not talking to classmates every five minutes. I'm not thinking about studying. I'm studying. If you're truly efficient with your time (which is really just a matter of forcing yourself to study for larger blocks of time with maybe a ten minute break every hour), there's no way you'll be studying 12 hrs./day during non-exam weeks. I promise. I have studied 12 hours in one day before, but that was only due to the fact that I was cramming (not a successful strategy in medical school).

Ok, to be fair when I give those amounts of time I am also including required labs and bs required attendance classes and all my time at school (at least an hour of which is dedicated to eating). Required stuff usually amounts to about 4 hours a day, so that with an hour of eating leaves about 7 hours. Subtract another hour for moving between locations (lab to library, library to lab), snack breaks, and short conversations during the day with family/important friends. That leaves 6 hours and I am certain that I study that much in any given day. As for the weekends, I find I am slightly less productive, but I do spend at least 8 hours/day MOST weekends studying. Midway through any block that becomes more like 10, with the same time for eating and probably less time for being social.

With all that said, my grades reflect my time spent studying. EVERYONE I know at school who does as well or better than I do puts in a similar amount of time as far as I can tell.

I have a few classmates who have families and one who has two young children. She and I have talked at length about how she manages it, and even she puts in ~10 hours/day on weekdays and less on weekends. I've seen her in the library and around campus, and when she is studying she is clearly STUDYING - not checking e-mail, text messages, or thinking about studying.

With all that said, every school is different. My impression is that my school is far more intense than most, but I felt it relevant to share my experiences.
 

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I once saw a post on here about a professor who said to the 1st year class at his school that they could either be in a high maintenance relationship OR go to medical school, but not both. This is VERY true in my personal experience.

IMHO, that's absolutely ridiculous. If anything, a strong relationship makes medical school easier although yes, you won't have too much time for a lot besides school and the relationship. If by high-maintenance, he means having a partner that expects phone calls throughout the day and someone who will be home at 5pm every day sharp with dinner on the table, well, yeah, that's not realistic. But please, don't throw away a good relationship just because you're worried about med school. Give it a try--most (not all) relationships seem to do fine.
 

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Back to the OP:

the amount of time you spend studying will be variable and only you can judge how efficient you are/will be.

Most concerning to me is your statement that your SO is "hardly independent." She is contemplating giving up her life and moving with you to a new city, where she knows no one and has no social or professional outlet.

Will she go to school there as well or get a job? Having seen a friend do the exact same thing with residency (moved his wife across country where she knew no one and her inherent clingy tendencies got even worse when he was never home and she was lonely), its risky, especially with a new relationship and with a young partner.

I am not suggesting that you break up or that she not come with you. But she needs to realize that you will be busy (whether its 8 hrs a day, 23 hrs a day...whatever) and that she needs to develop a life outside of you. Heck, she needs to do that anyway. I would have her come with me only if she was enrolled full-time in school or had a full time job that she loves (ie, it will do neither of you any good if she's bored folding t-shirts at The Gap). You don't want to spend time worrying about her loneliness and relying on you as her only social outlet, while you are trying to do well in school.

Just my thoughts....
 
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Don't be intimidated by the amount of studying everyone says you'll be doing. I know absolutely nobody in my medical school that studies more than four hours per day outside of class. Almost everyone has time to pursue ECs, hang out with friends/peers/significant others, and pretty much do whatever they want with a decent amount of free time. This changes by third year, but at this point that's too far ahead in your future to even worry about. It may take you a little while to get in your studying groove and be efficient, but it will happen within the first few months. Best of luck!

Actually, this kind of changes by 2nd year, too. If your school is like a lot of schools, the amount of material really ramps up in the 2nd half of 2nd year. Suddenly, there are more lectures per day, and the amount of minutiae is much more than you've had previously. Plus, there are more physical diagnosis sessions, clinical skills sessions, grand rounds, preceptor visits (which now involve writing up an H and P), etc. Your ECs will probably take up more of your time because you're taking on more of a leadership role, too. A lot of it depends on your school's curriculum, though. It's doable, but tough.

Plus, if your relationship survives the first 2 years, you'll probably have to put in significant (ALONE) intense study time to get past Step 1. If your girlfriend is as dependent as you say she is, that's going to be a tough situation.

I agree with Kimberli Cox - if your girlfriend doesn't have her own life to keep her occupied during much of the day, it's going to be a very difficult ride. The relationships in med school that seem to do the best is when both people are equally busy and have a full life on their own.
 

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IMHO, that's absolutely ridiculous. If anything, a strong relationship makes medical school easier although yes, you won't have too much time for a lot besides school and the relationship. If by high-maintenance, he means having a partner that expects phone calls throughout the day and someone who will be home at 5pm every day sharp with dinner on the table, well, yeah, that's not realistic. But please, don't throw away a good relationship just because you're worried about med school. Give it a try--most (not all) relationships seem to do fine.

Dude, I said "high-maintenance" for a reason. High maintenance and med school are pretty much incompatible. I think that a healthy, strong relationship will thrive in medical school and that it can make med school a better experience and that medical school will actually do some good for a relationship.
 

