Medical students with families find support in at school and at home
M4 Michael is nearing the end of his med school journey with residency interview season right around the corner. As a husband and a father, Michael is one of nearly 10% of our med students who undertake their training with families by their side. Here he answers nine questions about choosing a path inspired by and integrated with the most important people in his life.
My mom’s work as a family physician was my main inspiration to pursue a career in medicine. As I was finishing up college, she spent time caring for different underserved populations. She was part of the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort on a federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team, she worked on a reservation with Indian Health Services, and she volunteered in a homeless clinic. Hearing her stories made me realize that I too wanted to be able to have that kind of effect on people’s lives.
I was looking for a program with lots of opportunities, supportive faculty, and happy students. Although I found that I personally learn better in person, recorded lectures are great when you need a little flexibility. Michigan Med's curriculum is both flexible enough to allow for great work/life balance and rigorous enough to shape me into the clinician I want to be.
Days where I leave home before my kids wake up and get back after they’ve fallen asleep are the worst. Seeing my kids grow and learn new things is definitely the best part of being a med student with a family, and explaining my day to my three-year-old always reminds me how cool medical school is.
My classmates have been my most helpful resource. We recommend each other study materials, dry cleaners, dentists, elective rotations, you name it. One of my favorite resources for students with families is the M-Home. My son’s first time bowling was at Salk House vs. Fitzbutler House!
Ann Arbor has been a great place for me to raise my family. There’s good food, not much traffic (I’m from LA), over 100 parks, and I really like having seasons. If you drive 15 minutes during the summer you can go berry picking!
I love to spend time with my family! On football game days, we head over to Revelli Hall to watch the marching band make their way to the Big House. The rest of the time, we go on walks in the woods near our house, bike around our neighborhood, go canoeing on the Huron River, and get ice cream at Blank Slate Creamery. We also like to feed the animals at Domino’s Petting Farm or play with all the neat stuff at the Hands On Museum.
This fall I’m applying for residency in urology. The number one question I had in mind while picking a specialty was “What will I be happiest doing?” I also considered things like length of training, how applying into a more competitive specialty means I’ll have less control over where I’ll end up geographically, and what kinds of hours I’ll be working both during training and as an attending. These things all matter, but at the end of the day I felt the most important thing is that I pick a specialty that I’ll enjoy for decades to come. Regarding the residency match, I feel pretty well-prepared. We have plenty of advice along the way – everything from “how do I write a personal statement?” via the Branches to nitty gritty specialty-specific advice from urology faculty.
When you’re on the wards, the time you have available to spend with the kids is limited so make good use of it! Going out and doing something together is much better than sitting around at home together.