There are the rumors that a certain medical school prides itself on its reputation of not having a single long-term relationship or marriage make it out of those 4 strenuous years intact. Can a marriage or long-term relationship withstand the pressures of a rigorous academic environment? Or late night study sessions with that crush-worthy classmate?
Eight months into dental school (but who’s counting?) and here’s my two cents on being newly married and in dental school. It can be a good thing, and it can work! I would encourage anyone who is hesitating to get hitched SIMPLY because of grad school to reconsider.
Here are five real things to consider about marriage and dental school:
1) Perspective. After hours of fiddling with preps and working with crumbling amalgam restorations, I come home and get to hear about real life. You know, the stuff that awaits me just a few years from now. It makes school seem…containable…finite. I try not to let school rule my life, even when it tries to.
2) Unending support. We cheer each other on. I call him after every exam and let him know how it went. He’s the only person that I will talk about grades and test content with, and probably the only one who cares haha! In return, I celebrate his successes and wins at work as much as I celebrate his kills on Call of Duty on a Double XP weekend.
3) More time! Time is the penultimate item that there is never enough of in dental school. Because I’m married, I don’t waste any time thinking about what I’m going to do on Friday night, who I might meet, and I don’t feel the need to dress to impress anyone in particular besides myself (and sometimes the hubby). There is this quote from SDN…”a breakup in medical school can destroy you.” I can only imagine how distracting that would be. Interestingly enough, being a couple gives me more time for…me!
4) Trust. Your relationship has to be a strong one. You will be spending a lot of time apart. Marriage is one thing, long distance is quite another. My husband is never more than 45 minutes away. I am at lab or studying, and that’s terribly boring for the husband. His day ends at 5 pm, and that’s when I am just starting to put a dent in my task list. So we live largely separate lives, but together in spirit.
5) Priorities. We are lucky to have a life where my only (debateably real) responsibility is school, and he takes care of everything else. Both of you have to have the same priorities for things to go smoothly. For us, it’s my school. Everything else takes a back seat, and he is behind me all the way. He never pesters me to spend more time with him, no incessant whiny texts from him, no guilt-tripping, like some of my other married dental school friends have to deal with.
We have a pact that he will take care of me and getting my career started for the first 10 years, and then I will take care of him for the next 10 years. Planning for the future helps us get by day to day.