Relationships and Medical School: The Pros and Cons

Medical school is an incredibly stressful time for every student. Between keeping up with reading assignments, preparing for tests, and staying on top of other requirements, there is little time left in the day to eat and sleep—let alone pursue any type of social life. Given this, the idea of maintaining a serious relationship during medical school may seem impossible. Of course, relationships aren’t something most people can casually choose to participate in—it’s not like you can just say “sorry, I’m off to med school, let’s pick this up in four years.” If you’re in a relationship, I have good news for you: it’s not impossible to make it through medical school. But it also won’t be easy. Here are some of the pros and cons of having a relationship during medical school:

Pros:

1)     A relationship can keep you grounded. For medical students, it is very easy to become lost in a sea of information. Your significant other can provide a great counterweight—helping you maintain a healthy perspective on life.

2)     A relationship can be a great source of encouragement. Depression and discouragement are very real threats to every medical student. When a student is involved in a relationship, he or she typically receives valuable encouragement and positive reinforcement—helping to keep him or her healthy, happy, and optimistic.

3)     A relationship can be a great motivating factor. For many medical students, a relationship provides additional motivation for their studies. In some cases, the motivation is in the form of wanting to be done with medical school—in other cases, it may be a desire to impress the significant other. In any case, additional motivation comes in very handy while preparing for an important exam!

Cons:

1)     Relationships are time consuming. As discussed above, if there is one thing a medical student is always lacking, it is time. And relationships certainly require a time commitment in order to remain healthy. These time demands can create extreme amounts of stress when a student is forced to prioritize the relationship over academics—or vice versa.

2)     Relationships often create emotional turmoil. Exams during medical school are no picnic—many of them will last three hours or more. When you’re in such an exam, the last thing you need to be thinking about is the big fight you had last night. Relationships naturally generate emotional ups and downs—and as a medical student, you can’t afford extreme swings!

3)     Relationships can leave a medical student feeling “split.” Medical school is a fulltime job. It demands a tremendous amount of time and energy. Meanwhile, most students desire to spend time with their significant other—and as a result, find themselves split between competing priorities.

I can’t tell you whether or not to consider a relationship during medical school—but I can help you become aware of the challenges (and benefits!) that you will be facing. If you would like further information, contact me today!

 

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