Tonight is a HUGE night and I can barely contain my excitement. I have the "enhanced" version of last season's finale of Lost, the second episode of Gossip Girl and a new magazine in the mail (one of my 12 I subscribe too). Life doesn't get better than this. You may be wondering why I care about two shows that I have already seen, but with the writer's strike I have been having major withdrawal symptoms from good tv and those are my favorite shows. Tomorrow night is even bigger with the season premiere of Lost, so tonight is just getting me more pumped up for an even bigger night. If you are not a follower of either show, it is time to get in the game and enjoy tv at its best.
After getting the excitement out of my system, I am ready to move onto today's topic - Frequently Asked Questions. In case you don't know, after 8 years of working as a electrical engineer (and a master's degree), my hubby decided to leave his career and start medical school. Since we have started on this new journey I have received many, many questions regarding our situation. So, here are the most frequently asked questions and the answers to put everyone's mind at ease.
1. How did Jessie ever come up with the idea to go to medical school?
I really don't know. I have always told him he was smart enough to be a doctor, and he was hating his job and engineering in general. He said it wasn't challenging enough - which I totally sympathized with since everyone knows how easy electrical engineering is. His youngest brother had always wanted to go to medical school too, so Jessie started asking questions and thinking about it. He then decided to find out what pre-reqs he needed and started taking classes at night to find out if he would like them. Obviously, he liked them.
2. How were you ok with him leaving his stable, good paying job?
When the idea first started Ashley was still really young and it never really occurred to me that it might actually happen. He has expressed lots of interests and ideas through the years, so originally I thought it was just another passing thought. Then, the next thing I know he likes his classes. The next thing I know he has taken the MCAT and scored in the top 1% of all test takers in the nation. This was a huge sign for me. It was obvious to me that he had a true aptitude for the material. The final sign was when he had been accepted to UT Southwestern, which is exactly what we wanted to happen. So, really God determined that this was the right path. Everything fell into place. As for supporting the final decision, it was easy. Life is too short to spend so much time at a job you hate. Every day he would come home and complain and that made me feel bad for him and also feel guilty since he was having to work to support me and Ashley (we only had her at the time). I definitely did not want to stand in the way of something that was obviously meant to be. I told him we would make it work, and we have.
3. How long does medical school take and how much longer does he have?
A VERY long time. School itself is four years. Jessie is in the second half of his second year. This is the last year of the really hardcore academic stuff and the next two years are spent rotating in various specialties. This year and next year are the hardest years. After school, is residency. He will make a salary at this time, but it will be similar to school. Residencies last anywhere from 3-7 years depending on the specialty.
4. Has he decided on a specialty?
He changes his mind all the time but is leaning towards something in surgery. He also likes radiology. This summer he did a radiation oncology internship and did some amazing things. He probably won't decide until next year.
5. What is his schedule like? How does it affect family time?
The first semester was very tough. He had classes and labs that required him to be gone all day and study at night. I had a hard time adjusting, especially with two little kids. Since then, things have become a lot easier. He has a super flexible schedule, so that is really nice. He can watch most lectures online. He does that a lot which allows him to stay closer to home and see us more. The hardest times are right before tests. He will be gone all day and night most of those weeks so he can be prepared. The hardest thing about this year is there is a test every two to three weeks. So, we will have a good week (this week) then a week or two of harder times. One of the best perks is the vacation. He got three weeks at Christmas and will get two weeks at Spring Break. These vacations end with third year though when he will be working all the time at the hospital. I am not looking forward to that.
6. What do you do for health insurance?
We use private health insurance. It is expensive and absolutely horrible insurance, but if we have an emergency it will be good. With two little kids we end up spending a ton of money on medical stuff.
7. How do you live??? How do you pay for things? Why do you not work when you have no income?
These are the most popular questions, and a lot of people feel bad for asking. It doesn't offend me, I would want to know too. After working for 8 years, we had money saved, so we use that money (basically we have retired early!). We also qualify for some grants and loans and take as much as we are allowed. However, our goal is to graduate with zero or very little debt.
I don't work because financially it doesn't make sense. We sat down and figured out all of our expenses on a teacher's salary and I would actually bring home very little money. For a few hundred dollars a month, it is just not worth it to me. I would much rather be with my kids. I might have to go back to work at some point but I am finallyt at peace with the idea that I am meant to stay at home. It was a hard thing to come to terms with. I worked extremely hard during school to make top grades as I envisioned myself being some big time corporate executive one day. But now, I realize I am where I need to be. And if nothing else, I can be considered the CEO around here.
I hope that answers any questions you may have. Feel free to email me if you have any more. The bottom line is - follow your dreams and your heart, it is really worth it. It has been for Jessie and me too. He gets to do something that is rewarding and exciting to him and I get to see someone I love be happy.
Finally, here is a picture of the day Jessie got his white coat - it was very exciting. If we are having a hard day, I like to look at it and be reminded of how handsome he looks as a "doctor" and I definitely know the decision is worth it!:-)