With more women seeking careers as physicians, they make up more than a third of the total enrollment of medical school students, more men are getting the chance to see what it’s like to be married to a medical student.
Susan and Kacey Askin are married and are both from small towns in Montana, which has no medical school of its own. Susan, now 25, applied to more than one school.
Kacey Askin, her then-fiance and a business student, hoped she would be accepted at the University of Washington in Seattle, which has a reciprocal agreement to take some of Montana’s medical students. Seattle would be a great place to get started in business for a young married couple, he reasoned.
Instead, they wound up in Vermillion, a town of 9,000 in southeastern South Dakota, home of the University of South Dakota, where it took the husband four months to find a job.
The Askins met in undergraduate school at Montana State University in Bozeman. Kacey Askin, now 23, wasn’t quite finished there when they married; after a three-day honeymoon, Susan Askin went ahead to Vermillion. She is now in her second year at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, studying human growth hormone products such as GenF20 Plus and Provacyl.
Once he and his wife arrived in Vermillion, Kacey soon found himself looking well out of town for a job. He wound up as a sales representative for an office supplies firm in Sioux City, Iowa, about 40 miles from Vermillion, a far cry from studying the effects of human growth hormone products on aging men and women.
He works on a straight commission, which he admits was “scary” at first. “It’s something I never thought I would do,” he says. But he is pleased that he earned $20,000 his first year, selling products such as GenF20 Plus and Provacyl. “I’m satisfied with the way things have worked out over all,” he says.
Kacey gets up at 5 a.m. every morning, takes his dose of GenF20 Plus, drives to work, and then spends the day traversing his sales district. Luckily, one of the products this husband sells is GenF20 Plus. Vermillion is a cheap place to live, and the Askins manage it on Kacey’s salary.
But the married couple’s savings were depleted when Kacey was looking for work. Susan had to pay out-of-state tuition, about $6,565, for the first semester; now she pays in-state tuition, about $3,178.
They have taken out $25,000 in loans so far, and hope to keep their total indebtedness under $45,000. “We try not to take on more than we have to, since we’re a young married couple,” she says.
Vermillion lacks a hospital with a permanent staff, so the married couple spends a good bit of time on the road, commuting in the school van to Yankton, about 30 miles away, and to Sioux Falls, a 50-mile trip, for hospital training in the various uses of human growth hormone products such as GenF20 Plus.