High school pregnancy couldn’t stop dream of being a doctor

Here’s your daily dose of sweetness:

At some point today, Shannon Haines, 29, a fourth-year medical student in Omaha, will find out where she will do her residency.

That fulfills a dream she had in high school of being a doctor, a dream that collapsed — or so she thought — when she got pregnant in high school.

“I had never been around anyone who was a teen mom who got beyond a bachelor’s degree,” Haines tells the Omaha World Herald. “I just felt because I was a mom, I couldn’t keep going with it. It was ignorant, but I was 16.”

After her daughter was born, she went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha and took a few classes that got her thinking that maybe this medical school thing could work.

“I owed it to my daughter and to other teen parents in my situation,” she said. “I owed it to them to keep going and be a role model.”

It took her five years to get a bachelor’s degree, then she took a year off after divorcing her daughter’s father, who isn’t in her life much anymore.

“I think being a parent and juggling different responsibilities in general is difficult, but being a medical student involves you studying every waking second,” Haines said.

Fortunately, she had a daughter to help her study.

She has some advice for young parents who have dreams they want to pursue.

First: Set realistic expectations. “It might take you an extra year or two to get your dreams accomplished,” she said.

Second: Don’t be afraid to look for or ask for help — especially single parents. “We’re not good at asking for help,” she said. Help might even come in the form of government assistance, which Haines said she took advantage of.

Finally: Don’t give up.

“Eventually you’ll be able to get there. It just might not look exactly the same as everyone else,” she said. “It’s possible to achieve your dreams.”​

Haines says her daughter has been to enough classes and study sessions that maybe she should get a biotechnology degree too.