I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jasmine Johnson who is currently entering her second year of residency, and is also a mother to two beautiful children, a wife, and a blogger at www.mrsmommymd.com! Her interview covers her medical journey, how she faces adversity, and her future goals. Get ready to be inspired:
1. First, who are you to the world?
I’m a 28 year old mama, wife, and resident doctor in Obstetrics & Gynecology. I grew up in Indiana right outside of Chicago, went to college at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Go Blue!) and graduated from medical school at Indiana University. I have been blogging about my fantastic and crazy journey since 2010 at The Mrs. The Mommy. M.D.
2. What has been your journey to medical school?
My journey to medical school was definitely a little bit nontraditional. I knew I wanted to be a doctor as early as seven years old. So when I got to college I immediately got on the track to medical school. My life took an unexpected turn when the summer before my senior year I found myself pregnant with my son Nathan. I was determined to keep everything going as planned, so I took the MCAT and I entered that year’s medical school application cycle. Unfortunately, I received 14 rejections and was placed on one wait list. By an act of miraculous grace, I was offered a spot in a Master’s program at Indiana University School of Medicine that functioned to prepare students for successful matriculation into medical school.
I moved to Indianapolis two weeks later and entered the program. I retook the MCAT and successfully then moved on to medical school as a newlywed and a new mom one year later!
3. What was the best part of medical school and now residency? Do you have one or two favorite moments you can tell us about?
The best clinical part of medical school was when I finally got to third year and was able to try all of the different rotations. Actually putting into practice what you studied endlessly for the last two years was so much fun. The best non-clinical part of the school was being with my family and finding ways to not only be an awesome mom, but also pursue my dreams – especially a dream that I didn’t know would still be possible.
The best part of residency has been doing something I absolutely love every day. Obstetrics and Gynecology is what I was made for. Medical school is great, but moving on to residency and training for something that you plan to do for the rest of your life is really invigorating.
I think that my most cherished moment of medical school was graduation, by far. Everything that you worked so hard for culminates at that moment, and it is a very emotional time – at least it was for me. I was emotional mess because of the overwhelming feeling of JOY. I don’t have a specific favorite memory of residency, but I still have those moments when I reflect on my life thus far, and I can’t believe that I’m living my dream. It’s surreal and such a blessing.
4. To you, what has been the hardest part of your medical journey?
The hardest part of both medical school and residency is balancing my role as a wife and mother with my desire to thrive in my career. This is definitely not a unique challenge and I’m continuing to learn how to navigate this.
5. Can you describe student life & the medical school experience at Indiana University School of Medicine?
Indiana University is the second largest medical school in the country. We have seven campuses around the state and there were over 300 students in my class. I was at the Indianapolis campus and developed some amazing friends there with whom I still keep in touch. But even in fourth year there were students I was meeting for the first time! Student life at my medical school varied depending on who you talked to. A lot of the students came straight from college and were able to balance being a medical student with having a social life. Some students chose to forgo a social life and basically live at school. For me, and other student-parents, my student life involved going to class and then going home to study and be with my family.
As far as my scholarship, it was something that I was notified of in my acceptance letter. The scholarship was started by an African-American physician in Indianapolis who was dedicated to eliminating health disparities. As long as my grades stayed above a certain GPA, I was able to renew it every year. This was a HUGE weight off financially. I still had to take out loans for living expenses.
6. What was your best rotation? Can you describe a typical day:
I’m a bit biased, but my best rotation was OB/GYN! From the first day, I knew that I had found my people. Reading about obstetrics and gynecology did not feel like work, and the day-to-day workflow felt like something I could do as a career. My typical day was variable, and I think that’s why I liked it so much. One day could be a 9-5 in a clinic, and the next day could be an early start in the OR. We also did a week of night shift on Labor and Delivery – seeing (and helping with!) the birth of a baby sealed the deal for me.
7. Five things on your 10-year bucket list:
- Finish residency and complete a fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine
- Enjoy all the important moments with my kids as they grow up
- Write a book
- Go on a family trip to Europe
- Pay off our student loans!
8. What are your purse must-haves ? What is your go-to professional outfit?
I’m definitely a low maintenance kind of girl. Items in my purse currently include:
- Lipstick (lol)
When I’m not in scrubs, my quick go-to outfit for work is usually an A-line dress with my comfortable wedges.
9. Why did you start blogging at http://www.mrsmommymd.com/ & where do you see the blog heading over the next couple of years?
I started blogging initially because we moved away for medical school and I didn’t want our family to miss out on all of my son’s growing up. It definitely grew into something a lot bigger, becoming not only a way for me to continue to write – what I have always I loved to do – but also show young women who desire careers in medicine what is possible. My goal for 2016 is to take The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D. to Youtube so stay tuned!
10. What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far?
Being Nate and Isabelle’s mom. Hands down. No contest.
11. Everyone talks about finding a “balance” between family life and pursuing a medical career. Do you have any tips or motherly advice you can share with those thinking of starting a family or are currently awaiting a child?
It is definitely a learning process and I constantly find myself adjusting to the changing hours at work and my family’s needs, but I think that not losing yourself and what makes you the person you are is key. I don’t believe in work-life balance, but work-life integration is my goal.
As a mom, it is easy to pour everything into everyone but yourself – especially when you constantly feel like you need to overcompensate for being at work. This can be detrimental to you and your family if you don’t take time for yourself too. Keeping my blog is something I love to do and I feel great when I can spend time on it. Some of my co-residents like outdoor sports or fitness classes – and they are dedicated to that. Don’t use work as an excuse to not do the things you love. It makes dealing with stress easier and makes you so much happier.
12. What is your response to those that say “You can’t have it all….”?
When I first started on my journey to becoming a doctor with my baby in-tow, a lot of people had things to say and unsolicited opinions to give. It’s not surprising that as the years went on those voices got quieter and quieter… To those that tell you that you “cannot have it all”, the best response you can give isn’t in your words. Just let them watch you work. It isn’t going to be easy, but YOU define what it means to have it all for YOU. Nelson Mandela said it best: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
I want to thank Dr. Johnson for such a candid interview and for her tips & tricks for medical school and beyond. For more about Dr. Johnson check out her blog: www.mrsmommymd.com and follow her on social media!