In July of 2007, 188 of us stood on the UAG campus the first day of medical school orientation. The feeling was overwhelming, for this marked the beginning of a new life, a fresh start for many of us. While we anticipated many of the hardships of both medical school and life in a foreign country, including no sleep, horrible driving, unpredictable political stability, no social life, and frequent power outages, what we would face over the next 4 years would be far more difficult than anything we could have imagined. It started with the tragic loss of one of our classmates in second semester, and it continued with first USMLE exam . We have lived with the H1N1 outbreak, dengue fever, typhoid fever, and countless exposures to tuberculosis, drug cartel attacks inside and outside our city, hospitals with no air conditioning and clinics with no medical supplies. Despite all of this, we have managed to have fun, fall in love, travel, represent our school in US rotations to Harvard, Mayo Clinic, USC, and the UT Health System, and we stand before our friends and families today, ready to graduate from medical school. Many of us have lost hair (including the females), developed adult-onset acne and back problems, suffered through numerous diarrheal and parasitic illnesses, and gained weight (despite the diarrhea), and we are ready to propose that 4 years in medical school in Guadalajara may age you more than a 4-year term as a US president.
As a graduating class, we are now 60, and we are ready to celebrate. We face one more hardship, though, as we near our graduation celebration. UAG does not fund the majority of our graduation, including white coats, invitations, pictures, post-graduation refreshments, and robes. We had plans to fundraise through various events at our school during the semester, but many classmates are in the US or Puerto Rico representing our school in rotations, thus making fundraising efforts very difficult.
We are using this platform to ask for donations not only to make our graduation something special, but to be able to give back to the community and school that has helped us achieve our goal of becoming MDs. We hope to raise at least $13,000, with $1,200 going towards 2-3 USMLE Question Bank Scholarships for international students, 1-2 $350.00 scholarships to needy classmates to pay for their togas, class photos and invitations, $2,000 towards medical supplies and basic necessities for patients of the clinics in underprivileged areas of Guadalajara, and $9,000 towards our graduation (which includes white coats, programs, music, post-graduation receptions, etc.). We hope to set a precedent with the use of this platform, so that all future graduating classes can celebrate appropriately, while giving back to the very community that made it all possible. We appreciate your love and support and will continue to represent our school, patients, friends and families in the best way possible as we continue our lifelong journeys in medicine.
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