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Medical school is not easy. There is no other way to put it. From the very first day your life is transformed and you are awarded a plethora of new responsibility. What if you have a family and want to pursue a medical education? Can medical school and family life coexist? Going to medical school with your own family by your side is a growing trend and a combination that offers many challenges. That being said, your “dream” is achievable but strategic maneuvering is needed to overcome the trials that lie ahead.
The most important piece of this puzzle is having a significant other who will support you. This is undoubtedly the key to your success. They will have to understand, just as much as you do, what is to be expected. Discussion and planning is important. What are the expectations of the student, and what are the expectations of the significant other? Ultimately, you will both be making this journey together.
As a medical student you will consistently be away from the house for extended periods of time. Time is something that grows ever so precious. Even without a family, time seems to melt away, so with a family time just vaporizes! You have to learn how to prioritize your time wisely. You will literally have to account for every minute of your day. Make sure you know your schedule for the week, month, semester and possibly the year. Map out each day and the goals you would like to accomplish. Know when you are leaving the house and try to estimate when you will be coming home. Communicate this information with your significant other and try to stick by it.
Through a course of trial and error I have found it to be more efficient when I studied away from my home. Many hours of studying are required in medical school and each student will need to find what works for them. Experience has brought me to the conclusion that studying at home can be problematic and distractions most definitely will arise. Separating study time from home brings balance to your schedule. It allows you to be more effective with the time that you do have. This is beneficial for both you and your family. With this strategy you can focus on what really matters most when you arrive home each day: your family.
Lastly, relaxation and personal time is not to be dismissed. You and your significant other will both need time to yourself. This is the one thing that I forgot was so very important, and was frequently left out of my master schedule. You will both need time to pursue activities that you enjoy doing, so compromise and work together on this issue. The road ahead will have obstacles but stay positive. As you adjust your life accordingly you will see that it is not as hard as you once thought it would be.