The Med Sisters Series is a series of interviews of women in various stages of their careers in medicine: pre-med, medical school, residency, fellowship and attending physicians. As women, I believe we face unique challenges within any field, medicine included. As I’ve moved along on this journey, I truly believe one of the biggest support systems we have is each other. Society works so hard to pit women against each other in every situation you can think of but, as feminists, I think it’s so important to combat that urge to try to ‘beat each other out.’ There’s room for all of us on the other side of the glass ceiling. The goal of this series is to shed light on the challenges women face in the field of medicine and how they achieve a work-life balance that works for them. This blog has always been a place for me to share the realities of this journey, both the highs and lows. I thought of this series as a way to share the perspectives of the other extraordinary women on this journey too.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue medicine as a career? How do you stay motivated on the difficult days?
A: It started when I was 11 or so I think. I was watching an episode of House M.D. and there was this scene, nothing special, when House was walking though the hospital. While watching, a thought popped in my head, “It seems like it would be cool to be a doctor”. And what started as that thought, in that moment, became a dream. I did a lot of research over the years into medicine. In high school, I saw a live, open-heart surgery. By the time I graduated, I knew that I wanted to go into medicine. I cannot describe it as anything but an intense desire to become a surgeon.
Honestly, sometimes I have no motivation. Sometimes I have a crippling desire to do nothing. But I just keep going. I know that if I just keep walking along that yellow brick road, I’ll eventually reach Oz. I just can’t stop, even if I want to. So I don’t.
Q: What has been the most emotionally difficult part of your premed journey so far? And how have you coped?
A: Getting bad grades. Sometimes one can work hard and study their butts off, and still get an F on an exam. It happens. But it’s not the end. A lot of people don’t get that. Failure happens–to everyone. It’s an inevitable part of life. But it’s not about that failure or that grade; it’s about getting back up, learning from it, and moving on. Success always comes with failure. They run hand-in-hand.
So I do what needs to be done. I put those bad grades behind me, fix whatever led me to that, and move on. (Also chocolate helps– chocolate solves all problems.)
Q: What advice do you have for someone who is still deciding whether or not a career in medicine is for them?
A: The only way to know for sure whether medicine is a right fix or not is to try it on! Shadow in a few specialties to get a feel for different areas in medicine. And of course have a passion for anatomy and physiology of course!
Q: What are some things you do to take care of yourself with a busy premed schedule?
I also take breaks. Netflix is amazing for that.
Q: Who is a woman in medicine you look up to and why?
A: All women. They’re all amazing for getting into a field dominated by men, and not letting anything get in their ways from being great.
Q: As a woman in medicine, specifically a woman of color, have you faced any discrimination (either blatant or more subtle)? What advice do you have for women who go through similar challenges?
Thanks Kat for stopping by our little corner of the internet. We wish you the best with your journey!