As We Come to The End of The Road :: Our 10 Year Medical Training Journey

My husband and I have known each other since I was sixteen.

Let’s be clear, it was NOT love at first sight. We met through a summer program and were frenemies for about 4 years. We reconnected again when my husband moved to Nashville to start his medical school journey. I was a junior in college, and I was kind of bored with my college social circle. So of course, as all great moms do, my mom suggested I hang out with that guy I knew from Dallas because you know “you’re both from Dallas and you play golf.” Well, of course I did, because why not? I had nothing better to do, but if you ask him, I was plotting from this very moment to win him over for forever. I’m not quite sure when it happened, but after a few months, friendship became more, and as they say, the rest is history. But I digress. This post is actually about our medical school and training journey. Because after almost 10 years of being together, and experiencing everything that is included with medical school and residency, we are coming up on the end of it – the medical training journey. This seems so weird because for so long, medical school and residency has dictated every move, and I do mean every move, of our lives. We’ve based jobs, houses, vacations, family planning and so much more around this journey. 

I graduated from undergrad when my husband had 3 years left of medical school.

While we weren’t engaged at the time, we both knew it was heading that way, so when looking at graduate programs, I considered two things: how many student loans we were going to have from medical school and how much more we couldn’t could afford – read none. And how far away we would be and how feasible long distance and visits would be on our non-existent graduate school budgets. I wound up in Birmingham, AL, a place I never would have moved to, because financially and geographically it made sense. It turns out I fell in love with the city. So much so that I’m pretty sure that’s the only place outside of Texas my husband could ever convince me to move to once we were done with training. And, I met some life long friends there and also gained some independence that had carried me through the “independent” residency years. 

Fast forward 3 years, we got married a week after he graduated medical school and moved to New Orleans a week after that. It truly was a whirlwind, but it was also because he had a full month off before residency started – something we knew we wouldn’t have again for a very long time. As I began my search for jobs in New Orleans and started my career, I always had in the back of my mind that his schedule would be completely inflexible so even as I advanced in my career, I needed to keep that in mind. Thankfully, I have had some wonderful jobs that have allowed me to flourish professionally without sacrificing my interesting but temporary, family situation that happens with residency as we grew from a family of two to three.

And now we’re here. We have less than six months left until this 10 year medical school and residency training journey is done.

And it feels weird. It’s exciting because we’ve seen so many of our non-medical friends grow professionally and personally and lay down roots and travel and all the other milestones of adulthood. Things that really have been on hold for us for a long time, but now it’s finally our turn! But, it’s also scary. For so long, it’s also been kind of a crutch. We had to do things this way because of his schedule. And while some of that never goes away, we’ll have a lot more autonomy than we have ever had before. And the freedom and flexibility to do what we want when we choose, and to make the decisions that we want to make based on what we think is best for our family, not based on his schedule. 

I’m excited for this new chapter because many days, it felt like it would never be over and this day would never come. And yet, here we are.

For those of you who have made it to this next chapter, what do I need to know? And for those of you who are just beginning, hang in there. It really does get better!  

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