Kameron Leigh Matthews, MD, Esq. completes her Chief Residency in Family Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago in June 2010, and will be subsequently joining the medical staff at Cermak Health Services of Cook County with the Cook County Department of Corrections. She completed her undergraduate studies at Duke University where she received her degree in Public Policy Studies. She received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University and her law degree from University of Chicago. We interviewed Kameron about her success and here are her answers. She tells us how she earned a law degree and became a doctor before the age of thirty!
1. What drives you to succeed?
A great deal of my course work was difficult. Particularly some pre-medical courses – but with perseverance and a lot of dedication, I was able to eventually succeed. I enjoyed my courses and was very excited about my career path, so that helped greatly. I possess a good sense of both internal and external motivations. As a part of my personality, I have a very strong drive to be the best that I can be, and that includes a sense of competition with others. I also seek to help others, and in order to do so, I must excel in my fields.
2. Can you briefly describe the path you took to get to your current job? Did you have to make certain career moves? Any sacrifices along the way?
After completing my undergraduate work, I entered medical school. I then realized that I wanted to help more than just the individual patient, so I took a leave of absence to complete my law degree with an interest in policy. This was an unusual path to take, but one that I do not regret. I have studied to sometimes opposing fields, and bringing them together will hopefully result in placing myself in a position to help our health care system. I do not feel that I have sacrificed much during my education, with the exception of a few paychecks. If you are dedicated to your path, there is no sense of sacrifice.
3. How do you handle setbacks? Can you share one?
I learn from my mistakes and barriers that are placed before me – I analyze my own response to such setbacks, and then make sure that they do not stop me again.
4. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy talking with my patients and helping them learn how to take charge of their own help. I appreciate the trust that they place in me, and the relationships that I form with them.
5. How do you balance work life and family? Do your work demands affect your relationships?
I try to balance my work and personal life on a daily basis, because I believe that there needs to be a balance. My work schedule is definitely overbearing at times, but I still find the time to enjoy time with friends, fly to see family, and relax in front of the TV. The key is to schedule time for your personal life just as you would your work life. I have not found that my work schedule has affected my romantic relationships because I attempt to prioritize my time and focus on that special person – again, just as you would your work.
6. Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years?
I see myself working in government or a non-profit organization that deals with health care policy.
7. Any advice or words of encouragement you’d like to give to shalenadiva.com readers?
I advise all readers to embrace change and to take the path less travelled. In order to achieve what you want, there might not be others who have come before you to show you the way. Sometimes you have to create your own path, and you cannot be fearful of stepping off of a certain path that you have already started. Seek out as many mentors as possible – but do not take advice as the word of law. None of my personal success would have been possible without the support of mentors, family and friends – at the same time, you have to judge their opinions and advice as particular to their own situation and not necessarily applicable to your own.
8. Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself? Personal testimonies are extremely helpful and well received.
Work hard, and play harder. As my father says, we work so that we can enjoy our free time.
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