Keeping up with Safi Mohammed, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM), Class of 2014, is no easy task. In addition to the rigors of being a medical student, Safi works part-time for the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, teaches MCAT study courses on the weekend, represents his class as its president, and volunteers for several community service projects throughout the year.
"I like doing different things and volunteering," Safi said. "For me, I always do a bunch of things so it's about balancing everything - balancing school, friends, work, and extracurricular activities and just making time for everything and trying to do it to the best of my ability."
Even though we have a class of 200, it doesn’t feel like that. Everybody knows everybody.”
— Safi Mohammed, MS-III
Midwestern University has given Safi plenty of opportunities to keep busy and help make a difference in the community. "Midwestern is cool because they do a lot to reach out to the community. There are service opportunities that you can do where you feel that what you are doing is making a difference."
Safi has also volunteered at the Community Health Clinic in Chicago which allows students the opportunity to gain clinical experience early on in their medical education. "Once a week, six or seven students from the class volunteer at the clinic to take medical histories, do physical exams, and work with a doctor to develop a treatment plan. It's a great way to get practice before going on rotations."
As he finishes up his last didactic year at CCOM, Safi is eagerly anticipating the next step in his education. "I'm looking forward to just getting into the hospital, starting rotations, and applying what I've learned. I'm really looking forward to being able to help someone and making that connection with someone rather than just knowing it from a textbook," he added.
Although his classmates will see less of each other as they begin their clinical rotations, Safi believes the bonds they have formed during their first two years will last a long time."Even though we have a class of 200, it doesn't feel like that. Everybody knows everybody," he said.
He describes a true spirit of collaboration in his class and says that his fellow students freely share their notes and study guides on Facebook. "It's not at all competitive in the sense that everyone just wants to make each other do better. It doesn't make any difference if the person next to you gets just as good a grade as you do. You're going to do your best and you are going to help them do their best," he added.
It was this sense of cooperation that first drew Safi to CCOM and osteopathic medicine. "I applied both the M.D. and D.O. route. When I interviewed, the D.O. schools seemed a better fit for me. The people seemed happier, the students were more cordial. It just seemed like a better environment. If I was going to spend four years somewhere, I wanted to make sure it seemed liked I'd be happy there," he shares. Safi has no regrets about his decision, "It's been awesome," he declares.
Prior to enrolling at Midwestern University, Safi graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign and started working as a sports scientist for Gatorade. While working full-time, he also earned a master's degree in biotechnology and chemical science.
Safi said he wanted to learn about the corporate environment and continues to work part-time for Gatorade as a consultant. "We test new ingredients or products in the lab on athletes. We measure their blood, sweat, and urine to see how their performance is changing. Sometimes if it's a high-profile athlete we'll come up with a specific formula for them that they can use in the field," he added.
And although he's had the opportunity to meet some famous athletes, he quickly realized that "the corporate environment just wasn't for me." Instead, he wants to devote his life to helping others. "I think medicine is the most rewarding thing I could do."
Safi wants to thank his parents and family for all the support they have given him as he strives to achieve his goals. He also wants to humbly thank his classmates for their confidence and continued faith in him as class president.
Safi Mohammed is a third-year osteopathic medicine student on the Downers Grove Campus of Midwestern University.