I’m really glad I found this site I must say. I tell you no one warned me on the emotional side of medical school. I’m a 37 year old female who just started medical school. I love all the learning and actually really enjoy school but life is making me question things from the side. I am single today and that scares me. I was in a 10 year relationship and after we broke up, i opted to shut out guys for relationships so I could focus on my dream. Now I’m living my dream but am all alone. I’m scared I made the wrong choice and I think what makes it worse is I’m at a school where there are alot of people from UT = married at a young age. It makes me question my choice. I have a sane side that says well quitting medical school does not mean instant husband and family, so live your dream and see what life has in store. The insane part of me says quit schoolâ€¦it’s going to get crazier when you’re in residency you will never find anyone and end up alone. Isn’t it sad that as i’m in school my worries are less about school and more about my relationship status. I think the school thing I’m figuring out and managing to do very well there now. Just need to get my head on straight. Please tell me there are other out there who have experienced such emotions and let me know how to truly overcome it!
OMG…You 100% made the correct choice. There are PLENTY of guys out there. You never adjust your goals or dreams in order to find a mate…its actually the other way around. You have no idea who you will meet or what God (hopefully Liberals are not in controlof this blog and i can actually make a reference to “god” without being critized) has in store for you. You could met someone studying at Starbucks, etc. Personally I think it is never smart to get married at a young age. I am a 33 year old single guy who never was married nor engaged. I was always focused on my career and school. Sure, I had a few gf’s but I knew I was never ready for that…and still am not. In conclusion, please do NOT quit medical school based on the fact that you are single. People would die to be where you are right now. Just my 2 cents!
- saneorinsane Said:
I once told my graduate faculty advisor I should write a paper that is nothing but quotes. Here are a few pertinent ones for you.
Rule 1: Take a Breath
Rule 10: Beware of FUD -- Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
from Rich's Rules for Nontrads
You can have anything you want; you can't have everything you want
Peter McWilliams, LIFE 101
Life is painful; suffering is optional
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.
Heraclitus of Ephesus quotes
Predictions are very hard especially about the future
Lastly, a poem that everyone will likely face sometime in their lives. For a nontraditional student, perhaps even more so:
The Road Not Taken
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and Iâ€”
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There is no way say where life will take you, who you will meet, and what relationships may form. All you can do is take a breath, start the day, and leave yourself flow into the world you have chosen with openness and acceptance for whatever or for whomever you may meet.
I couldn’t agree more, Richard… well said…er…quoted.
First of all, I think your feelings are very normal and very human. In times of great stress (and let’s face it, med school is stressful–even though you are enjoying it!), it’s normal to look at the other side of the road and think that it’s what you “should’ve done.” We naturally consider different paths when we’re on one as intense as this one.
On a somewhat related note, I found myself so frustrated with trying to do physics, organic chemistry, corportate manager, wife, and mommy this week that I started contemplating other life plans–because it got hard, and I missed my daughter, and I’m having to teach myself because my professor is horrible, and all of a sudden? I could think of MANY other things to look into in terms of a future. So I did. I played that game for a day. And you know what? None of it even came close to measuring up. So I took a breath. I took an evening for my family. And I got up the next day and started over.
At the end of the day–if you were in a relationship, but you weren’t doing medicine… which you obviously love enough to have sacrificed and worked hard enough to get here…would you be really be happy and fulfilled with that either?
Feeling alone stinks–and I am so sorry you feel that way right now. But being in medical school and having a relationship are not mutually exclusive. People do it all the time! If/when you find the person who will love you for who you are, exactly where you are, everything will fit into place–because medicine is a part of who you are.
This is just a season… and before you know it, things will look differently. In the mean time, rejoice over where you are, because you are extremely fortunate! Soak it all up and be in this moment–and the relationship stuff will likely take care of itself without you having to sacrifice part of who you are to make it happen.
Best of luck, and know that you have lots of support here!
Don’t panic because you’re surrounded by a bunch of people who got married out of high school. You’re on a journey. The current portion involves very little time for finding someone new, but that’s not the end of the world.
In a few years you will be working, and the odds are good many eligible single folks will be working with you. It may be lonely now, but you can fill that gap with friends at school, and phone calls to family.
- saneorinsane Said:
I actually think part of what you are feeling is ubiquitous among single med students, but perhaps more intense among non-trads who might be a bit outside the "usual" age range of their class. Medical school is (as has been pointed out) very stressful AND one is usually attending it somewhat removed from one's usual support network. You might have had other non-romantic relationships (ie friendships) that filled part of your relatedness needs.
