How to make friends in medical school

Hey friends! In honor of my hubby starting med school, I decided it would be the perfect time to blog about making friends in new places! While it’s so exciting when your spouse finally gets into medical school, often it means moving to a totally new place where you may know few (if any) people. Even if you don’t have to move, it’s always helpful to have some friends to hang out with while your spouse is studying, otherwise you can go a little crazy (not that I’ve experienced this, of course. Haha). And it’s ESPECIALLY helpful to become friends with spouses of other med students, because they just get it like no one else.

Before I share my thoughts on making friends in med school, I figured I should share about my experiences on making friends in new places, So far, I’ve moved 10 times in my life, and I’ve lived in three states. I also studied abroad for a semester in London, which I truly believe equipped me well to learn how to be independent and make friends anywhere I go, even in different cultures. I’m also pretty extroverted, so that helps a lot! While I didn’t always love moving to a new place, I now appreciate all the opportunities I had to learn how to make friends, because it’s a crucial skill to have for the med school journey! And now, here are my tips on making friends in med school.

How to make friends in medical school

  1. Go to events at the medical school. Orientation week is a great way to meet other med spouses, but if you’re past that already, there are still lots of opportunities! Many schools have events for spouses and families of students, from offering snacks after big tests to holiday parties to galas to picnics. These are great opportunities to mingle and hopefully make a new friend if you just take the initiative.
  2. Join a club. Many schools have clubs for spouses, such as the Student Advocate Association. While these clubs can be a bit more formal, they are still a great way to meet other spouses as you plan events and activities for the student doctors.
  3. Join Side by Side. Side by Side, run by the Christian Medical and Dental Association, is “a network of local chapters that encourage and minister to women in healthcare marriages through fellowship and Bible study.” There are more than 80 chapters across the nation, so I highly recommend seeing if there is one near you! I have really enjoyed the camaraderie and support I’ve received being part of Side by Side.
  4. Make work friends. While it is so nice to have other med school spouses as friends, it’s also great to have friends who are totally removed from the medical field, as it can be overwhelming at times. Work can be a great place to find other friends. Just ask someone to lunch–you never know what may come of it!
  5. Become part of a church community group. Being part of a church community is so helpful when you move to a new place! It may take some time to find a church that fits, but once you do I encourage you to get involved. It’s great to know you have others praying for you and supporting you while you adjust to your spouse being in med school.
  6. Get involved in activities. Whether it’s a workout class, a craft night, yoga, or whatever, get involved in something you like to do. Being in a group of people who share similar interests is a great way to make friends.
  7. Invite another couple over. This one requires a bit more courage, but there’s really nothing to lose! If you think you might hit it off with another couple from the med school, ask them over for dinner or dessert. This gives both you and your spouse an opportunity to make friends. And since the likelihood of being around them for the next four years is pretty high, I think it’s worth your time to try to find some other couple friends in the program!

If you moved recently so your spouse could go to med school and you’re looking for friends, I hope this list serves as a good starting place! And if you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear about them!

P.S. Check out the Married to Doctors podcast How to feel rooted in a temporary home for more great advice!

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