The KU School of Medicine Class of 2024 started medical school virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic. They were the only class for whom the white coat ceremony was held virtually. Most students got to know each other through the class GroupMe chat, and other than that, there were not too many chances to get to know people outside of small groups. One way through which students connected with each other was student interest groups led by several students in the class. One of these groups is the KUMC Student Community Providers, which organizes student volunteers to help with actionable ongoing needs in Wyandotte County. The group is currently managed by several students in Class of 2024, but it was initiated through the efforts of Sophia Leonard and Karam Hamada. This is a conversation between Karam Hamada, a second-year medical student at KUMC, and Kimia Memar, one of our Med Intima Narrative editors from the same class.
- How do you describe yourself?
I consider myself to be different if that makes sense. I have a fascination with not fitting in, and I have an issue with doing the same thing repetitively for long periods of time. So that’s why I always need to be doing different kinds of experiences all the time and meet different people.
- From personal experience, I know not fitting in the mainstream is not easy. However, I see how you are embracing that and letting it liberate you.
I think part of it could be that I bounced around many different schools growing up. I went to 8 different schools, and every one of them was so different with regards to its identify, with students ranging from very low to very high socioeconomic statuses. Having to switch and adapt my identify to each of them was really taxing on me. So in college, I decided to be myself because I would never be able to fully fit in. I want to help my family and everyone around me, but I also want to uplift them to feel comfortable in doing what they want to do. I’m really big into service and that is not just community service: it is giving back and inspiring others to give back.