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Finding Independence and Personal Growth Through My Medical Relationship

Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.”—Mark Twain

When I began PA school, I was in a good place. I had recently gotten out of a sour relationship a few months prior, I was in the best shape of my life, and I was finally on the path to the career of my dreams at 23 years young. I was living in a new city, in a beautiful high-rise apartment on my own and completely satisfied with my new-found, independent and single-life. Never had I imagined that I’d meet an incredible person who quickly became my study buddy, my best friend, and my “person.”

Going into PA school, my independence was an essential part of my identity. For most of human history, women have been defined by the men that they associated with, and as a modern woman in medicine I felt it was my obligation - rather, my privilege - to break that mold and establish my own success as a female PA student. In the wise words of Destiny’s Child, “I worked hard and sacrificed to get what I get. Ladies, it ain't easy being independent.”

So as I started my first semester of PA school, finding a relationship was the furthest thing from my mind. But sometimes life takes you by surprise in the most beautiful ways.

Jorge “George” and I were in the same PA class. A small 45 student class. I must admit, he hadn’t caught my attention initially, but to be completely honest, no one did. I wasn’t looking for anyone. I still remember our first conversation. Our class had just finished an Anatomy exam so a group of us went to the on-campus Chili’s for a celebratory drink and some lunch. We were all chatting as a group, but Jorge made extra effort to talk to me. At the end of the day, we exchanged numbers, claiming it was so we could get together to study sometime. That very weekend we did just that. First it was studying, then cooking and going to the gym together. Eventually we were inseparable! Jorge has this energy about him, it’s almost contagious. You can’t help but love him. His personality is one of his greatest attributes.

"What Jorge taught me is that sometimes relationships can be a strengthening force in your success, rather than take away from your personal independence."

The good, the bad, and the ugly of PA school, we have been through it all TOGETHER. Those long nights and early mornings studying during didactic year and those amazing days during clinical year we have shared. We have laughed and cried, we’ve focused and have wasted time together. Fast forward two years and here we are. We have graduated, passed our boards, and about to start our careers for real! I am so excited to embark on this new adventure together.

What Jorge taught me is that sometimes relationships can be a strengthening force in your success, rather than take away from your personal independence. Our relationship is powerful because it makes both of us stronger together than we might have been on our own. By supporting each other’s passions and dreams, we have both flourished independently by each other’s side, allowing us to form a bond that is based on shared values and mutual respect.

Relationships in medicine are integral. You are going to have some great days, and some pretty gnarly days too. It is nice to have a patient and kind person to share it all with. Although I was once content with my solo status, looking back, I now couldn’t have imagined this journey without him.