Commencement '20: grads reflect

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Wardah Athar / Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Phd and MD, School of Medicine

What will you do your residency in?
Internal medicine. In internal medicine you get to do the whole spectrum of human health, and you get to see every single kind of patient. You see men. You see women. You see old people. You see young people. Eventually, you see their children as they grow up. I focus on working with underserved communities, so I feel that internal medicine is that gateway into health care.

When did you decide you wanted to be a doctor?
I am one of those people who always wanted to be a doctor. My parents have a drawing I made when I was in kindergarten of me holding a knife over a body. The school called my parents and said, “We’re concerned about your daughter. She drew this horrific picture of herself holding a knife over a body.” I think they asked me what was going on. I told them I wanted to be a surgeon.

What’s next?
We’re going to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. My husband is a pediatrician, and he will be working as a hospitalist next year. He only has to work 11 days a month to be a full-time employee. So he can take on the brunt of the childcare [for Salwa, age two] next year when I’ll be in a really rigorous training program where I won’t have much time at home. It’s worked out really nicely for us so we can stagger our careers a little bit. We’re really lucky to have that privilege.