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Lives of Doctor Wives: MS1 Taught Me...

Friday, May 8, 2015

MS1 Taught Me...

Prior to starting our med school journey, another wife said to me, "The days are long but the years are short." Boy was she right! We are ten days and 5 exams away from the end of MS1 and it feels like the year flew by! But then again, some days felt inexplicably looooong too. Like this one.

Another wise med school wife said something akin to, "During particularly long, difficult, lonely weeks you will find yourself wandering down every. single. aisle. of Target for hours on end..." Well, it turns out she was right too. Did that today thankyouverymuch.

As I sit here in the cramped quarters of the extended stay hotel we are currently living in (long story- stay tuned), after dropping SDrH off at the school to study for finals, I am overwhelmed by the idea of summing up all of MS1 in a single blog post. A novel would be more suitable. But you don't have that kind of time. Trust me. So being the student of life that I claim to be, I ultimately decided to reflect upon what the first year of medical school taught me...and it ain't Biochemistry. Or grammar, apparently.

MS1 Taught Me...

The value of "high yield."

I noticed the phrase "high yield" getting thrown around very early in the school year. It's how students communicated with one another in regards to study material. As in, "page 145,368 of your Microbiology syllabus is extremely high yield." Meaning, they would likely see that information again or should expect multiple test questions over it. At first it made me giggle because really, it got the the point that everything seemed high yield. Then one day I realized that high yield applies to more than just medical school. Quality time together became so precious that we started referencing our free time in terms of high yield too. As in, "We get Friday evening together! Yay! Yippee! Hallelujah! What's the most high yield activity we can do? Is there a restaurant we want to try? Something fun around town we want to go do?" You get the picture. We weren't about to spend coveted time together doing chores or running errands. We tried to make the most of it. Even if that sometimes meant television on the sofa. We found that to be extremely high yield after the hard weeks.

*And this is where I take a moment to marvel over the fact that med school forces fun (previously fun), normal (previously normal) people to become efficient with their "free" time. Oxymoron anyone?

Moving on...

Structure is my friend. 

SDrH and I are meticulous planners when it comes to the big stuff. The day to day stuff, however, now that's a different story. I guess you could say we like to wing it. We've never had a set meal time, bed time, or any sort of routine. And before medical school, we preferred it that way. I very quickly learned that winging it might not be the best approach. So now I'm *that* person...the kind of person that admittedly, I used to mock. I have a fancy, colorful, bursting-at-the-seams Erin Condren planner which holds everything from meal plans to gym schedules to test schedules, deadlines, etc. Every activity has a column and a time. Get up at 5:30, leave by 7:30, home by 5:30, gym, dinner, bed, do it all over again the next day. Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it. But you know what? Most days it saved our butts. We don't have time to discuss what to eat for dinner, much less make an impromptu run to the store. Even fast food is not fast enough most nights. I realized exactly how important structure had become to our daily routine when our condo flooded last month. Hence the reason we are currently living in an extended stay hotel. During FINALS. As if the first year of medical school isn't already stressful enough...Ugh. I still don't particularly enjoy running our household like a corporation, but The Great Flood of 2015 (as I have not-so-affectionately come to call it) made me realize that having any semblance of control over certain parts of our day helped us feel a little more grounded when everything else seemed to be spinning out.

Don't wish it away.

First of all, this is no way for anyone to live. But for folks in medicine, living this way can be especially dangerous. There are too many different finish lines, right? If we were to wish away the time during med school, residency, and maybe a fellowship? Poof! There went a decade. So SDrH and I made a conscious decision early on. We will accept this process for what it is and find things to enjoy about every stage along the way. For me personally, this mindset allowed me to settle in a little. To truly view my new city as home instead of a place to kill some time. I'm more invested in our life here and that feels good.

*And this is where I take a moment to insert a loophole I discovered. Exhausted wives of first year medical students who are living in a hotel and running out of clean clothes because the repairs were only supposed to take 2 weeks but are actually taking 3 weeks are allowed to wish away the month of May. Whew, lucky me! Sounds like I qualify.

So hey there MS1, I think you taught me enough. I got it. Make. It. Stop.

Come visit my personal blog at thehappyredhead.com



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