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Kristin Johnson

From a young age, Kristin knew she wanted to go into medicine. She was inspired by her love for human biology, her desire for close, interpersonal relationships and her perception of doctors as respected professionals and community leaders. “I recognized that this degree would empower me to make a positive impact on the lives of my patients and my community. And I knew every day would be rewarding as I formed trusting, long term relationships with my patients.” This June, Kristin starts her pediatric residency at the University of Florida. “My boyfriend will be joining me at UF for his residency in neurosurgery, and my mini schnauzer, Suzie, will be along for the ride, too.”

What class did you enjoy most and why?

My favorite class was Case Centered Learning. During our first and second years of medical school, we met up twice a week with a small group to go through a patient case. At the beginning of the week, we got a little bit of information on the patient’s medical complaint, and then we had to spend the week researching what might be going on with that patient. We came back together at the end of the week and learned about the diagnosis and treatment of the patient’s disease. This form of interactive learning really worked for me. It helped me learn how I work in a group setting and shaped me into a better critical thinker.

What is your favorite memory of your time at Wake Forest?

Match day. It was one of the most nerve racking and happiest days of my life. Surrounded by my family, and in an auditorium full of my classmates, I opened up that envelope that held my future inside. It could have ended in many different ways, but thankfully I got my number one choice! I will never forget that day.

Did you have time for volunteer work?

I taught a “Cooking Healthy on a Budget” class to underserved women in Winston-Salem. We met weekly in the cooking demo kitchen at the YWCA, and I taught them how to cook healthy recipes. While they ate, I taught them a variety of lessons – from how to navigate the grocery store to ways to tweak a recipe to lower the cost and calories. It was so rewarding when they came back and told me about changes they had made to their daily eating habits as a result of the class.

What is the most dramatic change you’ve undergone?

I’ve become someone with whom people are willing to share their deepest fears, and it is both an amazing gift as well and a humongous responsibility. I never would have dreamed that I could walk into a room, shake hands with a person I’ve never met before, and then have them tell me things they wouldn’t even tell their best friend.

What does earning this degree mean to you?

It is my proudest accomplishment. I have survived one of the most grueling professional schools imaginable and come out still loving my choice to become a doctor. I get the chance to heal and comfort people at their most vulnerable time of life. Now I finally get the chance to put all of my knowledge into action. I couldn’t be more excited (and, ok, a little bit nervous) for the next phase of my medical training!