Maintaining Relationships In Medical School

Family. Friends. Romance. School/work (and in my case school that is work) can sometimes distract us from the important things in life.

Here are some tips to maintaining relationships while in medical school. After all, when you graduate and have your life back, you don’t want to look around and be without the people you love.

Identify relationship needs.
You and your partner might have different personal needs. You may value quality time while your loved one needs to hear “I love you” regularly. Nothing is wrong with either of these needs. Together, you need to figure out what keeps your relationship running. 

Schedule time.
School and work are important but I always say that you make time for things that are important to you. If you like makeup, you make time to watch YouTube videos. If you like basketball, you make time to watch a game. If you like blogging, you make time to sign into WordPress every now and then. If you like your significant other, you make time for him or her. “He knows I love him” won’t cut it in the long run. I often get really really really busy and almost have to tell myself (out loud) to call my loved ones. I do this with my parents, sister, and my boyfriend. Because they matter to me more than any makeup video or blog post, I make time for them.

Manage your boundaries.
Know where you won’t go and what you won’t do for your relationship. This is important for any relationship in life. Never lose your values. Stay true to yourself and the meaningful relationships will last. 

Be positive.
No one wants to cuddle with Debby Downer. If you’re having a bad day or week, try not to bring your loved ones into it. I know this is harder than it sounds but negativity is very offputting. I feel as though all of my relationships were strained during the time that I was studying for my board exam. I wasn’t putting good energy into the universe. And while there was very little I could have done to change my situation, I could have tried harder to smile and exude peace rather than chaos.

Be aware of what angers you/your loved one.
Don’t be that person that pushes your loved ones “buttons” and make sure that when someone angers you, you let them know. Keeping your feelings bottled up is not healthy and can only lead to a blow up later on down the road. One of the biggest complaints I see is people saying “my [significant other] says I study too much, but they just don’t understand.” If that’s the case, sit them down and talk to them so that they do understand.

Ask “how was your day” and answer honestly when the question is turned around on you. 
This is not only important for communication sake but it helps keep us human and allows us to talk about the good, bad, and ugly we come across from day to day. Never ever downplay your loved one’s stress level just because he or she isn’t in medical school. And if you’re like me, and found your love in medical school, please remember that you both will deal with the same stressors differently. Respect that and love each other when you’re vulnerable.

Remember that your degree can’t keep you warm.
Bro. Need I expound on this? Always always always remember what’s important in life. Family, friends, values. Your education is on that list but it isn’t worth losing the people you love.

Recognize that these are the same people who were cheering you on even before you got into school.
During the hard times in school, I didn’t realize how much I was shutting out the people that prayed for me from the moment I decided I wanted to go to medical school (my parents). It wasn’t until I heard the lyrics to the song “Slow Down” by Nichole Nordeman that I talked to my parents about my fears and concerns. The song says “I am your biggest fan, I hope you know I am…” and this is exactly what my parents have always been to and for me. Your loved ones that were there before medical school will be there afterward, Student Doctor (insert your name), and they love you. This recognition is important because we often feel alone during the journey but, truthfully, we are never alone.

Say “I love you” every chance you get.
In this crazy world that we live in, we never know when our last “goodbye” will be. Saying the words may not fit into the relationship needs that you have established but it never hurt anyone. The sentiment behind the words is what fuels any healthy relationship.

Thanks for reading lovelies. Feel free to like, comment, and share. I’ll see you really soon! XX!

Also, happy birthday, my love!

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