The benefits of an Undergraduate education are often lost amidst the multitude of pressures and requirements that are characteristics of a traditional medical education. If it weren’t for HPME, I would have been a bio-medical engineer trapped in the mundane mathematical equations and problem sets instead of being free in developing critical communication skills in the classroom, learning to be a leader on campus, and discovering my passion for non-profit work with various Chicago organizations. The emotional, spiritual, and intellectual challenge that HPME provided has instilled in me the ambition and thoughtfulness that is required to be a physician who is endlessly committed to the pursuit of serving the human community.
Upon graduating High School, I thought I had everything figured out. It is only after I left the comforts of home that I realized that there was much to be learned and discovered. My commitment to medicine has never wavered but the reasons for wanting to be a physician have found new resting places. The security and flexibility of HPME allowed me to venture out to areas of interests and study that I would never have considered before or simply would have been afraid to. I decided to pursue Religious Studies as my Undergraduate major, which served as the perfect complement to my pre-medical scientific studies. Being intimately attached to studying what motivates and influences people pushed me to re-inspect the relevance of my own spirituality. The exposure to non-scientific scholarship allowed me to organize speaking events on political, social, and religious issues for the Northwestern student body. This leadership experience with the Muslim-cultural Students Association motivated me to learn more about the American-Muslim community through securing a WCAS summer research grant in order to pursue independent study. The social science research I conducted with the help of the grant gave me an access to the non-profit world through which I found people and passions that I will treasure for a lifetime. Particularly, my work with the Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN) served as a living example of how to positively employ one’s spirituality to serve underprivileged communities. Fortunately, I was able to provide the same chance for others on campus via the establishment of the first-ever college chapter of IMAN at Northwestern. Additionally, through my service in the free health clinic at IMAN, I discovered my passion for Public Health, one that translated into my pursuit of the Masters in Public Health degree at Northwestern.
Today, I find myself continuing the spirit of my Undergraduate years through working as the Youth Coordinator for the Council on American Islamic Relations, a civil rights organization, in addition to being a 1st year MD/MPH student. Even with the challenge of medical school, my passions and commitments still run deep. Honestly, I would have never once thought that this would be the story I would write by choosing HPME. HPME is not responsible for the particular things that I accomplished or achieved but, more importantly, it instrumental in allowing me to dictate the course of my own goals, ambitions, and maturation so I can one day be the physician that I want to be.