Many of you may remember me mentioning a slight change in my blog. For those who are really on top of it, you will notice that I now have a brand new title. If you have been reading you know I have an obsession with titles. So, I went and changed my title to fit the new phase of our life we are starting. Don't worry we are still filled with lots of Bon Bons and Boo Boos, but times change and I want to change with them. What can you expect? I have no idea.
I will never forget that orientation day 2 years ago when J and I walked through the med school doors. For me, I was taken back to my first days at A&M. You know the feeling... the butterflies of excitement, the feeling of a fresh start and the confusion of not knowing what the heck to do. It was the same way this day. Being a sucker for schedules and meetings, I was having a blast. There was also lots of cookies and snacks, I just knew this place was going to be great.
It soon came time for a special "significant others" session. Since I considered myself one of those, I decided to go. In this group we were going to learn all about what to expect the next four years. A very pleasant looking lady, who we can call Dr. Jekyll, explained that the first two years are all pure academics. Our students would be learning the basics of medicine. We should support them in their studies and encourage them at all times. Seemed simple enough to me. Then it was time for third year. A hush fell over the crowd. Dr. Jekyll suddenly turned into Mrs. Hyde. As she turned to face us, I was reminded of that scene in "The Wizard of OZ" when the bad witch is flying on her broom cackling as loud as can be.
"Third Year is not like the first two..." [Mrs. Hyde cackles while the theme to Jaws echoes in the background.]
"Third year will be the true test of your student and your relationship. All rules are off"
**Excuse me? What happened to the cookies and snacks and hugs we were getting earlier??
"Just know that if you depend on your student for any kind of support, you just need to get over that and learn how to do everything by yourself because that is how it will be during third year. Just prepare yourself now." [This was followed by lots of loud cackling and I believe a broomstick flying off into the recreation center. But don't quote me on that.]
What a welcome! I would have dismissed this Jekyll and Hyde woman but the horror stories continued. Other wives told me tales of never seeing their husbands and the enormous stress. All the literature they gave us had the facts printed in black and white: The insane hours, the tests, and the pressure. Even my OB/GYN who graduated from J's school, reaffirmed what I had been hearing. Bottom line - I needed to get ready.
So, here we are. The dreaded third year has begun. J started a week ago. Up until this point I have not talked very much about J's school and our life in dealing with his studies for a couple of reasons. First, like I wrote, the first two years are filled with book learning. There were some interesting stories but basically it would not have been very exciting for me to write about J reading his biochem book for the millionth time.
The other reason it has not been a huge focus in my writing is for more selfish, personal reasons. Many of you know what it feels like to lose your identity after having kids. You are no longer an unique individual but belong to someone else. For example, no matter what I do I am labeled Ashley and Landen's mom. With Jessie's school it just takes my identity one step even lower. I can't even tell you how many times in conversations I have been asked about his school but not one question about me. Here is often how it goes:
Anonymous Person: "Hi, how your kids?"
Lost Identity Jennifer: "Good, they are just growing every day."
Anonymous Person: "What about J's school, how long does he have left? what specialty does he want to go into? how does he like it? tell me ALL about it!"
Lost Identity Jennifer: Usual standard answers.
Anonymous Person: "Ok bye"
As you see I got a mention as a mom and as someone's wife. Nothing that screams Jenn in there. Silly? Of course it is. Is what I do very interesting? Nope. I realize staying at home is not as exciting as cutting open dead bodies and saving lives. I do realize that supporting J is an important part of my life and I should embrace it. After all it is interesting. It is not everyday that someone quits their stable, cushy job of 8 years to attend med school with a wife and two kids in tow. Third year will make all of that even more interesting and I think writing about it will not only interest a lot of people but also give a nice little record of the crazy things J will get to experience. Let's not forget I will also be starting a new chapter as I embark on my year of teaching four year olds at the kids' school, hence my preschool life as a third year wife.
So, what does this year have in store? Third year consists of about 8 rotations in different clinical specialties; Psychiatry, OB/GYN, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Surgical sub-specialty, Neurology and Pediatrics. Each rotation lasts from 4-8 weeks and varies on the intensity of hours and stress. Right now, J is in Psychiatry, which brings lots of interesting things. As the weeks pass, I will share some of his interesting experiences (without violating any privacy laws of course!) I will also share some of my thoughts on his rotations including my feelings on my hubby doing pelvic exams. How many of you out there can relate to that????? Once my job starts in August, I am sure I will also have some interesting tales of four year olds. Let's not forget the most important figures in all of this, my very own special little ones. Ashley and Landen will still get front and center attention. It's still me and I will still be writing about me, I am just in a new chapter, I can't wait to see how it will end.