Although Allison and I had been dating for ten years and had lived together for almost five, it was only this January that we became officially engaged and only this June 4th that we actually got married. I suppose the reasons for living as partners for so long are similar in nature to those of other young professionals who delay marriage. Allison had really wanted to marry after she finished all of her schooling so that she could actually enjoy the process without having to worry about other pending issues. (That we learned, does not happen no matter what.) I on the other hand was too busy with my own academic life to want to worry about wedding preparations. Nevertheless, the time had come, and before we knew it, and much to our parents’ joy, whom were collectively wondering where our relationship was heading, we were in Binghampton NY, in Allison’s childhood church offering our love and hearts to each other, in front of more than two hundred people.
Looking back, I only remember glimpses of my wedding day. Much like the day when we got engaged with the aid of a ring-pop and a sleigh ride, the day stands out like individual fragments of shattered stained glass, which somehow do not seem to fit together, as if this was not reality, as if these events did not really happen as part of a cogent day, as part of a life plan.
What did stand out however, and is strange even now as I reflect back upon it, was the introduction that was given after the wedding ceremony, as Allison and I joined the wedding banquet and celebrations.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Mr. and Dr. Ursu.”
It sounds so strange, not only because Allison chose a last name that individuals have difficulty pronouncing and more often than not require it to be spelled, but also for the prefix preceding it. It was a distinction, not only speaking of Allison’s amazing achievement of having graduated medical school and obtained her medical license that May, but also of the fact that I was nowhere near done. And like that it hit me; Allison was moving on with her life and becoming an adult while I was still in school, in the first year of my PhD, with 5 more years to go.
When MD/PhD students recall the most emotionally difficult moments of their training, most seem to fall on the instance when they see their friends and colleagues who did not pursue a dual degree graduate. This event often stirs feelings of doubt and second guessing, soul searching whether so much school is indeed worth it. I saw some of my older friends graduate and Allison do so as well, but it was at our wedding introduction that these emotions hit me. Where am I going from here? When will I be done? Is this all worthwhile?