October 19, 2017

Aroosa Malik: Embracing a new experience

First generation students find support in medical school

Dose of Reality medical student blogs

M2 Aroosa is one of approximately 70% of the non-traditional students at the University of Michigan Medical School who have taken at least one gap year before starting medical school. More specifically, she is among the first generation of her family to graduate from college and the first in her family to apply to medical school. 

Here she answers nine questions about her passion for medicine and finding something in common with her classmates.

Did you have any gap years before starting med school?

Yes, I had a one year gap year. During that time I worked as an Instructional Aid  for the U-M School of Nursing in the Anatomy and Physiology and Pathophysiology courses. Also, I volunteered as a research assistant doing aortopathy research for the Cardiac Surgery Department.

Why did you choose to explore a career in medicine?

What initially sparked my interest in medicine was my parents and their interactions with the health care field as patients. At a young age, I came to recognize the impact medicine has on the lives of others, not only the patients but their family members. This spark grew into an overwhelming desire for medicine, fueled by my experiences in life.

Medicine is my passion. It combines all that I love by providing challenges, allowing me to be a part of people’s journeys, and working with others to make an impact. It is a field in which I can grow and do what I love each and every day. Becoming a doctor for me is no longer just a career choice, but how I want to live my life--where each day, each decision and each moment is spent following my passions.

What have been your biggest challenges/greatest rewards so far in med school?

The greatest reward since starting medical school has been the opportunity to be a part of patient care and witness how grateful and understanding patients are interacting with students.

What has medical school been like for you as a first gen student?

Entering medical school I was apprehensive of the process and wondered if I would be at a disadvantage. However, I quickly learned that while students come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences, we are all starting this academic journey together at the same level. Each person has their strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately we are all learners.

Why did you decide to stay in Ann Arbor for med school?

I love the University of Michigan and believe the university fosters a positive learning environment, pushing for academic excellence while creating a sense of community amongst the students. During the medical school selection process it was important for me to envision myself as a student at the school and ultimately Michigan was the best fit for me.

Have you joined any student organizations?

I was involved in a few different organizations as an M1. I was the Internal Operations Coordinator for the University of Michigan Student-Run Free Clinic, which allowed me to learn more about what goes into running a clinic as well as provide health care to those in need. I also served as one of the Capstone Leaders for Doctors of Tomorrow working with a group of students from Cass Tech on their project regarding health inequity in Detroit. Additionally, I was part of the Racy Desi group for Biorhythms, which is a dance show put on by medical students.

Entering medical school I made it a priority to make time for things that I enjoy and take part in activities that align with my values in life, which is why I became involved in these student organizations.

What do you like about living in Ann Arbor?

Ann Arbor is an amazing town! There is so much to do including the social/nightlife, nature, food and activities. One of my favorite study breaks is to go take a walk in the Arb.

What is one thing you wish you would have known before applying to medical school?

Don't get intimidated by others during the application process. Everyone is unique in their own way.

How has Michigan Med been a good match for you?

Michigan Med has been a good match as it allows me to work alongside people who are brilliant, kind and selfless. Additionally, Michigan allows me to pursue my passions in a positive environment. Each day I am grateful for the opportunity to further my academic career at Michigan Med. Go Blue!