Like the admissions process at every medical school, it usually takes time for all the pieces to fall into place. From completing your initial application to the interview, the admissions process at American University of Antigua (AUA) is intense. Thankfully, it was fruitful for me: I was accepted to the August 2013 class.

I decided to apply to AUA in October 2012. I was interested in applying to a Caribbean medical school because my uncle and brother both graduated from Caribbean medical schools. After reading AUA’s mission statement and learning about the school’s approvals and accreditations, I applied. Once I sent the completed application, the rest was simply a waiting process.

I received a call from an admissions counselor in January. She informed me that I was granted an interview, which made me incredibly happy. After scheduling my interview, I knew I had to prepare. My preparation strategies included several prepared monologues in front of a mirror and having mock interviews with close friends.

On January 24, it was the moment of truth. I took two trains to the Manhattan office. It was a long commute but the interview didn’t take that much time. It was about an hour-long and it included questions like “Why do you want to become a doctor?” and “Why did you choose AUA?” I was presented with hypothetical medical situations where I had to consider the best course of action and whether it was ethical. Throughout the interview, I felt I had an opportunity to allow my personality to shine through, allowing my interviewer to empathize with my life experiences. Two weeks later, I received my acceptance letter.

Opening that acceptance letter was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. Going through the twenty-page welcome packet made me feel like I was one step closer to pursuing my dreams. After this, the process consisted of the “nitty-gritty” details, such as deciding how to pay for medical school, choosing housing, and booking a round-trip ticket to the island.

After spending countless months researching and putting together my application, I now have a United Airlines ticket to Antigua. Even though I’m really excited to fly down, I’m experiencing mixed emotions. Accompanying my elation is anxiety about how the first semester of medical school is going to be and how I will adapt to a medical student lifestyle. As I am about to live on an island 1,780 miles away from my two-bedroom apartment in Flushing, I am making a transition from being a New Yorker to a tourist on a Caribbean Island. I realize I’m not alone with these feelings, though. These changes are what every student must be willing to sacrifice as part of the process of becoming a physician.

by Heela Azizi, Class of 2017