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41-Year-Old Mother of Nine Earns Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine, Aims to Pursue Career as Neurosurgeon

Summary: Mother of nine, Sarah Merrill, who recently obtained her bachelor’s degree in Medicine, shared her joy at inspiring her children. Her 11-year-old daughter aspires to become a surgeon, and her teenage son proudly declares her career path to friends. Starting as the only mother in her medical school class, Sarah evolved into one of three moms in the program. Despite the challenges, she believes being a mom improved her performance in medical school and will make her a better doctor. Sarah and her family are now moving to Indiana, where she will begin her neurosurgery residency at Indiana University.

41-Year-Old Mother of Nine, Sarah Merrill, Attains Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine from Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Arizona

Sarah Merrill, a mother of nine, has successfully earned her bachelor’s degree in Medicine from Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Arizona, United States. Her educational journey began at the age of 17 when she pursued a pre-medical major at Dartmouth College.

In an interview with GMA, Sarah shared that while at Dartmouth, she met her husband, got married, and had a daughter. Initially planning to attend medical school, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom and later expanded her family. She returned to medical school when her youngest child was four years old.

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

While raising her kids, Sarah said she worked part-time in medical research and when her youngest child was 2, she decided to go back to school. She said she first thought about earning a master’s degree but later decided to follow her original dream 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. 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,” she said.

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Sarah stated that when she was accepted at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, she and her family made the decision together and they moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona so she could attend.

“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. They all gave it a big vote of support at the time,” she said.

While in medical school, Sarah said she relied on a village of support, including her mom, who moved to Arizona to help, and her husband, who was able to keep his job and work remotely from Arizona.

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She expressed gratitude for witnessing her studies serve as inspiration for her children. This includes her 11-year-old daughter expressing interest in becoming a surgeon and her teenage son proudly telling friends, “My mom’s so cool. She’s going to be a brain surgeon.”

Reflecting on her journey, Sarah highlighted the transition from being the sole mother in her medical school class to one of three moms in the program. Despite the challenges, she found that being a mother enhanced her performance as a medical student and, ultimately, as a doctor.

Looking ahead, Sarah revealed that her family is relocating to Indiana, where she will commence her neurosurgery residency at Indiana University in the United States.

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