lessons learned from our first year of dental school


over the summer i've had a lot of time to reflect on how this last year went for our little family. 
my first reaction is to say, "it was a lot better than planned!" which i think is true to an extent. 

before we moved for dental school, i was trying to prepare myself for never ever seeing Adam, having to do most things on my own, and basically know that i will probably be an emotional wreck all the time. {the latter being Adam's biggest fear whenever we talked about dental school plans.}
and for the most part, i think it's safe to say none of those big fears really came true. 
so in that sense, yes it went a lot better than planned. 

but then i look back and think... man, when i was struggling, i was struggling! 
it wasn't just normal emotional breakdowns that i was kind of aware i was susceptible to. it was full-blown frustrations/anger/rage-fests where i would question everything in my life that made me get to this place i {apparently deep down} hated so much. 

i felt more volatile in my emotions because my life felt more unpredictable. 
toddlers are not easy to understand, 
my husband's school/work/church demands are not easy to understand, 
my own ambitions and desires were becoming harder to understand, 
nothing ever seemed to be going according to plan. 
struggle.struggle.struggle.

though there were a lot more good times than bad, the bad ones were still bad. and it truly put our family through a trial by fire in a sense. 

this summer [although Adam had to work most of the summer & study for boards the first half...] we started making it a point to actually do stuff, either as a couple or as a family. 
part of it was that we were just trying to live up the only free time we had after a busy year. 
but the other part of it was that we really felt disconnected from one another and needed to get that back on track. 

i can see now how there were many things we went about the wrong way. 
mainly: we didn't put our relationship first nearly as much as we should've. 

we put family first. but not us. 

so if i could tell any other couples who are just starting out in school whether it be undergrad/grad/professional/residency/whatever, it would be this: 
GET OUT! 

get out of the house alone. 
get out and do something that will help you reconnect. 
get out of the rut you may have/eventually will build up around your relationship and do something else. 

you have big papers and tests and practicals and presentations? 
put them down for 2 hours on a weekend night and get out
your project will survive, your grades will survive, and more importantly your relationship will have a chance to survive. 

you don't have to do something fancy or expensive or even well-thought out. 
just get out and do something

this is a rule {and habit!} we are trying to follow more this year. 
our goal is once a month though we would prefer every other week. 
even when Adam just shuts his computer down early, brings out the Oreos, and watches another episode of Freaks & Geeks with me before bed it makes my heart all a-flutter and i feel closer to him than i did ten minutes before. 

truly makes all the difference! 

5 comments:

Camille Millecam Whiting said...

Amen AMen AMEn AMEN! Can't champion the date night enough, even if it's just a walk for an hour alone together :)

Katie Elizabeth Hawkes said...

Can I be real for a second and tell you I started crying when I read this paragraph:

i felt more volatile in my emotions because my life felt more unpredictable.
toddlers are not easy to understand,
my husband's school/work/church demands are not easy to understand,
my own ambitions and desires were becoming harder to understand,
nothing ever seemed to be going according to plan.
struggle.struggle.struggle.

...how's that for emotional wreck? haha. But really, I had a struggle day today and I legitimately was just thinking "I don't understand anything and I often feel like Heavenly Father is vaguely disappointed in me for (insert any number of reasons)." I'm sure those thoughts are not necessarily true or fair to myself. But, in any case, I liked that paragraph you wrote because I understand it. Meaning, I understand not understanding yourself or your life sometimes!

holli h. said...

Freaks and Geeks solves EVERYTHING. love love love that show!

holli h. said...

Freaks and Geeks solves EVERYTHING. love love love that show!

Autumn said...

I so agree with everything you said. Devin took CPA exams and traveled half of the year last year. He isn't taking CPA exams anymore, but he works just as much as he studied and is traveling again half the year.

We are making lots of sacrifices for our family (future and present) and not enough for US. Thanks for sharing this!!