Mother-Daughter Duo Celebrate a Unique Match Day on March 20th
An inspiring story of an incredible daughter and mother who graduated from medical school together and on Match Day 3/20/20 ALSO matched at the same institution. by Dr. Jasmine Kudji
Successful mothers are not the ones who have never struggled. They are the ones that never give up despite the struggles.” -Sharon Jaynes;
My name is Jasmine Kudji. I am a 4th-year medical student attending LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Like thousands of graduating medical students across the country, on Friday, March 20th I found out that I matched into the program of my dreams. I was extremely excited to find out that I would soon begin my medical career as a General Surgery resident at LSU in New Orleans. However, what made my Match Day experience especially unique was the fact that I got to share it with my mother, Cynthia Kudji, who also discovered that she matched at LSU as well, in a Family Medicine program. As a result, we are the first mother-daughter duo to not only attend medical school at the same time but also to match together at the same institution!
My mother is the most inspiring person in my life, and she is one of the only reasons I was able to make it to where I am today. She was born in Ghana, West Africa and is a second-generation college graduate. At the age of 23, during her senior year of college at Tulane University, she became pregnant with me and had to put her dreams of attending medical school on hold. She had no source of income and was forced to raise her daughter on her own. As a result, she began working as a Nursing Assistant and soon became a Registered Nurse. Many years later she then became a Nurse Practitioner as well as a faculty member at the LSU School of Nursing in New Orleans.
All the while, she was also raising me to become the doctor that she had always dreamt of becoming. I remember countless days and nights of my mother working back-to-back 12 hour shifts so that she could afford to send me to the best and most expensive high schools in New Orleans, Isidore Newman School. She pushed me to become the best student that I could be. As a result, I graduated with multiple college acceptances and as a National Achievement Scholar for receiving one of the highest SAT scores among minority students not only at my school but in the nation. I went on to receive my bachelor’s degree from LSU then to attend LSU School of Medicine. As I embarked on my academic career, my mom, at the age of 41 applied to medical schools around the world and eventually got accepted to The University of Health and Sciences on the island of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean. Afraid and apprehensive about whether or not she was smart enough to compete with students half her age in a foreign country, she moved to the island and lived there for 3 years pursuing a career in medicine. This was by far the hardest thing she had ever done. There were countless nights where she’d call me crying, daring herself to quit. At times she struggled to find acceptance among her peers being the oldest in her class by over 20 years. It seemed impossible for her to remember concepts that she learned over two decades ago in college, but still she persisted.
My mom has encouraged me to be everything that I’ve ever wanted to become, and I am forever indebted to her for not only molding me into the woman I am today but also for being a shining example of perseverance and strength. She is truly a virtuous woman in every sense. My hope in sharing our story is not only to inspire people both young and old to pursue their dreams but also to honor my mom and provide her with the praise that she deserves for truly showing that age is just a number and that with faith all things are possible!