Graduate School,  Post-Bachelors,  School & Life Balance

Oh No! I Have A Wedding on My Exam Day!

I was engaged in November 2017 to Mr. Redhead. I was ecstatic to marry him because he has been the greatest support system I could have ever hoped for as I finished my undergraduate career. At the time, I had accepted a full-time offer to work as a chemical engineer for an aerospace company. I would work for some time until I felt prepared enough to apply to medical school. It seemed like all the checkboxes of being an adult were getting checked off.

But it all changed when the post bacc attacked… (Shoutout to my Avatar the Last Airbender fans!)

My little checklist of “adulting” accomplishments suddenly did not matter when I saw I was accepted into a master’s program that operated as a post-bachelor’s program. I had applied prior to my engineering job offer, and truthfully, it seemed like an acceptance was a long-shot. I looked at Mr. Redhead and thought, “Can I give up a full-time salary? Healthcare insurance? Can I go back to school right now?” Without skipping a beat, he told me, “This is what you are meant to do. Go do it.” With that vote of confidence from both my partner and from the admissions committee of my master’s program, I gained the confidence to say, “Maybe I am meant to do this medicine thing now.”

Without skipping a beat, he told me, “This is what you are meant to do. Go do it.”

By my acceptance, Mr. Redhead and I had set our date and booked our venue. As graduation came closer and as information of my master’s program was released, we consistently joked that I would end up having an exam on our wedding day. What are the odds that I would have an exam fall on this one day?

But it all changed when the post bacc attacked…AGAIN.

All those jokes definitely threw some karma our way, because I learned one month out from our wedding that I would have a biochemistry exam on my wedding day. I had completed three months of my post-bacc by this time and had learned to laugh off the things I could not control. I immediately contacted my administrators. They kindly offered to give an excused absence, but I turned it down knowing that if I did not take the exam beforehand, I would be worrying about it during my wedding.

Medical Redhead and Mr. Redhead posing with a double rainbow that occurred on their wedding day.

After getting over my internal chaos of “How in the world am I going to do this without ruining one or the other,” I became proactive in managing my time and stress. I delegated tasks to my family and wedding party. I communicated all expectations to Mr. Redhead so that he could handle the day-of wedding stress. I sought a tutor who helped give an outline of exam expectations and assess my weak points. Both my wedding and this exam were important to me; I was not going to let anything up to chance that could hurt my academics or personal life.

My exam date arrived. I compartmentalized in my mind that my morning exam would be on a whole other day than my wedding. If I could get through this biochemistry exam, I would be mentally free to celebrate my loved ones. I woke up 3:00 am and kissed Mr. Redhead’s forehead goodbye until I would next see him as I walked down the aisle. As I arrived on campus with espresso coffee, I actively reviewed and focused purely on the exam before me. I am grateful for the family and friends who allowed me the confidence to NOT worry about my wedding day-of. Without that comfort, I was able to walk into my exam with a clear head, walk out two hours later, and learn that I had earned an A on the exam.

My success in becoming a physician is the least I can do to thank Mr. Redhead for the undying confidence he has in me.

Medical Redhead and Mr. Redhead in their portrait photo.

To me, the relationship I have with Mr. Redhead is far more powerful than any white dress or fancy cake. Our relationship has been the solid foundation I stand on as I give it my best to be a physician. My success in school is equally as important in my heart as Mr. Redhead is because my dedication to this career means that I can provide for our family and give Mr. Redhead the freedom to do what he wants to do. My success in becoming a physician is the least I can do to thank Mr. Redhead for the undying confidence he has in me. I remember calling my mother and happily crying about my grade. I told her, “I know it’s my wedding day… but earning that A was the most important thing I could have done today.”

A few hours later, I walked down that aisle to Mr. Redhead. We shared our vows and our first kiss as husband and wife. Nothing else mattered as I celebrated him and our loved ones. After the ceremony, we sat at our table as we ate our fajitas. I asked, “Is this the wedding you wanted?” He responded, “This is the wedding of my dreams.” With the chaos of my master’s program, I was not sure I had any expectations for my wedding. All I wanted was for Mr. Redhead to have fun and for us to throw a party for our loved ones. Any stress I had built up for the day was relieved by my A grade. Oddly enough, I think my wedding day was the most relaxed I have been all of 2018. It was a day that I could purely focus on the greatest joy of my life without any other distractions.

I told my mother, “I know it’s my wedding day… but earning that A was the most important thing I could have done today.”

I am eternally grateful for my parents and family who allowed me to focus on my job as a pre-medical student the morning of my wedding. I am forever in awe of Mr. Redhead who was receptive to handling any details that came up throughout the wedding. I am thankful for my administrators who were willing to work with me on rearranging the exam. My wedding day was amazing. And I do not think I will ever tire of the hilarious story about how I had a wedding on my exam day.

-Redhead

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