In our most recent Med School Minutes Podcast, we welcomed Dr. Drake to talk about catching the love bug while studying towards your medical degree. Dr. Drake comes from a family medicine practice in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. Her clinic covers pretty much everything you can imagine, from emergency care to working with an indigenous population. Dr. Drake is a proud St. James alumnus from Anguilla and part of one of the earliest classes in January of 2010.
We were first treated to the story about how Dr. Drake came to meet her husband while at St. James. She was working out with the National Soccer women’s team as part of a physiology research group and was connected with the track team. Her future husband was a track team member originally from the Island. His track career spanned many years, including the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
A Relationship Built on Support
One of the first topics we covered involved the challenges of dating someone in medical school in general. A student moving through an MD program is not easy to relate to, especially for a young romance. There are endless study hours and clinicals that can quickly break into any free time you would want to have to get to know one another better.
Dr. Drake told us about the encouragement and work-life balance her husband brought to the relationship. He would cook her dinners, clean up the apartment and offer words of comfort whenever she was overwhelmed. Most importantly, he would remind her when it was time to take a break and be in the moment as a couple.
Love Can Strike At Any Moment
One of the more heartwarming points of our interview involved the first time our in-studio couple met. Dr. Drake’s husband first laid eyes on her while stretching during a team practice. When he stood up, he saw Dr. Drake coming toward the track team and immediately told his teammate, “I’m gonna marry that woman.”
At the time, St. James did not have much access to cadavers for live testing for research purposes. To compensate, many of the medical students would work with athletes because they would have such low body fat percentages that their underlying structures could be easier to identify and understand. Being a track team member made Dr. Drake’s husband a perfect candidate for study. This led to sparks flying, and they have been inseparable ever since.
From The Islands to Chicago and Beyond
When Dr. Drake began her rotations, she was sent to Chicago. For a time, the two tried the long-distance relationship scenario, but eventually, her husband moved to Chicago as well. This was an entirely new experience culturally because Chicago is quite different from Anguilla. When people in Chicago honk their cars, it is to get you out of the way. On the islands, it is to say hello.
Winter was also a new experience. Snow is a lot of fun for the first month or so, then you start dealing with the sludge and wind from Chicago, and it makes life much harder. Her husband would often wake up at 4:30am so he could warm up the car for Dr. Drake to make her 5am neurology rotation without suffering through the -40 degree weather.
After that rotation, they eventually made their way up to Canada, where Dr. Drake says they are so far north, Santa Claus is their neighbor. This is a stunning part of the world where you can occasionally catch the Aurora Borealis on a clear night.
It is a different type of life up there because they went without any family in the area. That means if they wanted a date night, they would have to find a babysitter. It may seem like a small thing, but dating a doctor requires a lot of scheduling and planning to work around schedules and free time. They did have family in New Brunswick, but other than that, it was onward and upwards on their own.
An Islander in Canada
We ended with some excellent tips from Dr. Drake about being a local student from Anguilla that went through the system to a Canadian placement. She suggested three critical points for students considering the same kind of transition:
1. You should get a work visa first, so you are more appealing to a long-term placement because they often look for American candidates.
2. Canada focuses a great deal on the clinical side of knowledge, so make sure you have the experience and can pass exams at a reasonably high level.
3. Local references made a big difference, and being able to write/speak in English so your personal statement is clear, helps.
Finally, you may want to pursue interview training. For example, in Ontario, there are 6 medical schools and only one interview to secure a residency. You want to nail that interview because it can make or break your career.
Love and Med School
The most important aspect of having Dr. Drake and her husband on our podcast was how well they supported one another. No relationship is going to be perfect. Finding a partner that is willing to help you as you undertake medical training and education is a great support system. They are demonstrating how much they care by the effort put into those beautiful moments of freedom away from the books, clinicals, and science.
The best advice we could give to anyone listening in our community is to be present for your partner. When you do have time to spend going out for dinner, hitting a bar, or just sitting together on a beach, be present in the moment and give them the attention they need to show they are appreciated.
We could not have been happier to have Dr. Drake and her husband on Med School Minutes. As always, be sure to follow us online as new episodes come out. Thank you to everyone, and we hope you find an excellent relationship like our guests.