Paying it forward


There is no doubt that the journey through medical school can be incredibly long and stressful with constant sacrifices that must be made in order to achieve our goals as future doctors.

Although the conditions and environments of medical students vary considerably in different countries, it is nonetheless a certainty that studying medicine is difficult, regardless of where you are in the world.

Despite the war and the hardships, we are constantly striving to find ways of improving our lives so I often ask myself, what inspires us Syrians to keep pursuing our goals? What is the reason behind our stories of success that inspires people all around the world?

These precise questions has made me realize that the reason behind our hope for a better future, our foundational key to all success is essentially built on those who altruistically devote their time and effort to help others. There are several mentors and professors whose tutelage and guidance I will carry with me throughout my career. These individuals were more than just educators; they inspired me and other students to be ambitious and to always think positively regardless of our current situation. Indeed, their passion for education and progress for our revival has inspired me to take this opportunity to not only acknowledge them, but to follow their lead as exceptional characters.

DR. Youssef Barakat (An Associate Professor at Faculty of Medicine in Damascus University), who believes that innovation starts by asking questions instead of simply providing answers and ideas for students.

He encourages a sense of wonder and curiosity among students, which has not only triggered our hunger to learn more but also instilled in us a design-orientated way of thinking. His technique has enabled students to grow their knowledge through allowing us the time and space for our own perception on things.

DR. MHD Eyad Khattab (Chief resident in the ENT-HNS Department at AL MOWASAT UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL), personality and patience when dealing with us made him one of the favorite mentors among many students. His way of mentoring was through humbleness even under intense pressure. He believed in our potential more than we believed in ourselves and pushed us to our limits in order to accomplish our goals.

Prof. DR. Maysoun kudsi (Vice Dean Of administrative Affairs), believes that the true connection of education is in the core of learning. Her determination to create a strong bond with students is truly admiring. Dr. Maysoun has not only helped us with numerous projects but also brought her fellow associates to help further, making sure that we are acquainted with the latest in the medical field.

In turbulent times we often need to seek help from others to stay wary, and well prepared for the potential difficulties we might encounter along the road. Some hands will lift you up while others might bring you down. Therefore, it is more important to employ mentors with professional integrity to guide within the educational field and medical community. As Jeff Myers once said, mentoring is the cultivation of young adults. Indeed, a good mentor does not only educate you, they turn your fears into confidence, hesitancy into certainty, and they change you for the better.

*The image was taken from google images.

About the author:

Lilav Hussein, 6th year medical student in a 6- year program at Damascus University, from kamishli Syria. From a young age, I have always been enthralled by the human body, and it was the direct result of my compassion for researches which I consider it a great tool to prove understanding of various issues. My goal as a future doctor is to employ such new techniques that aspire to enhance the health of people and the importance of mind-body connection. Lilav may be reached at

Guest Authors Initiative:

The IIT Syrian student blog welcomes guest contributions from university students from Syria and around the globe.  To learn more about the Guest Authors Initiative, please contact Suhaib at 

Suhaib was born in Kamishli, Syria, and earned his bachelor’s degree in December 2014 from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Armour College of Engineering, with earlier studies at Aleppo University and Damascus University. Suhaib majored in Civil Engineering with a concentration in structural engineering. Upon graduation, he accepted a position as a project engineer working on projects throughout the state of Illinois; he lives in Springfield.

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