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Dental Students and Life Partners: The Jacksons

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For most couples, the first year of marriage is described as tough and challenging. The majority of couples who “survive” their first year don’t spend 24 hours a day/7 days a week together either—but we do, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Our romance began at the mere age of fourteen, in the midst of a Civics class. After high school, we entered into undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign together, taking the same classes, and living mere steps away from each other. Throughout our dating years, we encouraged and motivated one another to strive to be better individually, which only strengthened our relationship. The constant studying together and competing against each other made us better. Ultimately, we decided on the same dream of dental school and ended up at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry two months after our wedding.

Starry-eyed and filled with the excitement that all first-year students exude, we didn’t quite think through what school might be like as married classmates with little time to ourselves. After the August break ended, the fall semester picked up quickly and soon our conversations were constantly dictated by school—from classes to classmates, school was all-consuming. As the end of the fall semester neared, we were exhausted with school and talking about it constantly. We made a pact to take at least one night out of our week to spend time together and leave school out of the equation. This has allowed us to take a break from school and take time to learn more about each other. 

It has been a difficult transition, even when growing up together, to compete against your best friend for the past eight years. When dental school began, we thought that the competitiveness would come to a halt. It didn’t. However, it turns out that we have learned to love one another more and are quick to forgive and move on from arguing over the best way to drop a box in operative lab!

Thinking about life after dental school is something we talk about almost daily. With having hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt between the both of us, being frugal with our student loan money and having a budget is something we both need to be successful with coming out of school.

After considering all the options of where to go after school, there isn’t anything better than being back in our hometown of Mount Vernon, Illinois with family and friends by our side. It has been great to be away for undergraduate and dental school, but with both families living so close together, and our community needing more dentists, you can’t pass up an opportunity like that!

We have learned a lot about ourselves this past year. It’s been fun, and sometimes difficult—but mostly wonderful. It’s a unique gift that we’ve been given: to be married to our best friend, to be classmates, and to still be madly in love. We are so thankful!