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Relationship vs. medical school.

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Louie, Jul 22, 2001.

  1. Louie

    Louie New Member

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    HI, everyone.

    What will you choose, being with your fiancee and having a good life OR going to a medical school, pursuing you career goals but living seperately with your love and with terrible financial burden?

    My fiancee and I have been applying medical schools this year. We ended up getting into different schools. 4-hour driving distance. She was a PhD student and got into her school's alternate MD/PhD pathway program. I applied to a bunch of medical schools and ended up getting into only one school -- giving the fact that we both are international students, this is really an accomplishment.

    But this made a really hard dicision for us. Should I just quit medical school? or should we endure living seperately? We love each other so much and have been virturally inseparable. To add to its complexity, as an international student, my entering medical school ( a really expensive one) will undoubtly incur heavy financial burden to us.

    Maybe I should just quit medical school and become a postdoc (I am a graduate student)? Or should I continue pursuing my dream of becoming a clinician-scientist?

    Bewildered Louie

    :confused:
     
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  3. ckent

    ckent Membership Revoked
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    More than 60% of medical students and residents that marry end up divorcing within ten years after completing residency. Statistically, you will probably end up getting divorced. You can either be a divorcee to a doctor who never pursued his own dreams of being a doctor, or, after ten years, you can be a doctor who divorced another doctor. Go to the school that is within four hours of your fiancees. Four hours is doable. Everyone else goes into a great deal of debt to go to medical school, you should accept the debt and know that you will eventually be able to pay it off. If you do not go, remember that your fiancee will be very busy during the next ten years pursuing her own dreams, I can't imagine that not creating friction in your marriage when she becomes too busy to spend any substantial amount of time with you. If you do go, think of the distance as aiding your medical education, you both can focus and study hard during the weekdays, provide academic and social support for each other when you meet on the weekends, and you can go through couples matching (where residency programs accept you both as a couple) and work together and be "inseparable" during residency.
     
  4. eyedea

    eyedea Member
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    What if you guys rent a place half way between your medical schools? You will both have to commute a long distance, but you will be living together and be able to give each other support. Good to luck to you and your fiancee Louie
     
  5. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    Hey CKent,
    Where did you find that statistic?
     
  6. Denilson

    Denilson Senior Member
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    divorce happens because of selfish motives and lack of communication...marriage is about sacrifice and caring about the other person more than yourself...if you cannot do that, then a divorce is inevitable...humble yourself before your spouse, just like Christ's humbleness before the Father :)
     
  7. MoeDaMan

    MoeDaMan Senior Member
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    Hey CKent,

    That is very true, in fact, I read it I think in US news and world report. Among all professions, residents and interns have the highest divorce rate, and doctors in all professions have the highest suicide rate...

    it gets worse if your an MD/Phd unfortunately :(
     
  8. AJM

    AJM SDN Moderator
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    Four hours is definitely doable, as long as you both are committed and in a stable relationship.

    One of my classmates at my med school in California has a boyfriend who ended up at an MD/MBA program in Pennsylvania. They've been doing a coast-to-coast long distance relationship for the past 3 years, and just got engaged a month ago! My classmate is starting residency earlier than her fiancee who still has 2 more years to go, and she is planning on either going to Philadelhpia or New York to be closer to him for residency.

    Long-distance relationships can work out, although they are very difficult. The fact that you will be only 4 hours away will make it much easier on both of you, becuase you can see each other on weekends. I would recommend pursuing your career as well as working on seeing your fiancee as much as possible. You don't want to give up your dream now, and then run the risk of becoming bitter about lost opportunities, and possibly even blaming your soon-to-be husband over it!
     
  9. ckent

    ckent Membership Revoked
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    Iserson's Getting Into a Residency, fifth edition. It's a really good book, I just bought it and I would highly recommend it.
     
  10. meikalulu

    meikalulu Junior Member

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    isn't the national ave rate of divorce approx 50%? i heard that recently and it doesn't make 60% seem so outrageous...just a thought
     
  11. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    Yeah, I guess you figure two type-A personalities together would more likely end up with clashes. Unfortunate reality we live in... :(
     
  12. LabRat27

    LabRat27 Junior Member
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    Don't let these guys discourage you.

    I am in the same situation. My fiance (we've been together for almost 6 years, living together for over 4 years) is doing his PhD in Toronto while I begin my M.D. in Kingston this fall (about 2.5 hours away).

    Last summer we had a taste of being apart when I took a job in Ottawa for the summer (a 5 hour drive away)-- it was tough, and we put a LOT of milage on the car, but it was definitely do-able.

    We are now in the process of splitting up our household, which isn't as expensive as you might think. :) We're planning a lot of weekend visits, as well as some huge phone bills. It'll be a long haul, but we're seeing it as short-term sacrifice for long-term gain.

    As is the case with any relationship, there is no guarantee that your marriage will survive. But it would be stupid to give up on a relationship now just because it's not a sure thing. This is life, people, there's no such thing as a sure thing! ;)

    On the other hand, it would be equally stupid to give up a career that you've dreamed of for a relationship. Wouldn't giving up med school for your fiancee lead to some major resentment later on? Especially when she's logging in 100 hours a week in hospitals, school and the lab?