Divine Furor

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To K Cox,

Since you're in Jersey, I can be a little more specific. She's born and raised in Montclair, went directly to Rider U in Lawrenceville directly after HS, and is about to graduate with a BA in Sociology. She wants to get a job before going to graduate school in a year, potentially at OSU or WSU. The thing that's getting me is the age gap, the experience gap (I'm almost 28), and the needling fear that no, she doesn't have any friends outside of our relationship really and doesn't often demonstrate a "willingness" to pursue independent activities. I.e., she's most happy about my acceptance into MS because it means she doesn't have to plan her own future, she can just come with me and hopefully get a job in Dayton. I grew up in Dayton; it's not a hopping joint compared to East Coast life...and salary/job opportunity is much slimmer.

I think what this boils down to is I'm beginning to actively NOT want her to come. When I think about it, I feel burdened. And I hate how selfish that seems...but come on! It's MS! I've worked years to get it! Gahhh...
 

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If you want the relationship to work, it is perfectly feasible during medical school.

It appears that you aren't crazy about making it work though. MS is a good excuse... *cease conjecture
 

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I met my fiance the first weekend I was in medical school. We started dating, became serious the spring semester of my 1st year, and now I'm about to graduate, and we're getting married in December.

Along the way you make sacrifices on both ends. Give up relationship time to study, and you give up study time to be with her. If you really want it to work, you find a way. There will be times when it's worse (Step 1, certain rotations) in terms of commitment to med school, and time when it's better. However, the bottom line is that it is all doable.

If you really love someone and want them in your life, then you find a way to make it happen during medical school. It sounds like you're not having issues with being able to balance med school and a g/f but instead if you want this girl in your life or not. You definitely need to investigate that issue a whole lot more.
 

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To K Cox,

Since you're in Jersey, I can be a little more specific. She's born and raised in Montclair, went directly to Rider U in Lawrenceville directly after HS, and is about to graduate with a BA in Sociology. She wants to get a job before going to graduate school in a year, potentially at OSU or WSU. The thing that's getting me is the age gap, the experience gap (I'm almost 28), and the needling fear that no, she doesn't have any friends outside of our relationship really and doesn't often demonstrate a "willingness" to pursue independent activities. I.e., she's most happy about my acceptance into MS because it means she doesn't have to plan her own future, she can just come with me and hopefully get a job in Dayton. I grew up in Dayton; it's not a hopping joint compared to East Coast life...and salary/job opportunity is much slimmer.

I think what this boils down to is I'm beginning to actively NOT want her to come. When I think about it, I feel burdened. And I hate how selfish that seems...but come on! It's MS! I've worked years to get it! Gahhh...

Wow. That pretty much says it all. This relationship isn't going to last no matter how much she wants it to, since you've seemed to pretty much have made up your mind, which at this point (before moving her half way across the country) is a very good thing. Both of you need to find your own direction in life...you seem to have found yours, and honestly, the most gracious thing you can do is let her go to start finding her own. It will be pretty painful at first, but since bringing this relationship with you is making you feel all oogie,(and you have every right to feel excited and NOT selfish and oogie about starting unencumbered on your new path) break off the relationship, the sooner the better. That's what's most fair to you, and also being honest and cleanly and quickly cutting it off as soon as possible is also what's most fair to the young lady involved. I've been where she is, and believe me, we BOTH wish one of us had ended it before the whole thing got entirely out of hand. Resentment, blame and anger is probably not what you will want to remember from this relationship, but that's exactly where its heading if you both move to Ohio at this point.
 

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Wow...your more recent post really tells quite a story and provides the ending, doesn't it. It should have been apparent in your first post with the note about how the relationship was moving faster than you thought it would and her lack of independence.

I don't have much more to add that isn't written in the above post. If after further thought on the subject, you still feel that she is too young for you (7 years is not a lot, but its a BIG difference in your 20s), too dependent and unwilling to make a life for herself outside of you and the relationship, it sounds to me like the relationship is problematic REGARDLESS of whether or not you go to medical school.
 

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There are plenty of people in my class who are married with kids.

It comes down to whether you truly love her. If the answer is yes, then you can work it out and will not lose anything. If anything, you might even be better off if she is warned in advance about the time commitment- she might be able to make your life easier (i.e., doing the food shopping and setting up your house).

However, if this is not what you want, you might need to be explicit with you girlfriend. She might assume that it would be the perfect arrangement for you and part of that assumption might be because she is younger than you.
 

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If you want the relationship to work, it is perfectly feasible during medical school.

It appears that you aren't crazy about making it work though. MS is a good excuse... *cease conjecture

I absolutly agree with this post. If you want it to work it will work do not stay with person if it makes u feel bad to leave her because u feel that u owed her something because she was very supportive. If you have doubts now it will not work.
 
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Agree with Labslave, if you treat the first two years like an 8-5 job you'll have no problem surviving (and probably do quite well).

LOL - you agree with him and yet you upped the hours. Actually for many people who do the "treat it like a job" schedule, it can be more like 7-6, and you don't get weekends totally off. Weekends will be the hardest for OP's girlfriend to deal with, because most med students spend a good part of most weekends in the books -- those are the only days when you get no new info, and can actually "review". So it's NOTHING like a 40 hr/wk job. It can be very similar hours to a 60 hr/wk job.

