Student Life

“I was born and raised in Pakistan, but my wanderlust and my pursuit of higher education brought me to the U.S. after high school, all by myself. I landed in Houston, Texas where I did my B.S. in Biology.

[Originally published in Synapse - The UCSF student newspaper Nov. 6, 1997] Last year I arranged to spend the month of July working at two small hospitals in San Miguel, a town of 50,000 people in the highlands of central Mexico. I went hoping to learn how Mexican-born patients, who would make up much of my practice here, are cared for at home for common problems like diabetes, hypertension and stroke.

"My whole body felt itchy, bumps were popping up on my back, my face swelled up like a hot air balloon… What could it be? On Jan. 21, 2017, and again on Feb. 4, 2017, I had anaphylactic allergic reactions and was driven to the ER by my fiancé.

One by one, from a lone chair atop a brightly lit stage, students and staff opened up about their journeys of coming out to the world. On Oct. 12, members of UCSF’s LGBTQ community came together for the 2nd Annual Coming Out Monologues, where brave voices volunteered to tell their stories. Hot on the heels of National Coming Out Day, the Monologues represented a night of unity for the queer community, where we could be vulnerable and discover how different yet relatable many of our experiences are. Between inspirational stories, videos of the OUTlist played where, similar to this event, members of the UCSF queer community spoke on their lived-in experiences.

“I’m from the east coast and never ever in my dreams thought I’d come out here. My whole immediate family is in New England. We could talk to each other out the window if we want to. My mom said, ‘don’t ever look at the Pacific.

“Before beginning my path toward dentistry I lived in New York City. My friend and her coworker were visiting from Arizona and we met up for drinks. Happy hour turned into ‘regular hour,’ which then turned into a week of showing off the city.

“This past summer, my classmate, Tammy McCall, and I had the exciting opportunity to complete our health policy internship in Norway from June through August.

“I love to escape the masses, put on a backpack and explore the mountains, or pick up and move to a new place where I don’t know a soul. It’s thrilling to feel so vulnerable.

“I find that it’s hard to be sure about many things, and I try to stay open so I can move forward as things change. At the same time, there are so many things to be sure of. I’m sure that a positive attitude goes a long way.

“Being forced to resign from my 11-year gymnastics career was incredibly life changing for better and for worse. I had countless discussions with healthcare providers telling me that my physical abilities would be limited as I had a high risk for trauma. However, I refused to acknowledge the limitations that were set before me.