There was a quote that I saw on Pinterest that I liked a lot. It stated, “You can always redo a course, but you can never redo a life.”
Now don’t think I’m saying to go off, have a ton of fun and not worry about medical school. DO NOT DO THAT. What I’m saying is, make sure you don’t forget about your life outside of school. It is something that is very easily done when you’re taking (on average) one test a week for two years straight. Make sure that you take some time to spend with the ones you care about.
This means setting aside time to call your significant other or text them every now and again to let them know that you’re thinking of them. In a long-distance relationship, the little things are key. You no longer have the option to show them in big ways that you care about them. The little things, like maybe Facetiming or Skyping for three minutes before going to bed, or sending them a letter in the mail, mean the world to someone who you aren’t able to see for a long time.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years, the whole time long-distance (at first, only three hours away; now it’s 10 hours and a time zone away). We like to plan a Skype date at least once a month where we take an evening and actually plan something to do together even though we’re far away. This could be making a meal together, watching a movie — you can get super creative with it! When I first moved out here, my boyfriend had the idea to go to the zoo together online. We researched live camera feeds from different zoos all around the world and went to the sites together and watched the animals. It was very creative and meant a lot to me because he incorporated something unique we could do together while being away from each other. Just yesterday, I planned a Skype date where we played Battleship. I sent him a package in the mail of one of the boards of Battleship and a bunch of sea-related foods such as Goldfish, Swedish Fish and gummy worms (to hook baits) and we played the game and at the same candy for our date.
You will go from being able to talk to your significant other with more than just your words (i.e. body language, talking through the eyes, being able to hold each other’s hands), to only having words when you move away from them.
I’ve found that being able to describe my feelings to him over a phone call or over Skype is the hardest thing when you’re stressed about school. There will be times where you just have to walk away from the conversation and really think of how you can get your message across to your significant other without blowing up or offending the other person. Just remember at the end of each day, they love you. Trust me, they wouldn’t be putting up with your crazy study and exam schedule and moving hours and hours away if they didn’t.
Being in a long-distance relationship also allows you to cherish the time you do have together when they visit or when you come home. Make sure to do something fun and interesting with them at least once when you see them, but also take time to just relax together and read a book or watch a movie. The time you’re in medical school and away from them — even though at the time it seems like forever long — will go by in a blink of an eye when you look at how far you’ve come in your education and how many years you’ll have together after medical school if you master the knacks of a long-distance relationship.
This post was adapted from “Recipes for Success,” a guidebook put together by D.P.M. students for all incoming students in the hopes of getting them on the right track once they get to DMU.