"Participating in SHPEP was a transformative experience as it exposed me to a wide spectrum of opportunities and careers in healthcare through clinical exposure, rotations, health policy seminars, research, counseling, financial planning workshops, etc."
Mr. Alzier is a pre-medical student and earned his bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington in 2021. He participated in SHPEP at the University of California Los Angeles and Charles R. Drew University in 2020. He is currently a SHPEP ambassador and a member of the SHPEP Engaging Men Committee.
Mr. Alzeir was born and raised in Jordan and lived in many cities across the world including Seattle, Toronto, and Amman. Mr. Alzeir participated in SHPEP at the University of California Los Angeles and Charles R. Drew University in 2020. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington in 2021. Today, he is a pre-medical student, serves as an SHPEP ambassador, and is a member of the SHPEP Engaging Men Committee.
What path did you take when you first started college?
I started attending college at the age of 16, as I participated in a program that allows high school students to enroll in a community college and complete their high school graduation requirements and up to two years of college which I did. I completed an Associate of Arts in Biology in those two year then transferred to UW where I applied and got in a biochemistry major.
What are some of your recent milestones?
I recently graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at the age of 20 with Baccalaureate Honors. I was awarded the Certificate of High Scholarship by UW in recognition of academic excellence and selection to the 2020-2021 Annual Dean’s List.
This is a tremendous milestone as a pre-medical student who finished all of his undergraduate education and now is ready to enter medical school.
What makes your story unique? Combined with what obstacles did you overcome in your educational or career journey?
What makes my story unique is that I am a person who was able to overcome a variety of obstacles proposed by my immigration. In my immigration from Jordan to Canada, the shift in my environment was radical, especially in students’ demographics. I felt entirely isolated from my classmates and couldn’t function as I usually would in a classroom. This resulted in unsatisfactory academic performance and limited social engagement. I realized that to succeed here, I had to become flexible and learn a new language and skills, such as interacting with diverse peers, and adapting to different educational systems. I learned English and started learning Spanish on top of Arabic my native language. Speaking these languages has always been a great tool that helped me in interacting and engaging with my classmates, as I find many pre-medical students speaking Arabic. The skills I have developed carried on helping me throughout the rest of my academic and professional journey and will allow me to handle the fluctuations of being in medical school.
What surprised you the most about graduate/health professional school?
I applied to attend medical school in 2023, but have yet to start.
How did SHPEP influence you?
I applied to SHPEP in the first quarter I transferred to a four-year university. Participating in SHPEP was a transformative experience as it exposed me to a wide spectrum of opportunities and careers in healthcare through clinical exposure, rotations, health policy seminars, research, counseling, financial planning workshops, etc. Through all of that, I was able to grow and diversify my activities as a pre-medical student. I participated in many academic and extracurricular activities that shaped my pre-medical career that I learned about in SHPEP and that it opened the door for such as becoming a SHPEP Ambassador. Participating in SHPEP developed my confidence as I learned about the imposter syndrome and how to overcome it alongside the obstacles faced in the route to a health career. SHPEP also provided me with a lasting and diverse network of acquaintances of students pursuing health careers, which creates a community where information and counseling could be shared. For these reasons SHPEP was the most beneficial and influential program in my pre-medical career.
What is the best career advice you have received?
In one period of my undergraduate career, I felt overwhelmed and started doubting my abilities to continue my academic career in chasing my passion of becoming a physician. In discussing the way I was feeling, I received valuable advice that shifted the trajectory of my career, It was, “don’t let water get in your boat.” I understood that I shouldn’t let the obstacles I am facing get inside of my head and overwhelm me, just like a boat cannot let water in, otherwise it would sink. This advice helped me realize that it’s not obstacles that can hinder me from pursuing a health career, rather it’s how I handle these obstacles.
What advice do you have for students pursuing a health professional career?
Pursuing a health professional career is a long journey that at times a student might feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and responsibilities required in this journey. This feeling can lead to doubts in abilities and struggling with imposter syndrome which can lead the student to giving up on pursuing a health career for the wrong reasons. My advice is that students should be aware that this is something they are very likely to encounter in this academic and professional pathway and that when it happens, they shouldn’t be discouraged but rather should remain persistent and assess whether the factors that led to their feelings are due to mental burnout and exhaustion that can be treated or change of passion.