Women don’t always have to choose between pursuing a career and raising a family, according to a mom who recently graduated from medical school.
Sarah Merrill graduated from the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona, this month. She was joined by her husband and nine children, ranging in age from 8 to 20.
Sarah, 41, will begin her neurosurgery residency at Indiana University next month, so the whole family will move there.
“It’s going to be a new challenge, a new adventure,” she told “Good Morning America.” “But everybody is on board, and I have great support.”
Sarah’s journey to medical school began at age 17 when she attended Dartmouth College as a pre-med major. By the time she graduated, she had a five-month-old daughter with her husband.
While pregnant with her first child, Sarah took the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). As a stay-at-home mom, she focused on raising her daughter instead of going straight to medical school after college.
Eventually, she and her husband started a family. Within 12 years, they had four daughters and five sons, even though it wasn’t in the plan.
In addition to raising her family, Sarah worked part-time in medical research. She returned to school when her youngest was 2.
She considered going to school part-time for a master’s degree, but decided to pursue her original dream of becoming a doctor instead.
“I had to retake the MCAT when I was 34 because I decided to take more recent coursework,” she recalled. As my two youngest were 2 and 3 years old, my 2-year-old would climb on me like a mountain while I studied for the MCAT.”
In order to attend the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, she and her family moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona.
Sarah said they held a family meeting before she applied to medical school where everyone expressed their opinions. Her husband and she also explained what it would mean to their kids.
She said they all supported it at the time.
Sarah was fortunate to have her loved ones to support her. Her mother moved to Arizona to help, while her husband worked remotely.
Sometimes my teenage daughters will say, “Hey, mom, let’s have a homework party,” so that’s what we do for fun. “We’d have snacks, they’d do homework, and I’d study for medical school,” she said.
Sarah’s studies have inspired her children. Her 11-year-old daughter now wants to be a neurosurgeon. A teen son of hers told his friends, “My mom is so cool.”. She plans to become a brain surgeon.”
Her experience as a mom made her a better medical school student and, ultimately, a better physician.
“Waiting so long made me appreciate it more and made me enjoy it more,” she explained. When I got into my clinical rotations, I realized I had a lot of life experience that helped me connect with a lot of patients, especially in pediatrics and OBGYN.”
As Sarah contemplated choosing a specialty that would be more family-friendly, she decided to follow her true passion. At Dartmouth, she majored in neuroscience.
All women, including moms, should follow her advice:
Merrill advised setting goals you’re passionate about, things you’d love to do, and once you’ve set those goals, it helps to think small. Once you know what your priorities are, you can focus on the next step.
Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Merrill! I am inspired by you! Watch the video below to learn more about this story:
source : mypositiveoutlooks.com