Home » Survivor Saturdays » Survivor Saturdays – Letter to a Premed Student

Survivor Saturdays – Letter to a Premed Student

This fall will mark 18 years since Michael and I met, 17 since we started dating. I knew from the first time I met him that he was going to be a doctor (remember the college days? “What’s your name? Where are you from? What’s your major?”). I remember one of our first conversations (while still in the “friend” stage) when he stated that his friends would be getting babysitters in order to attend his wedding – alluding to the fact that he thought he had a long road of education ahead of him before he could get married. Heh, heh, heh. That’s what he thought!

Even when we were engaged and he was applying to med schools, I had absolutely no clue what was in store for us. I knew the logistical road that we would take – four years of med school, internship, residency – but I never even considered how hard it was going to be. Blissfully ignorant, I suppose. My grandmother, who was an orthopedic nurse, reminded me years later that she warned me never to marry a doctor. I have no recollection of her saying this – but my flair for the dramatic is most definitely genetic.

So when I received an email a few weeks ago from a premed college student asking for insight into the work/family balance of a doctor-in-training, I was really impressed with his forethought. His serious girlfriend has expressed doubts about her ability to be a doctor’s wife, and he is taking her hesitation into consideration before pursuing this career.

It took me two days to compose my reply, and I’ve posted part of it here. I hope, as always, that even if you aren’t married to a doctor, you can be encouraged to hang in there and stick it out through the tough seasons of your life together. It’s more than worth the excruciating effort.

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3 thoughts on “Survivor Saturdays – Letter to a Premed Student

  1. It's always nice to know that college students thinking of medicine are really contemplating all aspects of such a career. Tom always tells me about how he choose his specialty very carefully after asking lots of doctors about their specialty and how it affected their lifestyle and their family. Of course, I came into the picture after the hard part but I'm thankful for the wise advice he was given. He loved surgery but wasn't willing to compromise his future family life to live the crazy life of a surgeon. Anesthesia works well for him since it's less demanding schedule wise but he still gets to be in the OR. What a blessing that you are able to share your experience and wisdom with these young doctors!

  2. Great response letter. I think you really have to go in the direction you're called … every job has its issues. Phil isn't a doctor but we see each other 48 hours or less a week right now and some of that is spent sleeping! It's about the commitment you make, not the hours you have.

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