Alumna Reflects on Personal Growth During Med School
“I’m so grateful to have found AUC, and that’s why I want to share my story,” Dr. Tiwari says. “It’s the best thing to ever happen to me.”
Kanchan Tiwari, MD ’16 had never pictured leaving her home state to pursue medicine, much less going international. But today, this AUC grad is an internal medicine resident at MedStar Health in Baltimore, and couldn’t be happier with the path she took.
“I Needed to Know It Was Possible”
A Dallas native, Dr. Tiwari had always dreamed of becoming a physician. But when a round of applications to Texas medical schools didn’t pan out, she assumed her dream was out of reach. She took on a microbiologist position at a pharmaceutical company and continued to shadow physicians to stay connected to the career she truly wanted, but had little hope that anything would come from it.
“I still wanted to be a doctor, but I didn’t see how it was going to happen,” Dr. Tiwari says. “I just needed one person to let me know that it was possible.”
As luck would have it, that person happened to be one of the physicians that Dr. Tiwari was shadowing, whose son had graduated from AUC. He told Dr. Tiwari about AUC’s campus in Sint Maarten and clinical rotations in the U.S., and suggested that Dr. Tiwari apply.
“I was very nervous about it at the time—the idea of adjusting to a new country while in med school,” Dr. Tiwari remembers. “But when I look back, I tell everybody that those were some of the best days of my life.”
Part of the AUC Family
Dr. Tiwari enrolled in May 2012—one of AUC’s three start dates throughout the year. Although it wasn’t the traditional September start that most medical students take, Dr. Tiwari says joining the May class was advantageous for her. In addition to smaller class sizes, she had more flexibility and time to prepare for the United States Medical Licensing Examinations® (USMLE).
“Starting in May allowed me the freedom to schedule my electives and exams in the way that worked best for me,” Dr. Tiwari says. “I was even able to finish my Step 3 exam before starting residency, which is a huge weight off my shoulders now. That was one of the smartest things I did for myself.”
And despite her initial apprehension to step out of her comfort zone, Dr. Tiwari found her confidence in herself growing during her time at AUC. She was making close friends, building relationships with faculty, and, most importantly, working towards a career that she loved.
“AUC has a great culture. It’s a very supportive environment,” Dr. Tiwari says. “I made one of my best friends at AUC, and I’m still in touch with faculty who are more than willing to offer advice and guidance, even after graduating. That support system is always there for you, whether you’re a student or an alum.”
Coming Full Circle
In fact, Dr. Tiwari enjoyed her experience at AUC so much that she sought out a residency program with a similar culture and community atmosphere. Having completed clinical rotations at MedStar as a fourth year student, she was familiar with the hospital and knew that it would be a great fit for her.
“I chose MedStar for the same reasons that I loved AUC,” Dr. Tiwari said. “At MedStar, they care about the residents a lot. They expect us to work hard, but they emphasize our education and growth as physicians. I’m very happy to be doing what I love in a place where there’s great support.”
Looking back, Dr. Tiwari is thankful that she never gave up on her dream to earn her MD, even when it seemed the odds were against her.
“If you know for sure that you want to do medicine, and you put in the hard work, it’s absolutely possible,” Dr. Tiwari said. “I think a lot of people are afraid to take that next step like I was, and it’s just not worth losing your dream over that fear."