Some advice...

I’ve got a question for all you mothers and fathers, husbands and wives out there.

As I’ve stated in the past, I am a 25-year old with a wife and a 2.5 year old son. We live in Rhode Island, which only has one medical school in it, and it’s particularly difficult to get into.

That being said, there’s a very high chance that I’m going to have to move somewhere else to attend medical school (even if it’s only MA or CT).

My wife is attending Rhode Island College this fall to complete her Bachelors in accounting. She’s looking at 3-4 years part time, 2 years full time. I’ll be attending school concurrently as a part time student. By the time I am ready to attend medical school, she’ll have graduated and probably set herself up in a good career and my son will be in school.

I’ve been wrestling with whether it is fair of me to ask them to uproot their entire lives and follow me to some foreign place for the next 4+ years, where I’ll be hard-pressed to spend time with them and then, ask them to probably uproot again and move somewhere else for my residency.

I know this a something I have to reason out on my own but, how did you guys get through this? I feel guilty asking them to do this…I don’t want to make their lives difficult. Any opinions would be much appreciated.

Each person’s circumstances are different so you can take this with a grain of salt–and also be sure to check past posts in the Spouses topic for more perspective.

The key thing is to include your family members in your decision making. Give them some choices and something to look forward to.

I uprooted my family (wife and 2-year-old daughter) for medical school and yanked them across the country. When I’m done here, I may need to move yet again. It’s not been easy, I can tell you. But our move was preceded by lots of discussion. I was fortunate to get into a variety of schools all over the country, and my wife had some input into what locations she would prefer. When I apply for residency, I will probably again apply broadly across the country and we can then look at a map and mutually agree on a place to live.

Best of luck,

Merlin, you’ll have options and choices that you will consider together. First of all, your son will be fine as long as his parents provide a secure home for him. Moving is a lot more stressful on parents than kids!

As far as your wife’s career goes, that is a little harder, obviously. But when it comes time to consider where you apply to medical school… and later on where you apply for residency… you’ll have lots to talk about. She will presumably have an idea of the locations where she would have the most options in terms of her career; that list can be the starting point for your considerations of where to apply to medical school.

During medical school, you’ll get an idea of what you want to do and where the best opportunities for you might be. One possibility that is NOT preposterous is that you would choose a residency that does not require you to move. I did this, and so did many of my colleagues in my med school class.

But if you need to move for residency, you’d apply the same ideas: what would be good places for her to move, where she could pick up her career or, perhaps, move it in a desired direction? (by the time you get to picking a residency, maybe she’ll want to make a change, who knows?)

You just can’t plan your life out that far in advance. With or without med school, you really don’t know where you will be in ten years, but obviously you are dedicated to being together as a family. Enjoy the ride and be open to the possibilities!