Education: I was enrolled as a Master’s student at the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto. My research was concentrated in the field of cardiology—specifically looking into the effects of chemotherapy on the human heart. My goal during my graduate program was to find new therapies to combat chemotherapy-induced heart failure, and in December of 2019, I successfully defended my thesis and obtained my MSc.
Profession: Medical Science / Medicine
Years of Experience: 3 years
As a child, did you envision becoming what you are now?
I can remember as far back as Grade 8, when I told myself that I wanted to become a Medical Scientist. When thinking of careers, I wanted to do something where I was satisfying my passion for learning, but also wanted to combine that with a way that I can be of help to society at large. This led me to see myself as a medical scientist, and so going through high school and university I strove to put myself in the best position possible so that I could achieve my dream. My Master’s degree allowed me to explore all the technical parts of medical science, but going through that, I realized that I wanted a more humanized approach to medicine, which has now led me to pursue medical school.
Tell us about your journey. When did you realize you had arrived (or were successful)?
For now, I feel that I am still on my journey towards success, however, I am excited to see how the future plays out for me.
What obstacles, if any, did you face?
Growing up in a low socioeconomic status neighbourhood and being the son of Black Muslim refugees, I feel like there were plenty of obstacles before getting to where I am now. It was hard to see myself as a future physician because I never saw people with my background becoming physicians. It took a huge support system, and countless role models that have inspired me to keep going throughout my years in school and in my professional life. To this day, Black, Indigenous and People of Colour are underrepresented in medicine; but, this is a challenge that I am willing to take on as I navigate the field of medicine.
What skills are required to succeed in your profession?
Over the years, I’ve acquired many helpful skills that have gotten me to where I am today. One that really speaks to me is resilience. Aspiring to be a doctor is a long and gruelling path, and so I’ve learned to persevere along the way. Many times, I faced failure—whether it’s a failed test in school or being rejected on my first application to medical school—but what I have learned from these experiences is to stay focused, improve on your weaknesses, and to not lose hope. Resilience also requires you to have a strong support system, so it was important to know when to ask for help when needed. In addition, having a humble mindset and being a team player, I believe these are extremely important in order to succeed in the field of medicine. It is a collaborative profession, so building on these skills is crucial for success.
What advice would you give to others aspiring to be where you are now?
The advice I would give is that getting into medical school is a marathon, not a sprint. You are always going to face obstacles along the way, but it’s how you respond to those challenges that will dictate your success. Take care of yourself, your body and mind. And finally, don’t compare yourself to others – everyone has their own unique journey.