06 June 2012

Yr 1 Perspective of a Med School Girlfriend: Sierra

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

A: I am originally from Eugene, Oregon and the youngest of my parents’ three children. I moved to Corvallis when I was 18 to study mathematics at Oregon State University where I met Bryan on my third day of classes. We both finished our undergraduate degrees in 2010 and then he stayed in Corvallis to be with me while I began a master’s program for mathematics education. In Spring 2011, we moved to Lebanon in preparation for his first year at COMP-NW and I finished my graduate degree. We are engaged to be married this July.

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

A: I work full time, so as he is leaving for school, I am also on my way out. We usually don’t see each other during the day unless we cross paths at lunch or at the gym in the afternoons. I use the evenings to do dishes, do laundry, pay bills, etc. and most importantly…get his coffee ready for the next day!

On the weekends, Bryan likes to catch-up on studying and I usually make my way to Eugene to do wedding planning with my family (about every other weekend). As strange as it seems to spend half my weekends away from him when we have such little time together as it is, I know that keeping the majority of the wedding planning out of our household has been for the best – this ensures it doesn’t become an extra stress in Bryan’s life and that it doesn’t consume mine!

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

A: I think it’s just been helpful that I have been working throughout the year to provide some income to our household and it’s been nice to have my own thing to focus on. I’ve also met some great people through work, which is always a plus.

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

A: Quizzing him when he needs it and taking him food when he studies at school longer than expected. I’ve also found it helpful to ask about his day and his plans for the evening when we both get home. This helps me plan my tasks for the evening so I don’t miss any quality time with him if he plans on finishing his studying early for the night.

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: It sucks when it gets close to tests because he usually spends all his “free” time studying at school, so I don’t see him much around those times. But that’s the extent of any stress caused by school and he always makes sure to set aside a day just to spend time with me after a test to make up for his absence, whenever possible.

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

A: We have both been exercising fairly regularly and I think this has been important for both of us to deal with our stress after school/work before coming home for the night. We also adopted a kitten in November and as silly as it may sound, it’s been great having the cat around to distract us from our other responsibilities every once in awhile.

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

A: I’m not a very social person, but I have made a few close friends with other med school significant others and it’s nice to chat with them every once in awhile about how things are going to get some comfort/reassurance when things start to seem overwhelming.

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

A: I would just encourage you to make sure you have your own thing. Be there for him, but find your own opportunities to shine! ☺