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How do/did you maintain relationships during times of study?

My goal is to graduate from a 4 year university and work hard to attend a medical school. I worry that during this time my relationship with my family will be negatively affected.
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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Nixon!

Although I am not in medical school I have been at a 4 year college (and even a year longer because I transferred) and been able to maintain a romantic relationship as well as a relationship with my friends and family. It is all about balance. You need to be able to set your priorities and although school should be first, be sure to make some time for yourself and your family! Having a mental break from your studies and stress from school is important for your physical and mental health. Your family should also understand that what you are doing is going to take a lot of your energy and time so they need to be patient with you and try their best to work around your schedule when planning things.

I would recommend sitting down and talking with your family about what you expect from school and them, as your support system. Maybe setting something up with them every other week or something to spend some time with your family would be beneficial. Even shooting them a text or a phone call should be good as well!

Hope this help!

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Bryce’s Answer

Hi Nixon,

College can take a toll on relationships with family and friends from high school, but it doesn't always have to. College requires a lot of time and focus, but that does not have to come at the expense of your personal relationships. I moved a thousand miles away to go to college and I thought my relationships with my family and friends back home would really be hurt by my move away from home. This was the furthest thing from the truth because I kept in touch with them daily. Technology is a great resource to keep relationships going when you may not be able to physically see your family. I would text family and friends daily, facetime and make phone calls at 2-3 times a month, and just stay involved with what is going on at home. If you try to keep that relationship strong you will be able to keep that relationship strong. It is all up to you to put in that effort. I hope this helped and gave you a little better insight.

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Paola’s Answer

Hi Nixon. First of all, congrats on your decision to go to medical school! I wish you all possible success. There's no doubt that this path can take a toll on your friendships, but your true friends will admire and respect your decision to become a doctor, and they'll ALWAYS love you and support you, no matter what. I still have very close friends who have been by my side since high school. Even though getting together was difficult while I was going through med school, they understood and we found other ways to stay in touch, such as sharing pictures via email or social media, or making sure we talked on the phone from time to time. In life you will find that every person in your life follows their path, and the relationships that you have today, may not be there tomorrow. What matters is to show your friends how much they mean to you, and choose friends who are wiling to support your choices and encourage you along the journey.

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Greta’s Answer

All about balance.
- Set your priorities and make time for yourself and family!
- Schedule mental / physical breaks for stress relief which is important for your physical and mental health.
- Discuss your plans / schedule along with timeline with family and friends to create a support system along with barriers to protect you time
- Use technology to communicate which can increase remote relationship building

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Ryan’s Answer

Relationships are incredibly important, especially when it comes to family. I am a senior at university nearing graduation majoring in Management Information Systems (business computer science) so I have definitely had my struggle with balancing school and family life. No matter how hard it gets it is ABSOLUTELY possible! What it really comes down to is mindset. It took me my first 1-1.5 years to get the hang of everything, but ever since then I have had more than enough time for school, social life, and family time despite the moments/weeks where it felt impossible. If you keep the right mindset and keep on top of your schedule everything will be as smooth as it can be. For me, my week looks like school Mon-Thur for the mornings/afternoons, HW for the afternoons and mornings if possible, part-time work in the evenings, and then finally visiting home come the weekend with maybe one day set aside like Saturday or Sunday for myself and my friends. If you stay on top of deadlines and at least start things when you receive them, you'll be just fine. When things feel overwhelming it's important to take a breather and then map out your week on paper and list your priorities. For multiple years now I have successfully kept that schedule with only a couple of bumps and none of school, work, or friends/family have suffered! Just make sure your priorities are in place.

