I used to resent being told that I couldn’t do it all or being categorized into a specific role as a woman. At 36 years old, I have spent my life training in a highly specialized field with a handful of women.
I was always an overachiever, excelling at most tasks. One of 11 children, I was raised in Southeast Nigeria by amazing parents who instilled in us that we could achieve anything we set our minds to, and they sacrificed to see us succeed as physicians, pharmacists, optometrists, engineers, and a lawyer. My mother is a womanist and professor of comparative literature, while my father is an accomplished publisher, writer, and activist with a PhD in romance languages. We migrated to the United States when I was 15 years old; later, I started college, graduated in 3 years, and completed medical school in 3.5 years. I started my internal medicine residency at 22 years old at the Cleveland Clinic, then completed a cardiology fellowship and electrophysiology subspecialization at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with an additional research year, all done by age 31 years.
Mezu-Chukwu U. Balancing Motherhood, Career, and Medicine. JAMA Cardiol. 2017;2(7):715–716. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.0983
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