Malak Alazaizi - reflections on med education

Submitted 2021-12-06

In Iraq, where I was born, my future was written for me. That I would become a housewife controlled by my husband. However, my parents had dreams that their children would have the ability to choose for themselves. We left Baghdad and moved to Utica, New York when I was six.

For the first two years, I did not have any friends and did not communicate with anyone unless I was required to. During this time, many were still fearful and disliked Muslims due to the 9/11 incident. I had deep conflicts with my self-esteem and was very introverted. I was haunted by the thought that people did not like me because I spoke, dressed, and ate differently. It wasn’t until after I was fluent in English that I started to understand that everyone had the same fear as I did; everyone had worries about fitting in and being accepted. I decided to move on from my fear and better myself.

In high school, the fact that I was different was beneficial. In addition, going to school in a place with so much diversity helped me build confidence and build my competitive skills that made me work harder. I understood that there are many people from many different countries that came to Utica for the same reasons my family had, to receive a better education. I started taking advanced classes and challenged myself to prove my place in society and guarantee myself a seat in the college I want. I am now a proud member of the National Honor Society, Health Careers, and Upward Bound at MVCC.

One of my friends Karen introduced me to Upward Bound. I have been part of this college-prep program since tenth grade. We participate in community service, go on enrichment trips, and tour colleges. Because I spend my summers at MVCC, I am very familiar and comfortable with the staff and professors there. I am also part of the MVCC’s 4 Runners Club for participating in many community services for the college.

During my senior year of high school, I started my freshman year of college through the Magnet Bridge Program because I had already completed my advanced regents diploma and did not have any other classes to take. Every year the program picks around twelve to twenty juniors to get a head start in college. I took my senior year and the first year of college at Mohawk Valley Community College. I received 12 credits for my first semester and I took 20 credits for my second. I did struggle a lot in my second semester because I had a hard time getting used to college classes and managing my classes with my job, however, I learned time management quickly. I didn’t realize 20 credits as well as working 40 hours would be hard to handle, it was difficult, however, I learned my lesson. Next semester, I took more days off from work and dedicated more of my time to studying. I also got invited to be a member of the honor society in MVCC.

After high school graduation, I got accepted into Utica College as a first-year college student in their nursing program, I currently have 105 credits. During my time at Utica College, I participated in a lot of community services. I was part of the Health Studies Student Society, I participated in a 6-week program at the Kelberman Center where we worked with kids that had developmental disorders, it was the best experience ever because kids are my passion. We also participated in other community services in other places such as Upstate Cerebral Palsy, where we racked leaves with autistic kids that had to live in residential halls away from their families because their families did not have the resources to take care of them. I was also part of the Golden Z Club, this club’s main goal is to help women in third war countries that were part of domestic violence, and/or human trafficking. I also joined Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed national fraternity that participated in at least 30 hours of community services every semester.

I worked at St.Luke’s hospital; I worked all year long and got two days off every week. I left St.Lukes after two years of working in the dietary department. Now I’m currently employed at Sitrin, a rehabilitation center for the elderly that need extra help with their daily life. I am currently a residence counselor, and to be able to take care of the residents correctly I had to become medically certified and had specific training from the nurse practitioners that worked there. I am working to save money, buy a car, pay tuition, and pay for my books. I don’t want to depend on anyone other than myself, and I don’t want to end up with an extreme amount of college debt.

I believe that through my hard work and dedication I will be able to achieve my goals of completing my bachelor’s in nursing and later on move onto graduate school to advance my studies and become a CRNA. I will continue to participate in many community services, join clubs, and better myself even further. I am ready to take on the long, yet amazing journey of becoming a registered nurse; helping patients and their families has been my dream. Since I worked at a hospital and a nursing home I know how much hard work and dedication it takes to be a nurse, and I will be proud to be one. Ever since I was a child I saw many people that are sick but didn’t receive any help where I came from. I saw how it affected everyone around them. That is why I plan on helping and healing as many families as I can.