Dating in Medical School

Wes and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary yesterday. He came into my life at a time when nothing was certain: I was studying for the MCAT and applying to medical school. Three years later,  I’m starting my second year of medical school, studying for STEP 1, and let me tell you…I’ve had a lot of time to reflect. I debated posting this open love letter because it is quite personal, but realized that it would be a great sharing point for those of you curious on how to make a relationship work during medical school, or any other tortuous and demanding career path. The truth is it takes a lot of work and a conscious effort all the time. Have a read:

Happy 3 years my love. It’s crazy how time has passed by us so quickly. I feel like it was just yesterday we drove by Big Sur with a GoPro strapped to your dashboard. I look back at those times fondly and smile at the memories, but isn’t it crazy how (if I really think about it), I was beyond stressed at the time as I was studying for my MCAT? And, now, 3 years later I have another board exam to study for. The parallels make me reflect. They make me realize that, in looking back, I count my time on this Earth in waves of memories with you, how many times I have laughed by your side. How many waves I’ve seen roll by in the ocean with you. It’s you. I count my time next to you. So while it seems like, yet again, I’m being crushed by something that feels all encompassing, and so incredibly important, I realize nothing is as important as my time next to you. And just like I studied for the MCAT, blinked, looked up, and there were 3 years later in the present in Australia, I’m sure that as I am now studying for the STEP, I’ll blink, and in 3 more years, our adventure will be something new. Something even better than now.

But I realize that in order for that to happen, I need to be a better partner. All this time, in concentrating on how you will never understand the trials and tribulations of what I’m going through, I’ve missed out on recognizing that, in reality, I will never understand what you’re going through. All the times I’ve left you alone so I can study, and in the future, all the nights I’ll leave you alone on dinner too because I’ll have night shift. I can’t even begin to understand what it must feel like to feel like you have to sacrifice your own plans in order to fit into my ever-changing world. Or to feel like you can never be truly as “busy”, “tired”, or “accomplished”. Which is all bullshit. You are just as busy making your dreams come true. Your work makes you just as tired. And, you, my love, are and will be, just as accomplished in your world and career.

So, with all this said, I want to vow to always put you first. To always designate and make room in my schedule for time with you. To never act like just because I’m pursuing an MD that you, your time, and your future career, are in any way of lesser value. To avoid my copout, which is: I’m tired, let’s just order takeaway and watch Netflix. That’s not fair to you. And that’s not quality time with you (it’s more like quality time for myself with myself, really). I promise to go on adventures with you and really break through my comfort zone in order to really thrive in this lifetime with you. I promise to put your needs first, too. My list seems never-ending, but you are incredibly supportive, kind, and attentive. I promise to be that for you too. I never want to be out of the loop and to have you unload on me, only for me to know nothing about the things you are dealing with. I promise to always thank you for being the understanding, flexible, and supportive man that you are. Thank you for being my best fried, for letting me rant. Thank you for double checking my workload before hanging out with me. Most of the time, I prefer to hang out rather than study and the temptation kills me. Thank you for feeding me and making me work out and making sure I sleep enough. Sometimes I forget. And, lastly, thank you for being my partner. For loving me, for working on this relationship with me, for being my best friend, my gossip girl, my support system, my connection to the real world, my “life to look forward to”. I want to make this really work. And I want us to both thrive. I really really do. I promise to be more understanding and give you grace. I realize now that I’ll always have busier schedules than you, I’ll always be the type A planner in this relationship, I’ll always have “the grind” on my mind, and I’ll always be incredibly busy. To expect the same from you is just not feasible.

So, let’s make these next 3 years, and the 3 years after that, and the rest of our lifetime the best it could be. I love you.


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