Latter-day Saint mom with 9 children graduates from medical college


When the Mayo Clinic Alix Faculty of Medication requested Sarah Merrill if she was prepared to share her story with the media, the graduating spouse and mom of 9 wasn’t initially .

Then she modified her thoughts.

“I considered how I might have beloved to listen to a couple of story like this after I was beginning,” she stated. “We discover tales about ladies having their first child throughout medical college however I couldn’t discover a lot about ladies who began college already having had their household. So I hoped it might assist anyone on the market.”

Regardless of some private apprehension early on, Merrill began medical college in 2018 when her youngest baby was 4 years outdated.

The 41-year-old graduated from medical college in Could and celebrated the milestone along with her husband and 9 kids, ages 8 to twenty.

“Most of my doubts and fears had been earlier than medical college began,” Merrill advised the Deseret Information. “We had simply moved to Arizona and I hadn’t began college but. I didn’t know what it was going to be like. I didn’t know if it was doable to do with 9 children. I couldn’t discover anyone who had completed it earlier than. As soon as I received into college, had my first exams below my belt and did tremendous and we received right into a rhythm with my household, I wasn’t actually fearful that I might make it.”

The Jason and Sarah Merrill family.

The Jason and Sarah Merrill household. Sarah Merrill lately graduated from medical college and can quickly begin neurosurgery residency at Indiana College.

Placing medical college goals on maintain

Merrill, who was born in Provo, Utah, aspired to be a health care provider from a younger age.

“That was my plan,” she stated.

She married Jason Merrill within the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple in 2000 and the couple pursued their training at Dartmouth School.

Sarah and Jason Merrill were married in the Mt. Timpanogos Utah Temple in November 2000.

Sarah and Jason Merrill had been married within the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple in November 2000.

Merrill signed as much as take the Medical School Admission Check (MCAT) earlier than studying she was pregnant. She thought she nonetheless may go to medical college and took the MCAT, however later determined to remain residence and lift her daughter.

“That was the appropriate factor for me to do at the moment,” she stated.

The couple didn’t essentially plan to have a big household, however Merrill went on to ship 4 daughters and 5 sons over the following 12 years.

She relished elevating her kids however by no means gave up on her want to proceed her training. Possibly medical college wasn’t life like, however she wished to search out one thing worthwhile.

“I at all times thought I might (return) when the children had been grown and do one thing. … I beloved being a mother to our youngsters, however I undoubtedly had plenty of ambition and profession targets,” she stated. “It was laborious to place them on maintain however I did it as a result of I believed in what we had been doing. However it wasn’t like the will went away after which instantly got here again. It was undoubtedly at all times there.”

Medical college in Arizona

Merrill began making ready to use to medical college in 2016. She retook the MCAT and was finally accepted on the Mayo Clinic Alix Faculty of Medication, requiring the household to maneuver from Pennsylvania to Arizona.

How did the household operate whereas mother went to medical college? It was a group effort.

Mornings sometimes concerned getting everybody up and prepared for varsity. The oldest teenager shuttled the older children to highschool whereas the dad and mom took the youthful kids to buses or college. Then Jason turned his consideration to work and Sarah went to her college.

There have been many mother-daughter “homework events” the place every individual did their homework whereas having fun with snacks.

Throughout her third yr with scientific rotations, Sarah’s mom lived with the household and helped with the youngsters so Sarah might be on the hospital by 5 a.m.

It could not have appeared “excellent,” nevertheless it labored for them.

“We needed to be slightly versatile relying on the place I used to be in class and what was required at the moment,” she stated. “I’ve at all times beloved college and studying … however there have been undoubtedly occasions once you understand you possibly can’t be an ideal scholar and an ideal mother, and also you simply should do what must be completed, set your priorities for every a part of your life. I by no means felt like I wanted to get 100% on each single check. I felt like if I used to be studying sufficient, doing properly sufficient in class, and my children had been wholesome, completely satisfied and beloved, that was (sufficient). We weren’t going to be too perfectionistic about anyone a part of it.”

The Jason and Sarah Merrill family.

The Jason and Sarah Merrill household. Sarah Merrill lately graduated from medical college and can quickly begin neurosurgery residency at Indiana College.

Judgments, religion and respect

There have been combined reactions to what Merrill was doing. Some individuals remarked, “Superb, good for you,” whereas others stated issues prefer it was “Mistaken for her to make her household sacrifice for her” and “Why did you’ve gotten so many children in case you had been simply going to depart them and return to highschool or work?”

Most had been overwhelmed on the considered medical college with a big household, saying “That simply makes me drained to consider it.”