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Jenni’s Answer

Hi Nixon,
I am responding as an adult returning to college after 25+ years to pursue my Degree in Sociology, so I did not have that "4-year College" experience as a young adult, but I can offer my perspective on how to balance responsibilities in general. I am have been going to college part-time since 2014 and I have obtained (3) Associate Degrees and currently working towards my Bachelors. I fully expect that this will take me another 4-5 years as I'm only able to take 2 classes per Semester. I have a full-time career (25+ years) which is my first priority, so that takes up 8 hours Monday-Friday, and some additional hours here and there if I have special projects I'm working on. I also have 2 teenage boys that still at home 50% of the week and with their dad 50% of the week (and one adult son who is married and in the Air Force), plus a step-daughter that lives with us full-time. All of our kids are involved in some type of extra-curricular activity (hockey, soccer, gymnastics, guitar lessons, etc.) that require my assistance with travel, financial support, etc. In addition to that, I'm usually involved in some activities that are important to me (which are somewhat on hold right now due to Covid), such as social time with my friends, volunteering with my church or community, and personal time for myself which is essential to my mental/physical/spiritual well-being. So, as you can see, I have a LOT going on, and my weeks are typically jam-packed with activities and responsibilities. I am taking only 1 class this semester, virtually, so I also have to make time for my homework, studying and of course class time. The biggest takeaway I would leave you with is that IT CAN BE DONE. 10 years ago I could not imagine adding ONE MORE THING to my already busy mom/employee plate, but when I made the commitment to go to school, I did it for MYSELF. It was the best gift I have ever given to myself, investing in my education and my ongoing learning. Stay devoted to your studies, and make it a priority to invest the time you need to complete your assignments well and on-time. Do your best. Ask for help if you need it, engage a tutor or study partner. Make your studies your priority. However, it's equally as important to make TIME FOR YOURSELF. I learned this the hard way, after my health was not particularly well after years of having an overflowing plate and realizing that I was not taking care of MYSELF. It's really very important to make sure you are eating well, getting proper sleep, and taking care of your health (exercise, lose/gain/maintain weight, etc.) and do things that are important to you (meditate, music, art, walk, run, etc.) This also includes making time for family and friends, even if you have to schedule it and put it on our calendar. Block out time for all of your responsibilities every day / week / month and stick to it as much as you can. Those that love you will understand your busy schedule, and they will respect you if you find time for them along the way. ALL THE BEST TO YOU!

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Nixon,

That is a very real fear that is made more challenging by the profession that you have chosen, medicine. First, I would say that as you go to college all of your relationships are going to change as you have to make more time for school. And the key term there is TIME. You only have a finite amount of it and you are going to have to choose how to use it. So the second thing that I would want to say is this - get good at time management. You are going to need to become good at learning your own habits and making choices. So what habits am I talking about? I would want you to really think about when you study best. I am at my best during the morning hours. I think the most creatively and I learn the fastest during morning hours. When you learn and study during your best time, you are going to be more efficient with your time. If I have to study or learn something late at night, it takes me twice as long to get it. So I try to do the hard stuff - learning and studying - in the morning. The next thing is making choices. Since you are probably going to have less time, you have to make choices better. You may not be able to see your family every time they want you to come home, so what is important to be home for? Are there occasions that you cannot miss? I went away to college, but being home for Christmas, and doing every event, was big for my mom. So I didn't go home for her birthday or Easter because she didn't care as much about those things. Whenever I called home, I called at a time where everyone I would want to talk to would be together. When I did go home, I made sure to schedule time with all the people that I wanted to see to make sure that I did see them. I had a standing time to talk with my mom every week, without fail because that is what she needed. It didn't have to be for hours on end, but the call had to happen.

It will seem weird at first to schedule people and study time as if they are both appointments. That is the only way that I could make sure that I did all the things that were important for me and make sure that my loved ones knew that I made time for them too.

It is not an easy balancing act but it is well worth the effort to try. Good luck.
Gloria

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Nixon,

I did not go to medical school, but I did complete college while I was working in my 30's. This is going to sound silly, but you may need to book family and friend time. This will make sure that people you love know you are committed to them. Maybe it's dinner once a month or meeting up at the gym. Know that you are going to have to make tough choices. You are not going to be able to be at all the events, so choose them wisely.

Another thing is to make sure that your family understands why you cannot make some events. Talk with them. Ask questions about what events are you really expected to attend and which one can be optional for you. Family is an incredible resource. They are going to understand. They want what you want for you. So make sure that you are clear about your goals and have them help you meet them.

Gloria

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