Parenthood
Mom of 9 graduates from medical school 20 years after she started
Moms can do anything!
Jaclyn Abergas
06.14.22

Sarah Merrill had been dreaming of becoming a doctor since she was four years old.

And she was so happy when she got into the pre-med program at Dartmouth College when she was 17 years old.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
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YouTube - CBS Evening News

However, life isn’t always a straight line and it always throws lots of curveballs.

While she was studying, she met her soon-to-be husband, got married, and gave birth to a daughter before she graduated from Dartmouth. She was determined to continue with medical school straight after college.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
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YouTube - CBS Evening News

That’s why she took the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) while she was still pregnant with her first daughter.

But when her daughter was born, she changed her mind and decided to be a stay-at-home mom and raise her daughter herself. And more than that, Sarah and her husband decided to grow their family.

“We weren’t necessarily going for a large family, in particular, in our planning, but that is what we did,” Sarah said. “We ended up having four daughters and five sons, and we had all nine of those kids in 12 years.”

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

But she never forgot about her dream of becoming a doctor.

While she was raising her nine children, she continued to be in the medical industry working part-time in medical research.

It wasn’t until her youngest child was two years old that she decided to go back to medical school. At first, she thought maybe she’ll just get a master’s degree.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

But, with the support of her family, she decided to go back to her original plan of attending medical school.

“I was 34 and I decided to go back and start taking some more recent coursework and I had to retake the MCAT,” Sarah shared. “I remember studying for the MCAT when my two youngest were 2 and 3 years old and my 2-year-old would climb on me like a mountain while I was trying to take practice tests.”

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

All the studying while serving as a mountain for her young children worked!

She was accepted at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine to continue her studies.

“Before I even applied to medical school, we had a big family meeting and everybody got to voice their opinion about it and we explained to them what it would mean,” Sarah said. “They all gave it a big vote of support at the time.”

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

When she got the vote of support, she and her husband moved the family of 11 plus Sarah’s mom from Pennsylvania to Arizona. Her mom came to help raise the children and her husband was able to work remotely in Arizona.

It was like everything in their lives was working together so she could continue her studies.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
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YouTube - CBS Evening News

And during her time in medical school, it gave her so much joy to see her children inspired by what she was doing.

Her daughters would have homework parties with her. And her other children would brag about her to their friends.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
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YouTube - CBS Evening News

And you know what she also learned?

Being a mom really helped her become a good medical student and, hopefully, ultimately, a better doctor.

“Once I got into my clinical rotations, I noticed that I had a lot of life experience that helped me connect with a lot of patients, especially on my pediatrics and OBGYN rotations,” Sarah noticed.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

And now, after four years of medical school, she has graduated with a medical degree and is on her way to becoming a neurosurgeon.

In fact, she and her family are moving to Indiana to begin her residency in neurosurgery at Indiana University.

“It’s going to be a new challenge, a new adventure,” Sarah declared. “But everybody is on board and I think we have a great support system.”

Congratulations, Dr. Sarah Merrill!

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Know her story and meet her children when you watch the video below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Jaclyn Abergas
hi@sbly.com
Jaclyn Abergas is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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