1/4 of the way through year 2

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's been a while since I've written about life in any coherent fashion so here it is! A summation of life as I know it....

Married Life

I have nothing but good things to report about married life! Without the distraction of planning a wedding and conducting a long-distance relationship, this area of my life is sooooo much better than last year. When people ask how married life is going, Nick and I tell them we are just really good roommates. Seriously, best roommates ever! I love waking up and seeing him every morning and I get excited to see him when he comes home from work. Hopefully he feels the same :)

At first, I thought that not much had changed in our relationship since getting married. We pay bills together (sorta...since I live on fake money) and we see each other a lot more than before. That's about it. We're still the same people, right?

Once I start to reflect, I realize that our relationship has changed drastically. We've never lived together so there have certainly been some adjustments & bumps along the way (mostly about hanging towels up properly or cleaning methods) but nothing of anything consequence.

When I first started med school, we attended a Significant Others seminar explaining what life would be like dating/being married to a med student. One piece of advice we received was to cherish the little moments together - this means going grocery shopping just to have some "us" time, going to the gym together, cleaning together -- little bits of time that allow us to stay productive while also spending quality time with one another. It is during these moments that I don't feel "guilty" for neglecting my books to spend time with my husband. And in turn I feel less guilty about "neglecting" my husband when I'm buried in my notes. It's a unique but neccesary way to achieve balance with school & also learn to be a married couple!

I think more than anything, marriage has taught me to focus less on "me" and more about "us." Admittedly, I have been a selfish person at times and on top of that, I'm an only child. Relinquishing my stubborn, "Heather's way or no way" attitude has been been difficult but I think it's helped up become stronger. None of this happened overnight, but marriage sure made me confront some of my shortcomings head on.

Marriage has also caused me to shift my priorities and my thinking. I used to be very caught up in wanting to fit in with people my age and be a "normal" twenty-something - whatever that means. I guess the things that used to be important to me just aren't as much anymore. I find myself caring less about what others think about me (Am I fun enough? So and so doesn't like me...etc.) and more about cultivating quality relationships. The shift in priorities has certainly caused a shift in who I surround myself with which I think is for the best. We've developed great friendships here in Indy and back home and also have a wonderful support system in both of our families, so I couldn't be happier!

Aside from the changes in our relationship, we also have changes in our professional lives! N just recently received a promotion at work (after 5 months at his new location - I'm so proud of him!) so he will be studying for a few more licensing exams. It's nice to have a study buddy, even if it's only for a couple months. His hard-working, ambitious attitude rubs off on me, too. My classes are going better and he makes me want to continue to achieve so we can both be successful.


My weight loss has certainly stalled within the past few months. I'm not proud of it but its the truth. I've essentially been gaining and losing the same 5 pounds since the wedding, hopelessly teetering on this 200 lb precipice that I've come to hate.  

I can blame it on school and stress all I want but at the end of the day, I make the conscious decision to skip my workout or grab breakfast on the run (because I hit snooze one too many times). I make the decision to indulge too much because I've had a "hard day" and deserve it, instead of honoring my body with a good workout & a healthy meal.  

This journey would be hard regardless if I'm in school or not so that just isn't a valid argument anymore. It's also going to be A LOT hard to get this weight off once I start rotations in about 9 months. It needs to happen NOW.  

So here I am...recommitting again.   

One year - not the progress I want but it's progress nonetheless.


Believe it or not, I still manage to have fun :) It's the little pockets of fun that keep me going, like the school Gala two weeks ago. I was lucky enough to have been invited last year and this year and I've certainly never been to an event more fancy than this! The event is filled with community leaders in and around Indianapolis but also celebrates my little school with a pretty rich history! 

It was a great chance to get dressed up and relax before my GI final! I improved my score 7% for my first GI exam so maybe that helped :).  Side note to all you pre-meds/med students: sleep and relaxation make ALL the difference in your exam performance. The nights I stayed up "cramming" for exams were the times I performed poorly. It just isn't worth it!

I found this dress at Macy's - a steal, originally $300 for only $55! I loved the bead work but I think the cut of the dress was all wrong for me. It accentuated my hips/belly without really doing my waist any justice. Oh well...

The Monday of our final exam, we got together with our old Anatomy group (the boys are not pictured here...) for a good old Enchilada night.It was good to catch-up with everyone and relax, not that I don't see these ladies all the time! I never thought I'd walk away from medical school with such an amazing group of friends but I got pretty lucky - and their significant others are pretty great as well! 
*Another side note, I generally try to avoid posting pictures of other people here without them knowing so that's why you don't see them very often.*

Medical School
My atittude towards school tends to wax and wane but lately I've been feeling a little more "down" than usual. I don't regret going to med school. Becoming a physician has been my number one goal since I was a kid but lately I've been feeling quite existential when it comes to school. There are many times I end up asking myself "Why?" even though I know the answer to that question by heart. I feel like my life is missing directed purpose or 

I sometimes get frustrated learning about the intricacies of the human body - all the biochem, physio, micro, etc. because really this isn't the whole story about the patient. Maybe some people are able to accept that the human body is "just" a bag filled with more bags filled with chemicals, answers some test questions and leave it at that. I'm not. I get little joy out of memorizing biochemical pathways or drug mechanisms - it's something I do because I want to be a good, knowledgable doctor (who passes their boards & classes...). Yes, the science is fascinating to some degree but it isn't the whole picture.

My real passion comes from real, genuine interactions with people. Anyone, really - not just patients. I want to know the story behind the "38 year old white male who presents to the ER in moderate distress..." described in my case vingnette. It's not simply enough to get the answer right on a test and move on.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that up to this point, med school has not been very fulfilling for me.  

Let me be clear. I do not hate school.  I enjoy learning and I understand the importance of my time here but I want more than a 30 minute forced encounter with an actor to access my H&P exam skills (which is really my only clinical experience thus far besides volunteering & shadowing occasionally).  I've been reassured by my superiors that it gets better in rotations - things start to click and you start to recognize meaning in everything. That's what I'm hoping for because right now I'm just feeling a little lost

To end on a bright note, I'm more than halfway through my semester. I have two more systems courses to conquer - Endocrine/Metabolism & Reproductive System - and then we get Christmas! After that, I'm REALLY looking forward to my second semester - Behavioral Science, Dermatology, & Aging. Then we start an Integration course that will mark the beginning of our official board prep & clinical skills prep after Spring Break. Basically we will be taking everything we've learned and putting it all together! As a big picture person, I can't wait to see what this will be like. Personally, I'm kind of excited to study for boards. I'm much prefer synthesizing information and applying it to new cases (instead of memorizing and regurgitating onto a typical school exam). 


  1. I think you hit the proverbial marriage nail on the head. My husband had to go through fire academy and has been a rookie for the past year, and while I'm sure you can't even compare to medical school, I will say that going to Costco was considered a "date" for us. IT was so weird to explain to others about my excitement to be at Costco with my husband, bc we just never got to see each other. I also don't care as much about what others think. In my early 20's, I hated being home on a Saturday night, I felt like such a loser. These days, I get so excited about a weekend with no plans. And I really apprecaite the time I have with myself more.

  2. It seems that you are balancing life as a med student pretty well, especially since you're a newlywed!