by Reese Imhof
Being married in medical school has its challenges along with its advantages. My wife Nicole and I had our wedding less than a year before I entered Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. We’ve known each other since our senior year of high school and we lived together in New York, where we are both from, before making the move out to Rochester, Minnesota. Nicole works at Mayo Clinic as a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in mental health and psychotherapy. Sharing the experience of being a part of the Mayo Clinic family has brought us closer during a time when being in a relationship sometimes feels quite difficult due to the demands of studying, class schedules, and other responsibilities that come along with medical school.
Living with your spouse or partner in medical school is great because your support system is right there in the same household. I’m very fortunate that I have a spouse who works more regular hours and is able to take care of many of the household chores and responsibilities that I sometimes don’t have time to do. Besides practical support such as cooking meals or making sure I have clean clothes on weeks when I have a very hectic schedule, the emotional support Nicole provides is a lifesaver during high stress periods of medical school.
Successfully managing stress during my first year of medical school has been an ongoing process. Having a supportive spouse, who is there for me to talk to and always encourages me to keep doing my best, has been very important to me. I also find that having the commitment and bond of marriage has helped me and my wife get through times when I may not see her as often as I’d like to. That being said, it can also be challenging to focus on studying when we haven’t spent time together in a while.
Supporting each other in our educational and professional goals has always been a part of our relationship. Nicole has 2 Master's degrees and while pursuing her graduate studies, she worked full-time in the mental health field along with a 12-hour a week clinical internship, so we are both used to having one member of the relationship supporting the other in both practical and emotional ways. I remember cooking dinner for her or making sure she had clean clothes for work during the weeks when she wouldn’t get home until 11:00 at night after a long day of work, internship, and classes. I also remember being there for her in times of high stress. I’m grateful that I have a relationship where we have both helped each other succeed in our separate educational pursuits.
Overall, having the support of a spouse or partner during medical school can be amazing so long as you and your partner understand that there will also be difficult times and long days to get through. I look forward to seeing what the next few years of medical school will yield and how my relationship with my wife will continue to grow and be strengthened.
To end this post, I’ll share the top 5 things that have been helpful for maintaining the strength of our relationship during medical school.
Reese is a first year medical student and a member of the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine Social Media Committee. He is a native New Yorker who worked as a graphic designer and entrepreneur before coming to medical school. He loves living in Rochester with his wife, Nicole, and their dog and two cats. His hobbies include biking, running, hiking, photography, and writing.