We are a social species. Isolation is commonly experienced when moving to a new area. But med school compounds this by being so time-consuming that it is hard to form new social networks...especially with other time-crunched students. Then add to that a shortage or lack of single age-peers who one could envision dating, and being alone is a big fear.
I think it's very manageable. For me, I realized that I will have a LOT of new interactions with people in my clinical and residency years. Meanwhile, to prevent loneliness it's essential to both tap in to your previous support network (write or call friends, family, visit when opportunity allows) and to make connections with your current society (classmates or faculty). I make it a rule to prioritize opportuinties for in-person socialization - if I have a chance to spend time with actual people in person, I tend to take it! By adopting this strategy the 2nd half of my first year, I felt (and became) much less isolated. A buddy to eat lunch at the Chinese restaurant can brighten up a whole week. Be sure not to isolate yourself - even though you have to concentrate on med school that does NOT mean having NO life. Moderation.... Plan to do something fun.
Your post really struck a chord with me, and has also given me the rare opportunity to speak from a more emotional, and less analytical, side of me. Something I seldom feel comfortable doing…so here goes…
I understand. I get it. I’m 33 and have just started dating again, because to put your life on hold because of convenience is, ultimately, ridiculous.
There are so many challenges to doing this, and as I’m finishing up my premed with only Orgo II left to go, ironically, the intellectual side of things has been the least challenging. Balancing working a full time job, studying enough to get A’s, and yes, dating, has been another matter. I recently have been out with a really amazing woman who doesn’t mind my ambitions. I hope it stays that way. But if it doesn’t, there’s nothing I can or am willing to do about it.
There are days when I think being a P.A., dentist, pharmacist, etc. make much more sense in terms of lifestyle. There’s only one problem: I want to be a physician. The dating situation is tough, but consider the alternative: giving up on a dream in the hopes of finding someone when there’s no guarantee in that. Ergo, I continue to forge ahead with something I can control. (To a degree, at least.)
I think the fact that you’re doing well in med school is fantastic, that’s the opportunity that you have given yourself! Don’t sell your dreams for immediate hopes! If the right person comes along they’ll be with you regardless of circumstance!
Truthfully, I think sometimes what I really miss most is my excess cash from my second job! This whole living like a college student thing sucks, but it’s worth it! No…Yes, no… o.k …yes, it’s worth it!
Don’t quit! It’ll be alright.
I totally understand the single and questioning situation! And, while I don’t have the best advice on finding a partner, as I haven’t been terribly successful in that area, I do believe that when you are completely fulfilled in your life, based on what you do, or who you have become, your mate will find you when the time is right. If you give up simply to find your match, and lets say that you get married, have kids…you will spend your life regretting dropping out of med school, and will likely direct that at your mate and kids. Stay in med school, become the person you where meant to be, let your work satisfy you and you will probably find the person you were meant to be with when you least expect.
- carrieliz Said:
This is just a season... and before you know it, things will look differently. In the mean time, rejoice over where you are, because you are extremely fortunate! Soak it all up and be in this moment--and the relationship stuff will likely take care of itself without you having to sacrifice part of who you are to make it happen.
I agree whole-heartedly! You're going through a period of change right now. It's pretty profound change too! That always exacerbates the things that like to poke at us emotionally. Also, don't discount the fact that you could be physically drained and run down right now which can add to it. The life of a new med student is a difficult one (or so I hear! Can't speak from personal experience just yet).
I hear you on your fears. I can relate to them very well. I ended an eight year relationship recently and am going through a divorce right now...as I also wrap up my last year of prerequisites. I'm not applying to medical school just yet, but I am in the process of applying to a master's program. I'll be honest with you; the same type of fears that you've expressed also pop into my own mind. I recently turned 40. I'm about to pick up and move to another state for a year or two, only to turn around and (hopefully) do it all again for med school after that. Where does a potential relationship fit into that? Am I doomed to a life alone? Believe me when I say that I know how it feels to have your brain invaded by thoughts along those lines.
I've been trying to focus on where the root of those feelings comes from. Let myself know that it's ok to be afraid, but not ok to let that fear rule me. I'm also trying very hard to stay in the present (feel more, think less). I've gotten involved with a group of pre-med endurance runners at school. I hadn't been running since I was first dating my ex! I'm going back to my old gym too and picking up kick boxing again & trying mixed martial arts. I'm focused on getting out and doing activities that are more in line with the authentic me. The person I suppressed for the past eight years.
I know it sounds like a cliche, but all any of us can do is live the best possible life that we can. Be true to ourselves. Respect ourselves. Be genuine. You're doing all of that right now by following your dreams. The rest will catch up to you.