Saturday, May 19, 2012

Graduation Day

Today, 10 years after graduating high school, I will finally achieve my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. I think back on all the of the people I met on this journey: my 7th grade history teacher who wanted me to be her child's pediatrician, my 8th grade English teacher who called on me by saying "paging Dr. Shambayati" and compared diagramming a sentence to dissecting a cadaver, my college premed advisor who said that I would never be a doctor and that I should be a therapist instead, and my college English professor who said being a physician is who I am meant to be. Most of all, I want to thank my family, especially my mother who came to this country with me in her arms and stood by me every step of the way, through the hard times and the best times. I love you, and I could not have done this without you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Letter to Comedy Central re: 201

On April 21, Comedy Central aired the 201st episode of South Park. It was heavily censored to hide any reference to Muhammad in the episode because of a threat made by a fundamentalist group called Revolutionmuslim. This is my letter to Comedy Central in response to this:

Dear Comedy Central,

I am a Muslim fan of South Park. I have always enjoyed this program and feel that it serves an important role as social commentary and satire, just like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I saw the episode 200 and felt proud of Matt and Trey for addressing the issue of freedom of speech without fear of repercussions. I found nothing offensive about the episode from an Islamic standpoint; in fact, Matt and Trey treated the Muhammad character with respect. However, what I do find offensive is Comedy Central's censorship of the episode 201. There is nothing wrong with saying "Muhammad" on TV and to bleep it treats it like a curse word. The bleeping of Kyle and the other characters' closing monologues was also wrong. Your loyal viewers have the right to see how the episode ends and the satirical point Matt and Trey were trying to make.

I am most upset by Comedy Central's acquiescence to a fundamentalist group that does not represent Muslim-Americans in any way. If the KKK said that they were offended by an episode, you would not have censored it. Yet you allow terrorists like Revolutionmuslim to take away your freedom of speech while our brave American soldiers are dying for our freedom. In Iran, citizens are rising up to overthrow censorship and oppression. How dare you surrender your voice to the intimidation of a website run by cowards in New York City! You have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of your artists and programming and to respect the intelligence of your audience.

I hope that you will rebroadcast episode 201 without the added bleeps and allow it to be streamed on Remember that you are in the United States of America, and you should never be afraid to be free.

Thank you

Thursday, December 31, 2009

My First 21st Century Decade

Since this is the last day of the decade (depending on how you count it), I thought I'd boil down the last ten years of my life into a big event that summed it up.

2000 - Sweet 16 Party
2001 - 9/11
2002 - High School Graduation
2003 - Started working in medicine
2004 - Voted for the first time
2005 - Took the MCAT
2006 - College Graduation
2007 - Georgetown
2008 - Started Medical School
2009 - Traveling: Austin, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Houston

Who knows what 2010 will bring? Cheers and Happy New Year!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

An American Man and a Little Iranian Girl

An American man was seated next to a little Iranian girl on the airplane, when the stranger turned to her and said, 'Let's talk. I've heard that flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger'. The little girl, who had just opened her coloring book, closed it slowly and said to the stranger: 'What would you like to talk about?'
'Oh, I don't know,' said the American. 'Since you are Iranian, how about nuclear power?' And he smiles.
'OK, ' she said. 'That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first'.

'A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass.
Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass..
Why do you suppose that is?'

The American, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says,
'Hmmm, I have no idea.'?

To which the little girl replies,
'Do you really feel qualified to discuss nuclear power... when you don't know shit?'

Monday, May 11, 2009

Private Practice Personality Quiz

Addison's definitely my favorite character, so I'm happy to get her on the quiz!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

25 Things

Like many of you, I've been noticing how everyone I know on Facebook is making a list of 25 things about themselves. Even the New York Times has done a story on it. Here's my list of 25 things about me you may not have known before.

1. I’m proud to be Persian! It’s amazing to inherit the world’s oldest civilization, a rich culture, and a beautiful language. I feel like Iran is this amazing woman who is held captive by a bad husband so no one can see how great she is and she can’t reach her full potential. I believe that it’s my duty as an expatriate to keep her spirit going, so I often happily take on the role of ambassador of my culture and try to learn as much as I can about Persian history, literature, etc.

2. My biggest pet peeve is ignorance. While there are obviously a lot of misconceptions about Islam and Iran, people are also ignorant about a lot of other things. I think it’s important to be educated about politics, other cultures and faiths, and other disciplines. A lot of scientists don’t know about liberal arts, and vice versa. When I lived in Washington, there was a lot of ignorance about Texas and Southerners. I think a well-rounded education is really important.