As for "doing quite well", the truth is, half of every med school class is going to be in the bottom half, and there is less of a correlation to the number of hours logged as there is to the quality of those hours, as well as inherent ability in memorizing huge amounts of info. (And FWIW, the terminally unentangled singles in the class are the ones who will be closing the library every night -- treating it like a job won't put you toward the top in terms of hours logged).
 

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....for everyone's analysis and commentary. You're all right, I think, and yet I think I hadn't wanted to consider that the relationship itself might be the cause of most of my distress, as opposed to throwing it in the light of medical school...about which I'm nervous but terribly excited. Shoo, that was long-winded. Anyway, I look forward to having all of you as colleagues of a kind. Your insight was much appreciated.
 

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LOL - you agree with him and yet you upped the hours.

I definitely meant for the 9-5 part to be interpreted in a relative, not absolute, way. I should have also specified that I put about the same effort into studying on the weekends as I do during the week, which ups the number of total hours spent studying.

In any event, it's apparent that the OP's real problem wouldn't be absolute time commitment but the nature of his current relationship. Two hours of studying a week outside of class might be too much for people with truly unstable relationships.
 

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So I've accepted/committed to Wright State Boonshoft in the fall of 2007, and I'm currently in an 8 month relationship that admittedly, moved faster than I thought it would....she's been here with me through the whole application process. Now, getting ready to go look at apartments/relocate my life/etc....I feel increasingly conflicted about our plan to go out to Dayton together. She's 7 years my junior, hardly independent, and while I love her I'm scared that I'll compromise my experience in medical school....or wind up hurting her more when I can't give as much to the relationship as I might want. Has anyone ever been through this? I can't seem to continue to want BOTH a girlfriend and medical school, and I want medical school. Advice, insight, if you can...

It'll be key for her to have her own interests and to be relatively independent. Because, the fact is, you won't be able to "entertain" her 24/7. You have work to do, and she'll need to understand that, and support that. So, hopefully, she's not the type that is too needy.

Otherwise, it's totally doable. Sure, you need to be careful with the decisions you make, but sometimes you just need to say WTF. Listen to your gut. If you think this is one worth hanging on to, have a chat with her. But, it's imperative that she not be the type that will be sitting around at home all day waiting for you to get home (sounds nice, but it won't be good). On the flip side, if she's an adventurous chick with interests and motivations of her own, then it's very doable. She'll adapt and find meaningful things to keep her occupied. You'll be living together, so perhaps plan in some together time (aside from bed time and associated activities). It's completely doable. Just make sure you listen to your gut and that there are no red flags. Good luck.
 

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I agree with Kimberli Cox - if your girlfriend doesn't have her own life to keep her occupied during much of the day, it's going to be a very difficult ride. The relationships in med school that seem to do the best is when both people are equally busy and have a full life on their own.

I'm married with kids and not in medical school yet, but I had an intense job in the past (lots of travel, long weeks, etc.) and the above statement makes a great deal of sense to me. You need a low-maintenance partner, someone who loves to have you around, but also has her own life and activities (who also is busy). There is no way this relationship is going to work out in medical school unless it changes.

That being said, if you are her life, she will do whatever she needs to do. If she knows that if the only way this is going to work is if she understands that she might not see you very much for stretches at a time over the next 7 years and she's cool with that, then you might have a keeper. Who knows, maybe in a few years you all will get married, she will have job to keep her busy and later have a few kids that will consume her time. It can work if the commitment level is there. That being said, I question your commitment based on your statement. I get the impression that she should have more concerns with you than you with her, but don't beat me up about this; you might just be saying things in a way that don't accurately represent your attitude, feelings, and motivations.

As far as the age thing ... I'm not sure why this is such a fixation. That might be a good thing??
 

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I'm married with kids and not in medical school yet, but I had an intense job in the past (lots of travel, long weeks, etc.) and the above statement makes a great deal of sense to me. You need a low-maintenance partner, someone who loves to have you around, but also has her own life and activities (who also is busy). There is no way this relationship is going to work out in medical school unless it changes.

That being said, if you are her life, she will do whatever she needs to do. If she knows that if the only way this is going to work is if she understands that she might not see you very much for stretches at a time over the next 7 years and she's cool with that, then you might have a keeper. Who knows, maybe in a few years you all will get married, she will have job to keep her busy and later have a few kids that will consume her time. It can work if the commitment level is there. That being said, I question your commitment based on your statement. I get the impression that she should have more concerns with you than you with her, but don't beat me up about this; you might just be saying things in a way that don't accurately represent your attitude, feelings, and motivations.

As far as the age thing ... I'm not sure why this is such a fixation. That might be a good thing??


You're right....it is my commitment that lacks earnestness. But either way...this excellent thread just became moot, because we're over. And I feel pretty ok....crying over some stupid fleece blanket. But ok.
 

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:(

I'm sorry. Good luck, though. You have a lot to look forward to, and it seems you made the most responsible decision. It sounds like it was from your head and your heart.
 
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