Like most eighteen year old’s, Amanda Lamond felt as if she had the world by the tail. Having planned a career as a doctor since her early teen years, Amanda was happily enrolled in her freshman year of college. To her chagrin, Amanda discovered during her freshman year that she was pregnant. Deciding to maintain the pregnancy and raise her child, she made the difficult decision to return home. She moved back in with her parents and attended her local community college throughout her pregnancy. At this point, citing the high dropout rate of teenage mothers, many people doubted that Amanda would be able to finish college, let alone achieve her dream of becoming a doctor.
Amanda, however, was different than many teen moms. She was determined to pursue her dream. With support and encouragement from her family, she returned to college. Her mother even stopped working so that she could provide care for Amanda’s son following his birth so that her daughter could continue taking classes. Amanda also took advantage of programs like CalWORKs, a welfare offering that permitted her to work up to twenty hours each week at an outpatient medical and surgery center.
Many well-meaning people suggested that she simply pursue a two-year certificate, an Associate’s Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. But, she refused to sell herself short. Since the age of sixteen, she had dreamed of becoming a doctor, and she steadfastly refused to give up on her dream.
In pursuit of her medical degree, she went on to become the valedictorian of her class when she graduated from San Diego Mesa College. She then enrolled in the University of California at San Diego. There she finished her education and attended its medical school. Amazingly, she was even named the University of California at San Diego Medical Center’s Chief Resident. Last year, during her residency, she was eventually named their chief resident.
On her way to all these accomplishments, Amanda met and married her husband, and had two more children. Of his mom’s dedication to her education, her oldest son, Brayden, born when she was just a teenager, proudly says, “Pretty much my whole life she’s been studying to be a doctor and trying to raise me right, and I’m just really proud of her.”
While confident of her aspirations, there were times when she felt overwhelmed. She says, “It’s been a long journey.” When her youngest son was still an infant, she had a moment of panic, wondering how she would balance motherhood and the demands of medical school. She scheduled a session with the Dean of the School of Medicine who shared her own struggles and hardships with Lamond. The Dean, also a woman, encouraged Lamond to stay focused on the end result. Amanda took a year off to focus on her children and do some serious introspection. At the end of that year of self-imposed rest and reflection, she returned to school and became the doctor she had always wanted to be.
“No matter what people tell you,” Amanda Lamond says, “you can make your dreams come true.”