By Yuri Svjagintsev, Broadside Correspondent

Being an undergraduate student is a very eye-opening and difficult time. Why is it difficult? Possibly because, for many students, it means deciding what they want to pursue for the rest of their lives.

Some students are clueless to what their future professions will be. This is why organizations like Alpha Epsilon Delta exist on the George Mason University campus. The objective of this professional organization is to prepare students for a career as a physician and how to be successful in the challenging task of applying and completing medical school.

According to Dara Kabban, Alpha Epsilon’s events coordinator and a senior biology major, the organization is also an “honor society that does service.”

One of the programs offered is a shadow program, in which students shadow a medical professional. Since Alpha Epsilon Delta is an honor society, it requires participants to uphold a certain GPA.

On Tuesday, the fraternity invited participants in VCU’s medical school to come and speak at the Johnson Center.

The participants in this organization were all at different stages of their medical careers. They ranged from Asad Qassim, a fourth-year medical student at VCU, to Dr. Bashian, a retired pediatrician.

Students were given the opportunity to ask the panel different questions regarding a life in the medical career. Questions ranged from the short-term “how do I get into medical school?” to the more revealing “what experience affected you the most in your job?”

The answers to this question showed the nature of being a doctor in a brutally honest light. Discussions about the inevitable mortality of some patients and how, even in death, a new life can be saved were featured. In one story featured, one of the participants had an 18-year-old boy die on her watch, only to have his healthy organs donated to some future patient in need.

It is these sorts of experiences, according to Kabban, that help students decide if this is the career path they want to go down.

“We have guest speakers like this in every meeting,” said Benefsha Mohammad, a senior biology major. “Their experiences gave me a strengthened desire to go to med school.”

What was equally amazing were the motivations of the Mason students who wanted to go down this route. Mohammad had a patriotic reason of her own. “I was born in Mazari-I-Sharif in Afghanistan, and most of the people there live in desperate conditions. I would like to return to Afghanistan out of an obligation to my people.”

When asked if medical schools were only looking for science majors, both Bashian and Mohammad countered that this was not necessarily the case.
“In fact, some of the most popular majors of incoming med students are English and anthropology,” said Bashian. “However, it is important that you have a scientific understanding before applying to medical school and taking the MCAT.”

Brian Colchao, a junior majoring in biology said, “Biology is the best major in gaining that understanding before you go to med school.”