When I was applying to medical school, we had a well-established life in Georgia. We belonged to an incredible church, the kids were in gymnastics and ballet classes that they loved, the cost of living was perfect. Steven enjoyed being able to fish comfortably year-round. I was content that my family was happy, but Augusta took a long time to grow on me. But once I became more involved with my church and school, I was happy too. Georgia is where I started my medical journey. It’s where I fell in love with science. It’s where we completed our family. But it wasn’t where we would stay.

My goddaughter, Carley, on her birthday.

Steven and I sat down two years ago to plan my application process. Because I was applying to MD/PhD programs, this limited my choices. We knew that there was a high probability that we would have to move. I took this as an opportunity to go home. I hadn’t lived in Maryland since I was 17. We visited frequently, since Steven is from Maryland as well. We were married in downtown Baltimore, and all our children were christened in the church I grew up in. But it’s weird to come home and feel like a visitor. I missed years of interactions and life moments with my family and friends. I wanted to be present. I wanted to be an active participant. I wanted my kids to know their family.

I also wanted to impact the students of Baltimore. I have my own experience with Baltimore’s public school system, so when I speak to students here I feel that I can identify with them. I have a mindset for service and working with the children of Baltimore is important to me. Fortunately, I chose a medical school with the same intention. UMD has several outreach programs and has even built a Community Engagement Center to interact with the people of West Baltimore. All of this went into my decision.

My mom, the kids, with their cousin Rome and their newest cousin, Jase.

I ultimately feel like we made the right choice. It was painful to leave Augusta – more painful than I anticipated. But since we’ve moved, the kids have started making relationships with their cousins. I’ve been present for the birth of new family members. I know about what’s happening first hand instead of learning about them later on social media. We’ve been able to attend numerous family events. The kids attend the church that I grew up in, singing in the same choir that I did as a young girl. And I get to see life happening with my own eyes. I can’t replace these moments.

Until next time,

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