    There's no reason why you can't have both. The statement you made about quitting med school leads one to believe that maybe this isn't the career for you. M.D. training is hard, even more so when you're trying to devote yourself to a long-distance relationship. If you're not ready to make some sacrifices, you're probably in the wrong profession.

    I think it's time you do some MAJOR self-examination. But don't think that it's as black-and-white as medicine vs. marriage. Plenty of M.D.'s have happy, successful marriages-- there's no reason why you can't be one of them.
     
  13. DocToBe

    DocToBe Member
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    I think that a great point to remember in a situation like this is that med school requires more hours of study than many people can imagine. I am currently in a 2+ year relationship with a resident (I'm a 2nd year) and I live in NJ, while she lives in NYC. I honestly believe that unless a couple lives together, it is difficult to find quality time together. For example, in my instance, my g/f is 1 hr away. If we want to see each other, we have already lost 2 hours to driving. That is really just a waste of time when you have a ton of work you should be doing. From your post, I believe that you are starting med school this year. Trust me, you may have some time to see each other during the beginning of an examination 'block' period (we have a block exam format at my school), but come crunch time, you will pretty much only have time for studying, sleeping, eating, and keeping your sanity. My first semester was really tough, and I barely even saw my g/f. However, she went through med school herself which made her more understanding than the average woman. It all worked out and we're still together, and I think the reason for that was because there was a mutual understanding. Your wife is in an MD/PhD program, so she will undoubtedly be very busy also. Therefore, persue your dream of becoming a clinican-scientist. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Come crunch time, you will both be so busy that you will be able to understand why you are apart from each other for so long, and even though you will still miss each other greatly, you will both have the understanding that what you are doing will really benefit both of you in the long term. Even though the divorce rate of physicians is high, I think a marriage consisting of two successful physicians would be a lot better than one sucessful physician and one person who decided not to fulfill his dream in order to make his partner happy.

    Good luck. These next years will be a time of great sacrifice. But just keep your chin up and never forget that this will benefit both you, your wife, and your marriage in the end.
     
  14. Mad Scientist

    Mad Scientist Member
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    I think that we would need more information in order to give you good advice. How old are you? Is this your first serious relationship? What are your cultural/religious attitudes toward marriage and divorce?

    My personal advice is that if you are young (early 20's), or if this is your first serious relationship, you should definitely put your career dreams first. Neither you nor your spouse will be happy knowing that you abandoned your dreams. OTOH, if you are older and have been in several relationships, and are certain that this is the person you want to spent your life with, go ahead and make that commitment. Then find a way to fit your dreams into your life together, even if those dreams must be altered or delayed somewhat.

    Also, consider your attitudes toward marriage and divorce. I can guarantee you that if you go into marriage just to see if it will work out, it won't. If my wife and I did not come from a culture and religious tradition that frowned heavily on divorce, and if we didn't take seriously the vows made before God and man, we would have split up a long time ago. But now we have weathered many storms and are quite happy together. Now there are exceptions (in cases of abuse, etc.), but in general the success of a marriage depends completely on how committed the partners are.

    Overall, my advice would be that unless you already have binding commitments (i.e. marriage or children), you should follow your life's dreams. If you are both committed enough, the relationship will work out. If not, there are other fish in the sea.
     
  15. Stephen Ewen

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    Irrespective of all the other issues, you certainly have a strong case to be able to transfer at some point.
     
  16. Louie

    Louie New Member

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    HI, everyone,

    Thanks for all the replies. I think they are very helpful, though sometime I was suggested to have a high possibility of having a miserable life -- divorce or even kill myself, I suppose they are just trying to help me and present me with precautions. :)

    To Mad Scientist,
    I am not in my early 20's anymore. 26, not that bad, uh? Especially I am going to finish PhD soon, I think this is not old. And yes, this is a very serious and committed relationship and it is very clear to me that I want to be with my fiancee forever. I have been in several relationships before and this feels SO different. I guess when it happens, you just know. Regarding to our culture, people don't get divorced as often, but we don't have religious restraint. Probably people are just more tolerant and forgiving. Can you guess where I came from?

    To Labrat27,
    Thank you so much for encouraging me, especially with your real experience. I am very committed to medicine, especially the combination of medicine with research. Otherwise I would not have tried this seemly impossible path -- how many schools admit international students, esp. those withhout US undergraduate background anyway? However, I admit the thought of doing anatomy makes me very nervous now and sometime it make me think I might not be a good doctor in the future.

    To Stephen,
    We have been seriously looking into the trasfer, and it is not very cheerful. MY finacee is in her school's alternate pathway program and it is impossible for her to transfer. We talked to the associate Dean for students at her school and were told transfer there "is very hard". However, even there is only 1% chance, we will definitely try.

    I think I decide to go, thanks to all your advice and encouragement. I like this board! :)
     
  17. Hannah

    Hannah Junior Member
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    Louie, can I take a guess? Are you from Vietnam? I thought it would be fun to guess as you asked us readers.
     

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