When he was a first-semester student at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), Mohit Ajmeri remembers being asked medically related questions by members of his family—and feeling helpless because he didn’t yet have the knowledge to answer them.
But that all changed after he experienced his first Community Action Day, which gave him insight into something we emphasize here at AUC—that being a doctor isn’t just about book smarts or absorbing medical school lore. It’s equally about character, and commitment, and giving back.
Mohit—a Brampton, Ontario native and University of Waterloo grad who's slated to earn his MD from AUC in 2018—realized that though he might not yet be able to answer complex questions about diseases, he could tap into the other attributes that make a great physician and harness them to help others.
How Mohit Made a Difference
For those who aren’t familiar with Community Action Day, it’s an AUC tradition that takes place every semester. AUC students travel to selected areas of island with one goal—helping the community. Some students helped clean up the St. Maarten Zoo. Others hosted children from local foster homes for breakfast and a morning of exercise, play, and a talent show.
“Through Community Action Day, I was able to take my first step in making a difference in the community,” writes Mohit in the personal essay—a missive that helped earn him the Social Accountability Award, a scholarship recognizing students who have made contributions to the communities of St. Maarten during their time at AUC. It’s awarded to third-, fourth-, and fifth-semester students.
What Helped Him for the Scholarship
During his first semester—his first-ever Community Action Day—Mohit helped restore the island’s Red Cross warehouse after it suffered storm damage. He and his fellow medical school students, along with some St. Maarten citizens, cleared out the warehouse of water and damaged supplies, evaluated usable items, and restocked the facility.
“This being my first experience working alongside citizens of St. Maarten, I saw how hard-working they are,” he wrote.
He took it to the next level during his second Community Action Day, where he worked alongside members of the South Asian Medical Students Association (SAMSA) during a trip to the Hillside Christian School in St. Maarten, where the group taught healthy habits to children.
“We helped in building the greenhouse and planting various fruits and plants,” wrote Mohit. “The interaction I had with the locals on the island made me realize their passion to help their own community … I was able to help with construction, [planting], and mentoring the children that attended the session.”
As he mentored those children, Mohit wrote, he could see himself as a future physician.
“Working with the children and getting such a positive response from them reassured me that I was on the right career path to become a doctor,” he wrote.
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Posted January 21, 2016 10:58 AM