23 May 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Jenny

Q: Give us a little background of your family, your education/work, and where you came from before moving to Lebanon.

A: I was born in Illinois, raised in Idaho. I have lived/worked in several places, completed a B.S. in physical education, minor in music at Lees McRae College, served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints in Montevideo, Uruguay. The last 5 years have been in western North Carolina where we worked on a farm. Then husband decided to go to medical school so he completed his masters in chemistry and went for it.

Q: What are your responsibilities while your husband is at school?

A: Raise 2 happy kids, keep clean clothes ready and pantry stocked.

Q: What resources did you find in the community that are supportive to you and your family?

A: Church, COMP-NW administration, COMP-NW Complements Club, and nearly every neighbor and community member we run into.

Q: What did you find was the best way to support your husband while he was studying this first year?

A: Talk about school/study struggles often - encouragingly, be ready in late evening to do something to break the study trance so he will not tormentedly study in his sleep, narrow my items I am wanting to discuss down to top 2 or 3(keep it simple).

Q: Did school become stressful on your relationship at any time? How did it effect the relationships he has with other family members and friends?

A: While we have our challenges, school was not the cause of relationship stress. Everything but school was just put on minimal maintenance so we could make it through - drama was chased off with a stick (southern phrase). Some branches of our extended family anticipated/knew and encouraged this - the others understood it and accepted with time and explanation. We highlighted how much we would look forward to more time and visits in a few years when we could breathe and enjoy them.

Q: What solutions have you found for dealing with the stress or burn out for either you or your spouse?

A: During ISAC we had a family home evening party with Martinelli's toast’s every Friday - celebrating surviving another week. We also made countdown paper chains. Complements activities brought smiles to many weary students. Overall though I think the students playing together - basketball or other sports helped and little short family visits/lunches encouragement helped the most.

Q: Do you feel connected with other med school wives, and have you found good friends?

A: Yes - I feel very blessed by this. I do not see many very often but when I do or even see posts on the Complements FB page, it really lifts and strengthen me.

Q: Any advice you would give to new medical student significant others?

A: Make sure you budget out your expenses upfront. Students will be in study la la land as soon as they get their white coats on and they won’t need that stressor/drama. Live as close to the school as possible, be involved at the school as much as you can, and be involved with Complements Club even if very minimally. Embrace the community/area - it will be a blessing and you will feel very blessed/happy here. Explore the outdoor/rec opportunities here. There are so many great places right here or within an hour's drive. Bring your bike and not much else. The furniture share, yard sales, thrift shops and other resources here are great and generous. We wish we would have come with just our suitcases!