10 Questions for a Recently Engaged Medical Student

Big news recently – I got engaged a few weeks ago! It’s obviously a very exciting time of life, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what it’s like to be engaged as a medical student. Considering that there are at least 12 people in my class who are engaged (Class of 2017) and even more in other classes here at USCSOMG, I’ll attempt to answer some of the most common questions I’ve heard about engagement during medical school:

  1. How many people have a significant other during medical school?

Well, in my class (Class of 2017, 54 students), I count 14 classmates who are currently married, and another 12 of us who are engaged. Together, that’s about half of my class. And there are a whole lot of other people who are in dating relationships. These statistics could be an abnormality unique to my class, but I know there are many students in the other classes here at USCSOMG who are dating, engaged, or married, too. So maybe dating during medical school isn’t as unusual as you might think….


  1. How do you even have time to date someone during medical school???

Well, I’d say it’s all about making time for what matters to you. Whether that’s making time to visit family, to exercise, or to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, you’ll figure out how to make time for the important things. There may be days or weeks that are harder to do that than others (for example, test week is almost never a good time for a date), but there are plenty of good times to have fun outside of school if you plan it right (for example, post-test weekends are the best time for dating). And it is entirely possible to see your significant other frequently if you make time for it – I currently see my fiancé at least every other day, and if we can’t see each other in person then we talk on the phone. Contrary to popular belief, medical school doesn’t require you to live in a cave and never see other people.


  1. What about long-distance relationships during medical school?

See #2. It’s all about priorities, communication, and time-management.


  1. What are the best date ideas for someone dating a medical student?

Anything that doesn’t involve studying. Some of my classmates love relaxing and watching movies with their boyfriend/girlfriend to de-stress, and others love getting outside to run or hike together. Admittedly, though, thoughtful surprises during a stressful week of medical school are always appreciated! When they make dinner so you can eat together, that’s pretty great.


  1. Do you practice your clinical skills on your boyfriend/girlfriend?

No, I don’t. He’s more than willing to help quiz me on my pharmacology flashcards, and listening to him try to pronounce “podophyllotoxin” is suffering enough.


  1. How do you even have time to plan a wedding?

If you got into medical school, chances are that you’re a pretty type-A, organized, diligent person already. Wedding planning uses those same skills. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine – it’s the same time-management skills you’ll be using day in and day out during medical school. Personally, I like to use my wedding planning time as a reward for getting through scheduled study time for the day.


  1. Does it matter what kind of engagement ring you get, because you are going to be a doctor?

No, you’ll probably have to take off your ring a lot anyway during procedures in the hospital because a ring isn’t sterile, so it doesn’t matter that much. However, a lower setting for your ring might be easier for those times when you quickly pull on exam gloves to palpate skin or touch a rash.


  1. When is the best time to get married during medical school?

Most of my classmates have scheduled their weddings over summer breaks after first and second year, simply because that is when we have the longest breaks during our academic calendar. However, some classmates have gotten married over Christmas break, Labor Day weekend, and even during a normal weekend between rotations during 3rd year. There are plenty of options of wedding dates for those who want to be more creative.


  1. Does anyone have kids during medical school?

Yes! There are several students at our school who have children. I think most of them treat medical school as a job, and they make sure that they leave by dinnertime every day. The rest of us love it when they bring their kids for a visit to school for an evening special speaker or for another event.


  1. Are you getting married “just to get him/her to pay your bills”?

Yes, this is a real question that one of my classmates has been asked!! And of course the answer is no, although anyone who marries a medical student has to realize that they are taking on a whole lot of student loans and a very time-demanding career – dating or marrying you is a big commitment for them, too.



Rachel Donaldson

Rachel Nelson

I’m originally from Brentwood, Tennessee, and I came to South Carolina to attend college at Furman University where I was a music major, outdoor enthusiast and lover of life. I never expected to spend four more years here in Greenville, but I could not be more excited to have the opportunity to stay and be a part of this incredible program at the USC School of Medicine in Greenville! I hope that through this blog you will be able to see, as I did, a glimpse of the inspiring vision and stunning reality of this medical school, and that you will share in our innovative and hands-on journey to becoming tomorrow’s doctors.

Kristin Lacey