Nawal Almohamad

Like myself, people from all over the world have always dreamt of going to medical school, but they rarely take the time to fully understand what it’s like. Before diving into busy days and incredible expectations at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), it’s important to first look at the best part of being at RCSI- and that’s the sense of accomplishment. It’s not only a prestigious medical school program but it’s well known for its world class standard of healthcare education.

I did my undergraduate degree in Life Sciences and Public Health, at both University of Toronto and Ryerson University- Toronto. To be honest, I applied to multiple medical schools in Australia and Europe. However, I have taken one of the best decisions in my life by joining RCSI- Bahrain, the university I now call home.

From day 1, I couldn’t miss noticing the diversity and inclusion the RCSI community has. In my opinion, it’s an added value which provides a unique culture mix that enables you to learn, understand and experience people from backgrounds and cultures different to yours. It’s like traveling the world in 5 years and not having to purchase a plane ticket.

All throughout the year, RCSI- Bahrain hosts numerous events. In my opinion, the best of these events are the ones that showcase the culture and diversity this university enjoys, events such as international night and talent show. In my second year, I participated in the talent show, and the idea of assigning our own instructors as judges was impressive.  There are also workshops, weekly art sessions, music nights, games nights and various clubs. ‘Fruit of the month’ program is my favorite part of each month. Every month, the university would adopt a certain type of fruit, spread awareness around its benefits and distribute it to students free of cost.

In terms of academics, the first two years of medical school were a mixture of class and lab time. I took classes in basic sciences such as anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology and pharmacology. We also got introduced to the basics of interviewing and examining a patient every week. Also, many consultant guest lecturers made the experience very practical and engaging. I have to admit, at the beginning, I felt overwhelmed with the excessive amount of factual knowledge that we had to learn within each semester. However, there is always help if you look for it. RCSI-Bahrain launched a “mentor-ship program” aimed at providing new students with a mentor whose role primarily is to give guidance to their assigned student in setting clear goals aimed toward their future desired match. In addition, the Careers and Alumni Office are launching a new USMLE step 1 program starting September 2019.

Of course, the beginning is always the hardest. However, the startup dream is never an overnight success. The late nights of tears and stressful times will translate themselves at the end into a story worth being told and shared. Always remember that your passion for your dream carries its weight in gold when you have to explain to peers what you have been through and why you are unique.