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Omar Zghal - In the right place

Omar Zghal, Midicine Class of 2017, always wanted to go to medical school. Blessed with a skill and love of science that he coupled with a strong work ethic, he achieved his goal two years ago. And the best part was that he was able to remain in Windsor – a community for which he has great passion.

Throughout high school, Zghal excelled in math and computer science, travelling to competitions across Canada and the United States. As he pondered his future, he wanted to find a way to use these skills and have a positive impact on the lives of people in his community. He knew medicine was the answer.

Focused on his goal, Zghal tackled his undergraduate university degree with the same discipline and fervor as he had his high school studies.

He was part of the outstanding scholars program at the University of Windsor, giving him the opportunity to explore his research interests and work in a lab during his second year. He continued his research throughout his undergraduate studies thanks to funding from an NSERC summer research award.

Beyond the classroom and the lab, Zghal became involved with the University of Windsor’s Student Alliance, helping with elections and sitting on the marketing committee, as well as serving as a student senator.

He became president of the Muslim Students Association, getting involved with activities on and off campus. If that wasn’t enough, he also volunteered at the Cardiac Wellness Centre.

By the time Zghal graduated, he had been awarded the President’s Medal for academic achievement and was accepted to the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry – Windsor Program.

Now in his second year of his undergraduate medical degree, Zghal knows he is in the right place.

Medical school, he says, is everything and more than he thought it would be. “The quality of education really impresses me, the curriculum is great, and we learn so much. There are some days when I just say "wow", I can’t believe how much I have learned in such a short time.”

He’s grateful as well for the faculty, who he believes love teaching and are committed to providing students with the best experience possible.

Zghal is soaking it all in, and has especially enjoyed the clinical sessions and Discovery Week. “Spending a week in Chatham in first year was a really good eye opener,” said Zghal. “Seeing patients and learning about the human experience behind the disease was really beneficial.”

Despite the heavy workload, which Zghal says can be a challenge to balance at times, he has continued to be involved in extra-curricular activities.

He serves as a member of the BCOE Committee, and the Psychiatry Club. This past summer he also continued his research, turning his attention to a retrospective study on cancer patients at the Cancer Centre in Windsor.

Longer term, Zghal is hoping to practise in Windsor. He hasn’t yet decided upon a specialty, but isn’t concerned, as he believes his clerkship will help to provide the right direction.

For now, however, Zghal is enjoying the ride and the connection with and support from his classmates, family and community.

“The bonds of friendship in our class are so strong and they really help us through the experience. It’s a blessing to have this program in Windsor,” he said. “I can stay in my community, be surrounded by my family, and receive a top notch medical education; I feel very fortunate.”