“Folks are likely to react based on their very own worldview and life perspective,” she stated. “I received quite a lot of opinions and judgments.”

Merrill stated she and her household relied on their Latter-day Saint religion throughout probably the most tough occasions.

One such time got here at Dartmouth when Sarah wished to proceed her education however as a substitute select to comply with a non secular prompting she obtained to begin a household.

There have been additionally occasions through the years when tutorial alternatives got here alongside. Sarah would pray about these alternatives however didn’t really feel it wasn’t the appropriate state of affairs, so she waited.

Sarah Merrill, wife and mother of nine children, recently graduated from medical school.

Sarah Merrill, spouse and mom of 9 kids, lately graduated from medical college.

She stated these experiences ready her for the choice to pursue medical college, which was based mostly on many prayers and discussions along with her husband. Consequently, they felt heavenly help.

“I feel that helped me to have extra confidence. I felt that we might be supported and we had been.” Sarah stated. “I might nonetheless get down or discouraged typically and I requested my husband for frequent priesthood blessings. … I feel all of that helped me via, particularly throughout occasions after I felt discouraged.”

By the point she reached her scientific rotations, Merrill stated she discovered that being a mom supplied her with priceless life expertise that enhanced her take care of sufferers.

Merrill gained the respect of her medical college friends for her focus and dedication, Dr. Michele Halyard, a radiation oncologist and dean of the Mayo Clinic Alix Faculty of Medication advised

“I used to be very impressed from the very starting that she would endeavor to endure the pains of medical college training as a mom, not to mention a mom of 9,” Halyard stated within the article. “Having a mom of 9 going into medical college and making it work actually speaks, I feel, to large help from her household, together with her husband and her children, and large organizational abilities.”

The household celebrated Sarah’s commencement with a “children-focused” celebration at their residence, full with favourite meals and a bouncy home.

“I wished to have fun the children’ contribution to the entire course of as a result of they needed to have some additional work and subpar dinners. They contributed so much,” she stated. “We had an enormous factor in our yard.”

Neurosurgery residency at Indiana College

Following her commencement in Arizona, the Merrill household packed up and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, the place Sarah will quickly begin a neurosurgery residency at Indiana College.

Neurosurgery residency is a seven-year course of that can require extra hours on the hospital with much less flexibility than she had in medical college, however the Merrill household is prepared for the problem.

“Will probably be laborious when I’ve to overlook some essential occasions, however once more, I feel the household understands,” she stated. “We’re actually open with them about what’s included on this journey.”

Earlier than getting began, Sarah and Jason have deliberate a getaway to Florida for some relaxation and leisure.

Sarah Merrill, recent medical school graduate, with her husband and children.

Sarah Merrill, a latest medical college graduate, along with her husband and youngsters. Merrill will quickly begin a neurosurgery residency at Indiana College.

Classes discovered alongside the best way

Merrill shared a handful of classes she has discovered from her expertise.

First, from a religion perspective, she discovered to belief in heaven’s steerage regardless that it wasn’t what she wished. She particularly hopes her kids be aware of this.

“I really feel extremely blessed to have all of my children and have this profession that I really like as properly. If I had gone with my very own plan again in school, I don’t suppose I might have the household we’ve at the moment,” she stated. “I hope that my little kids will pray about all of their life choices and search steerage via religion and prayer. It’s good to have a plan to your life however know that God’s plan is at all times higher than no matter we give you.”

Merrill discovered to not decide anyone else’s path in life.

“We are able to’t decide what is correct in anyone else’s life path,” she stated. “It’s greatest to simply be supportive.”

Merrill appreciates her husband for his help of her going again to highschool however hopes extra individuals, together with her kids, will acknowledge the sacrifices all spouses make in such conditions.

“No person ever stated I used to be superb for letting Jason go to enterprise college, however there was shock and awe that he would conform to me going again to highschool,” she stated.

Lastly, Merrill hopes others acknowledge and respect the noble efforts of all who’re doing their greatest, from the stay-at-home mothers to all these within the office.

“We’re all getting up within the morning and dealing laborious all day to attempt to do what we’re imagined to be doing,” she stated. “I don’t need ladies to really feel like they need to be doing extra or one thing completely different due to what I’m doing, however relatively to hunt after what they’re obsessed with and comply with what they really feel is the Lord’s plan for his or her life.”

The Jason and Sarah Merrill family at Sarah’s medical school graduation. Sarah will soon start neurosurgery residency at Indiana University.

The Jason and Sarah Merrill household at Sarah’s medical college commencement. Sarah will quickly begin neurosurgery residency at Indiana College.


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