Amanda Xi, Medical Student, 09:49AM May 5, 2013
When I was in middle school, I painted this vivid picture in my mind of the next 10 years. It included finishing high school, going to a premier college followed by a well-regarded medical school. Along the way, I would meet the right partner and we would get married before residency. I imagined that I would have a family by the time I was done with residency.
Obviously my middle school aspirations didn't quite pan out that way. Instead of finishing high school, I opted to start college early in Great Barrington, MA. When I had to choose a medical school, I fell in love with the brand new one. My significant other is currently over 2,000 miles away. I've come to accept that detailed planning for the future is futile.
But many of my female colleagues do not share this notion when it is applied to family planning. At the American Medical Women's Association 98th Annual Meeting I attended in March, the reverberating advice I heard was: make a plan for when you want to have children. Although there's never a "right time" for women in medicine to have children, at least having a plan in place makes it easier for the appropriate arrangements to be made. This advice - while not applicable to everyone - makes a lot of sense, even when taking into account unforeseen challenges ahead. In fact, I've already discussed with my significant other the possibilities for starting our family.
Right now, I am in the midst of memorizing every possible factoid that could appear on Step 1, but I also have a vague image of where I'd like to be a few years from now. I've learned that the best laid plans are the ones that put you on a path toward the future, but do not cloud the responsibilities of the present or obscure the alternate opportunities available to take an alternate route.