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The Medical School Life

Medical School Begins

Back when Rob received his white coat and started medical school! August 6, 2012

Rob has just started his 4th year of medical school, which means it’s almost over (crazy!!!), but…we’re actually only about halfway to Rob being a practicing doctor. Residency here we come!

I wish I would have started blogging when Rob began medical school, to help out those as clueless as I was at the beginning, but in the spirit of being gentle with myself, I wasn’t ready until now to take on the commitment of blogging (it’s something you can’t force).

But you’ll get to read all about 4th year and residency!

I’m trying to remember details of what medical school has been like so far and here’s all I’ve got:

First Year: Rough.
Second Year: Rougher.
Third Year: Horrible.
Fourth Year: So far so good!

Don’t get me started on really thinking about residency yet. All I’ve heard from those that have preceded me is, “You think medical school is hard? Wait until residency.”


I guess what I mean when I say medical school (for both parties involved) has been “rough,” it’s the levels of stress and lack of time and room to breathe. Why does the whole thing have to be so intense and frantic? Who decided that this should be the life of a medical student as well as a doctor? I’d like to have a meeting with them to air my grievances.

But 4th year does seem pretty promising so far.

It’s a very flexible schedule and the med students choose which clinics they go to and what they study. Rob just finished his first rotation (about a month long) which was a mini-internship in family medicine. They scared us at the beginning with phrases like “expect 70-80 hour work weeks” and “on call every Saturday.” Surprisingly, Rob ended up getting to choose how long he stayed during the week, and he only had to do two Saturday calls. It’s been like Christmas!!

Next up, he’ll be around a lot more as he studies and takes his second board exam. We’re also doing some vacationing before the new school year begins for me (Wait. Did I just say the word vacation??? Could it be?? It’s Christmas again!). Then it’s several months of residency applications and interviews.

rob amy amy pookie

I’m pretty excited about all of this. I’ll get to see Rob more, maybe even talk to him for longer than 30 minutes at a time, get more help around the house and with Pookie, and maybe we can even start working on some projects.

Glorious, glorious, 4th year. It’s the calm before the storm of residency, but I’ll take it! 😀


{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Kristin Philip June 23, 2015, 9:12 am

    Amy, I think you hit the nail right on the head with those four lines about the different years of medical school. I love reading your blog!


  • Amy Rakowczyk June 23, 2015, 8:39 pm

    Thanks, Kristin! I hope you are well!

  • Anderson November 8, 2016, 12:00 pm

    Hi Amy,

    I’ve never been into blog reading, but I ran into your blog while surfing through the Student Doctor Network. You had written a piece on having kids while in med school, I immediately sent my wife the link(this is all happening in the last 3 hours). I’am currently serving in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, I’ve been in for 7 years and have 18 months left(YAY!!). My goal is to pursue medicine, I was wondering what advice you have for prior service members who are interested in pursuing med school. How was the adjustment for you and your husband, going from active duty to a student status. What advice can he give a fellow sailor? I hope I can receive a reply and thank you for your blog and time.

    Anderson A. (HM2 Active)

    • Amy Rakowczyk November 8, 2016, 3:45 pm

      Hi Anderson! Thank you so much for your thoughtful message! What a great blog post idea you’ve given me – and I definitely will ask my hubby to do a guest post on this topic.

      For now, here are my thoughts on transitioning. In all honestly, it was harder for us that we expected. We were told that med school would be a breeze after we survived Rob serving on subs for 7 years. Med school provided unique challenges that really tested us. This is not the case for everyone, of course, it’s just how it went for us.

      To give specific, here were the biggest challenges in transitioning for us:
      1. Financial. It was tough going from having a good, largely tax-free service income with free health care to student status which is no income, living off of loans, and paying for taxes and healthcare. I worked but didn’t make a good salary, so it was still challenging. And then we had a kid on top of it! 🙂 We still haven’t quite adjusted but have slowly been figuring out how to make ends meet. My advice is to save as much as you can now to help cover living expenses while in med school! Hopefully you have the GI-Bill to cover tuition and give you a monthly stipend, so that will help!

      2. Community. You need the same type of community (especially your wife will) that you had access to in the military, but it will be harder to find in med school. Your wife will need to try her best to make connections with other med spouses. They just get it. Like how service families just get it. And she will need the support.

      3. Time management. You will now be in charge of your time, which is an odd thing after the military running your life for so long! You have choices, you get to decide how long you spend on different school items and family items. It makes the work-life balance a bit trickier to navigate. It’s easy to accept a service members absence when there is no choice. It’s harder when a med student is choosing how many hours they want/need to study. Communication will be key. Check out my SDN article on this topic here: http://www.studentdoctor.net/2016/09/14696/

      Hopefully that’s helpful! Join my mailing list (click here: http://eepurl.com/bs4cUT) so you’ll be notified when I put up a detailed post on this topic!

      Wishing you all the best!

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