When he thinks back to his medical school application process, one experience stands out pretty clearly in George Soliman’s mind. He’d completed an interview at one US school and had felt it had gone well, until his interviewer concluded it with these words: “Son, you’ll never be a doctor.”
It wasn't exactly what he wanted to hear.
A Personal Challenge to Enroll in Medical School
Rather than become deflated, Soliman took that comment as a personal challenge. He enrolled at AUC and pursued his education with renewed grit and determination.
“I went to St. Maarten and participated in student life a lot more than I did in college," says the 2013 AUC graduate. "I joined the medical fraternity my second semester. In my third semester, I was voted president, and I served in that role until I left the island.”
Now, Soliman's in the midst of wrapping up his first year of residency training in anesthesia at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.
AUC's Team-Oriented Environment Made a Difference
Soliman says that among the attributes he appreciates most about AUC is the approachability of the faculty members. Although their credentials intimidated him at first, over time, he came to see his instructors as friends.
“AUC students routinely have dinner with faculty and are invited to their homes," says Soliman. "They also helped us assimilate to life on the island by introducing us to places we should go eat or go for fun. There were many times I would go to Dr. [Ron] Testa’s (Dean of Medical Sciences, Professor of Behavioral Science) office and he’d be busy but he’d drop everything and talk with me for as long as I needed.”
Soliman was also impressed by the school’s team-oriented educational environment. “The whole campus is designed for study groups,” he says, “and there are many places where you can sit and collaborate and have discussions outdoors.” Early on in his education, he formed a tight-knit study group with around five other students. “It was great," he says. "Even if we were stressed about our exams, we could sit outside in the sun and see an awesome view of the ocean.”
A Safe, Trusting Academic Community
AUC's island location turned out to be a plus for Soliman. He found the setting not only restful, but one that promoted a safe and trusting atmosphere for learning. “Everyone shares ideas, and no one is ridiculed or judged,” he says.
Most importantly, he says that he appreciates AUC for giving him a chance to discover what he’s made of. “AUC believed in me when others didn’t," he says. "They looked at other characteristics besides hard numbers and saw someone who was passionate and wanted to go into medicine. And they provided me with the opportunity and the knowledge that I would put forth the effort. I saw AUC as my chance to do what I wanted when others said it couldn’t be done.”
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Posted February 12, 2015 11:26 AM