13 June 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Wife: Kristy

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

A: Josh and I are both from Idaho Falls. We met during the summer after I graduated from college with an English Education degree. We only went on two official dates before I moved away to begin a job teaching high school English and Creative Writing in Ontario, Oregon and he moved to Logan, Utah to go to Utah State University. Our entire relationship was long distance pretty much; we talked on the phone a lot and saw each other once or twice a month. We got married in January 2007 on one of the coldest days I can ever remember in Idaho Falls. Josh then transferred to Boise State so I could continue teaching (Ontario is only about 45 minutes from BSU). After the birth of our first child (who is now 4), I felt a great need to stay at home with her so I finished my second year of teaching and didn't renew my contract. We decided we wanted to be closer to family so Josh again transferred schools, this time to BYU and we moved to Provo, UT where Josh's sister and several of our friends lived and which was much closer to the rest of our families. At the time, Josh was majoring in Economics with plans to go to law school after BYU, but neither of us could ever feel like that was actually the right path for him to take, so after a lot of discussing, investigating options, seeking advice, and praying, he completely changed direction and started looking into medical school. When he talked to the people in the pre-med advising office at BYU, they told him that there was no way he could complete the application process and all that came with it in the time frame that we were hoping for to start med school in 2011. Obviously they were wrong, and I am really glad we didn't listen and that we went forward with our plans. While in Provo, our second daughter (our wild 2 year old) was born and 7 weeks ago our son was born.

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

A: I am a stay at home mom, so my days are filled with trying to keep up with our kids while keeping order the best I can in our home so that when Josh comes home, he doesn't have to feel like he needs to help with housework or do anything besides relaxing for a while and spending time with us.

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

A: Always being his number one fan was the most important role I've had. They can get discouraged because even if they are doing well, the ranking and competition that is a natural part of med school can wear on them, so I just always made sure to let Josh know that he was going to be okay, no matter what his test grade was or how he compared. I also tried to make test days special as well, like cooking more significant/special meals or setting up fun family activities for after the test that wouldn't take too much time but were out of the ordinary and gave Josh a chance to relax and play for a while.

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: Josh and I are both pretty low stress people that don't tend to make a big deal out of things, so I would say that it hasn't really put much stress on our relationship, but I think that it magnifies any problems that were already existing. It has changed how often Josh talks to our extended family because he doesn't have as much free time. He used to talk on the phone to his parents almost every day, but now it is scheduled for Sundays and they talk to me more often and ask about him.

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

A: When I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I have come to rely on those who I have met here, mostly from the SO club. Play dates are a great relief! I also feel like I have finally come to enjoy going to walks in the rain. As for Josh, when he is stressed, we will watch a movie together, or play games, or he wrestles with the kids. Now that we have reached the end of the school year, we also have started a garden, which is something that really helps Josh with stress. I guess really you just have to find things that you like to do, and find ways to fit those things in. There has to be balance because if all you have is school, it will get old really fast.

Q: Do you feel connected with other signicant others of students, and have you found good friends?

A: Absolutely. I feel really blessed to be having this experience here where I have been able to meet such wonderful ladies that I have connected with. I never feel like I have to go it alone because no matter how busy Josh gets, there are people to talk to and spend time with that I love to be with. It's so great that I can be certain that I will have a good time if I go to any of the activities because no matter what we do, we have a fun time doing it.

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

A: One of the most important things that has kept us going as a family is the 1-2 hours a day that Josh spends at home with us. It may seem like such a small amount of time that it wouldn't matter, but it helps Josh not get burned out because he has to take a break which recharges him, and it also makes us all focus on quality family time because there isn't much in quantity.