Ava Karimi wanted to study medicine for as long as she can remember. But while growing up in Iran, she couldn’t because of her religion.
“I actually couldn’t go to university,” she said. “It was basically more like a dream than a reality.”
When she was 18, her family moved to Dallas and that dream became more tangible. Karimi started volunteering at hospitals and the more she did, she says, the more it felt like a calling. She began looking into different schools and ultimately chose UT’s Dell Medical School – becoming one of the 50 students in its inaugural class. She says it was a privilege to be a part of this first group of med students, who are set to graduate May 21.
“Thinking about it, I get very emotional,” Karimi said. “I remember the first day that we all came to our medical school, we were basically the first 50 people just walking around and we felt like we owned school – like it’s our school.”
Then came four long – exhausting – years. But, she says, one thing kept her going.
“I’d imagine myself at my graduation – thinking about this milestone to celebrate the completion of all these years of learning,” she said. “Thinking about embarking on that new chapter as a physician.”
Karimi was so close; graduation was only a couple months away when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“Now, it’s like a new reality,” she said. “It’s completely different than what I ever imagined.”
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