On Being a Single Woman
Upon arrival at medical school, you may think that some of your classmates are cute and/or prospects for you. Or you may not. Exploring the classmate route may cause drama you were too foolish to foresee, but there are plenty of possibilities outside of the medical school! I have met romantic prospects in the law school, at the Hispanic Heritage Festival, and while waiting for a friend at Bar Louie. For some reason they all seem to be 30 years old, but what better time to try new things like older partners, salsa dancing, meeting people in bars or visiting East St. Louis at 3 a.m. with some people you barely know? Actually, that last one may not have been such a good idea. But overall, life as a single woman has been exciting, frustrating, adventurous and a necessary growing experience. I wish you all the same!
– Jenny T., M1
On Being a Single Man
So you’re single. Don’t be too stressed about it! Being single is so much better than being in a relationship — you have the freedom to do anything. All that free food you’re going to get? Eat as much as you want! No need to look good for anyone! Want to go check out the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis? Go for it. No need to deconstruct your relationship. Want to stay up until 2 a.m. at the bars? Sure! There’s no one who’s going to be mad at you for coming back late. Medical school is as new of an experience as possible: There are new classes, a new place to live, new people to meet. Just adjusting to life is difficult enough. Why complicate it by jumping into a relationship? Whether you go out or stay in to have fun, or don’t want to have fun (no judgment), the single life is the freedom life. And don’t be scared about never finding anyone. You’re going to be a doctor. You’ll have plenty of people after you soon enough.
– Nirbhay J., M1
On Dating Someone in Your Class
Medical school brings people together. There’s something about having a small class size and being put in new and sometimes strange situations that makes you bond more quickly with your classmates than you thought possible. However, you may find yourself getting along with one of your classmates extra well, someone with whom you don’t mind spending a few extra hours in the anatomy lab (and find kind of cute too). If s/he shares the sentiments and you’re both on the same page, then by all means go for it and date. With the number of bright, motivated, big-hearted and attractive people at WUSM, it’s not surprising that plenty of intra-class dating occurs. Why look far and wide when all the best people are sitting right next to you in lecture? Dating a fellow medical student also lets you support each other as you go through the adventure that is medical school together. Just be aware that dating in the class does lead to increased gossip and scrutiny — but for the right person, go ahead and give them something to talk about.
– Brian H. and Helena H., M1
On Dating Someone in a Different Class
Although much less common than dating within one’s class, dating someone outside of your class has all the perks of dating a fellow medical student with none of the downsides! Dating outside of your class introduces you to a social network of older medical students while allowing you to maintain friends in your own class. Having different schedules every day means that you and your significant other can lead independent lives but still share significant common ground. As a first year, dating a second (or third/fourth year) provides a unique opportunity to get insight and advice to survive your transition to medical school. Dating another medical student also means that they’ll be fully aware of your responsibilities, and while normal couples have “date nights” multiple times per week, you can have the ever-so-romantic “study night” every day!
– Kevin C., M1
On Dating Someone Outside of Medical School
Perhaps one of the most valuable benefits I’ve received from being in a non-medical school relationship is outside perspective. With medical school being the relatively immersive experience it is, it’s easy to get sucked into a bubble and lose sight of how a normal, more grounded person might perceive our daily trials and tribulations. Being close with someone who isn’t going through the same thing as you can help balance out the gradual shift that occurs in your perspectives on just about everything. Plus, with any luck, your significant other will be able to offer you insight from another field (e.g. sociology) that you can integrate into your medical education to become a more all-around informed future doctor!
– Patrick P., M1
On Being in a Long-Distance Relationships
Finding yourself in a long-distance relationship is never an easy situation, whether it is in medical school or not. However, you and your significant other have made the choice to keep the flame alive and burning. Quite simply, the best way to maintain this newfound distance is to continue on as if you two were still nearby. Facetime often, if possible, and share everything with each other. Communication, long-distance relationship or not, is key. If you feel sad being far away or you feel yourself changing, talk about it. Medical school is a milestone in our life and it is important to remember that we cannot do it alone. Bring your significant other along with you each day. If you’ve never been in a long-distance relationship before, find fun handmade projects that you can mail and show that special person just how special they are. Even though the distance is long, remember what’s important and give yourself the time that you and your significant other deserve.
– David E., M1
On Being Married
The best advice about being married in medical school applies to most relationships — like making sure to have at least one dedicated night per week where you can spend time together, and you don’t say a word about school or studying. This has been one of the best things for my relationship since I started medical school. Also, spend some time talking about what makes your spouse feel supported and cared about before starting school, so that you know how you can prioritize caring for your partner when things get stressful and busy. Do your best to be patient with one another. Lastly, remember that this is only a relatively small part of your journey as a couple. There will probably be some turbulent times, but remember to remain focused on your partner and prioritize your relationship even when it feels like there’s no time or energy to do so.
– Ali H., M1
On the Turkey Drop
Medical students are intelligent, beautiful, charismatic people who will someday make lots of money, so it makes sense that most of us come to medical school with a romantic partner. When you arrive in St. Louis, you figure things will eventually fall into place and true love will prevail. Once classes start up, however, you realize that your free time to Skype is limited, or that you can’t go home as often as you planned, or that your fellow medical students are even more beautiful and intelligent than you possibly imagined. Your significant other might realize that they don’t want to spend the rest of their lives with someone constantly trying to percuss their lungs. Whatever the reason, a large percentage of couples who enter medical school break up once they see each other again at Thanksgiving. This happens so often that it has a name: the Turkey Drop. Of course this isn’t a hard and fast rule, and there are couples who stay together and even get engaged. But if this does happen to you, don’t be discouraged. You have a great support group in your WUSM classmates, and St. Louis is a fun place to be single.
– Nitya S., M1