Ijeoma Okoye


Hometown: Fayetteville, GA

Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of Georgia

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biological Sciences; Minor: Public Health

Name of Medical School(s): Medical College of Georgia

Favorite Quote:You get out what you put in

Contact Info: iokoye@augusta.edu

Additional Links: The Balancing Act

Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?

I’m currently in my second year of medical school. I always had the idea that I wanted to work in health care, namely because my mom is a nurse. I originally wanted to do pharmacy because I loved chemistry, but I soon convinced myself that it wouldn’t give me enough variety. After some online searching, I realized the breadth of health care that medicine covered and started envisioning myself as a physician. My dad’s voice in the back of my head telling me to pursue medicine also helped. I declared pre-med my freshman year in college and never changed.

If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?

All things work for the good of those who love God. He has your entire life written out already. He knows what you’re going to accomplish and what you will fail at. So there’s no reason for you to overly stress and worry about things that are out of your control, because they’re in His control. Just focus on fulfilling your purpose and furthering God’s kingdom, and everything will fall into place as it should, not necessarily as you would have it. Listen to your mother—what’s meant to be will be.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?

This field isn’t for the weak minded. You have to strengthen your mind if you’re certain this is the path for you. You may face discouragement from those around you, and even from yourself, so you have to have the resilience to keep pushing despite that. Constantly remind yourself that you will be a doctor; envision it, engrain it, so no one can tell you otherwise. Have mentors (those older than you on the same path) that you can call that can tell you the same thing. Surround yourself with people who will only lift you up. At the same time, if you realize that medicine isn’t the calling for you, don’t force it, because if you’re in it for the wrong reasons, you’ll be miserable.

What is your favorite thing about your medical school?

My favorite thing is having friends going through the same struggle with you, so you don’t have to explain yourself. When I say I’m tired, they understand. When I say I’m too busy, there are no extra questions. When I need motivation, they know exactly what to say. We’re all on the same page. It’s refreshing. And when it’s time to celebrate, we know what time it is! Another thing I really like is the autonomy you have over your day. Yes, there’s lots of material to cover, but you can decide exactly when and how you want to handle it.

What did you do during the summer before you started medical school?

Sleep, eat, shower, repeat —with some friends sprinkled in there too. Definitely nothing school related! I used that summer get closer to God and develop a healthy habit that I wanted to continue in school, which was running. No amount of studying could have prepared me for what was to come lol. Also, keep in mind that I started med school right after undergrad.

What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?

I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve always been a busy-body. I’m more productive when I have more things going on in my life. My largest and most rewarding time commitment is serving as president of out Student National Medical Association. I also serve as one of 5 student coordinators for a student-run clinic for the homeless and uninsured. Once a week I tutor/mentor elementary age children at a type of after school program in the community. Lastly, I’ve served a short time on the inaugural e-board of MCG’s new Public Health interest group.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share some of yourself with us Ijeoma! Your advice is very much appreciated as well! I totally agree with the importance of resilience on this career path. Continue to be great!

Health Career Spotlights Home Page

Posted on January 20th, 2017

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