3. I love literature. I majored in English in college, and it’s the smartest thing I ever did. I was in a great program at SMU, and I learned a lot about myself and the world around me in my classes. My specialty is British Literature, particularly Romantic poetry, Victorian novels, and Modernist poetry. I consider myself to be a Feminist literary critic, but a lot of my analysis is also seen as “post-colonial” because I interpret things from an “eastern” perspective. I really like either of these labels, but they are part of the discipline. For example, my senior thesis was on Pride and Prejudice, and I included a lengthy discussion about how this book is much more relevant now to those of the Third World than it is to modern Westerners, citing Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran and the film Bride and Prejudice.

4. I hate high-fructose corn syrup. I wrote my masters thesis on it at Georgetown. If you knew all of these horrible things it causes, you would hate it too. It should be banned – don’t eat it!

5. I love teaching! I teach MCAT Verbal for the Princeton Review (it’s the best MCAT prep class!) I really love teaching premeds because I see myself in them, and I have a great opportunity to expose them to literature. My students have done really well in the med school admissions process, and I’m so happy to have been a part of their success. I just got contacted by Princeton Review’s marketing team, and they want to feature me in MCAT brochures nationwide. So I could be the new face of MCAT for the Princeton Review!

6. I’m a fan of mocktails. My favorites are Shirley Temples and Virgin Mojitos.

7. I’m a big fan of Doctor Who. I think it’s such an amazing show, and it’s been on since 1963. It combines my favorite things: doctors, time travel, and Britain. When I find a fellow Whovian, we both get giddy and talk about it. I want my own TARDIS.

8. I was born in England. It’s something cool that people don’t expect. I like a lot of things about England – they also have a long history and produced amazing works.

9. I was born on February 29, Leap Year Day. It’s a great icebreaker. When I was a kid I thought it made me special, like a day had been created just so I could be born. It’s strange to not have a birthday every year, and everyone has an opinion on when I should celebrate mine. For the record, I use February 28, and I think it makes the most sense to me.

10. I broke my collarbone when I was 4. I was climbing a big dresser playing King Kong, and it fell on me. I didn’t break another bone until exactly 20 years later when I broke my wrist in DC tripping on a manhole.

11. I’m addicted to TV. I hate most forms of reality TV (except The Hills and Kardashians), but I watch lots of sitcoms and dramas. Name a show, and I probably watch it. I watch shows via the Internet so that it doesn’t interfere with my school/study schedule. I also watch shows from England (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Robin Hood, Merlin) and Canada (Little Mosque on the Prairie, Degrassi).

12. I love my sisters!! They are my best friends in the whole world!

13. I love tea. I drink it constantly. I use to think it was weird that my parents drank so much tea. But when I moved to DC, I started drinking it all the time, and I still do. I have different flavors to match my moods.

14. I don’t understand how everyone on Gossip Girl seems the same age…and that age is not high school-aged. And Chuck Bass is hilarious

15. I’m loving med school much more than grad school, even though I study the same things. I have a really great group of friends. My three main girls and I really remind me of Sex and the City (without the sex…or the city); we really are there for each other, and I feel like I can count on them for so much. I also think I’m a lot smarter now than I was in grad school, and I can handle things better.

16. I’ve been trying to find new music. Right now, I’m into Farez, Adele, and Jhanvieh. If you have any recommendations, let me know.

17. I love singing and dancing. I used to perform a lot more when I was younger. I hope I’ll get some more opportunities in the future. People still come up to me and ask me if I was that girl who sang “Ey Iran” at the Nowrooz show all those years ago.

18. I like checking out new technology on C-Net. Whether it’s new cell phones or computers, I like knowing what’s out there. Right now, I like the G1, but I’m hoping a G2 will come out when it’s time for me to update my Dash.

19. I check every day. It’s my favorite blog, and it’s so funny! I also follow Persianesque, Madam Secretary, and Michael Moore’s page.

20. NPR is the best radio station. I hated listening to it when I was a kid, but I started listening on my own when I was studying for the MCAT. It’s been four years, and I haven’t stopped. I love Everything you ever wanted to know, Fresh air, Think, and A way with words.

21. I think Mehran Modiri is a genius. He creates, writes, directs, produces, and stars in sitcoms in Iran. They are so funny and clever! Bamshad is the greatest character ever. I also think is very clever, and both these entities are changing the face of Farsi-language TV.

22. I’m an officer for three clubs on campus. I’m most proud of being my school’s delegate to the American Medical Association. I went to the Texas Medical Association conference last weekend in Austin, and we won Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row. I’m so proud of my school, and I’ll do what I can so we win a third time.

23. Apparently, all of my friends think that I can pass for a white American girl. I’m trying to digest this new information, and I still don’t really believe this is true.

24. My favorite band of all time is The Monkees. Forget what you think you know about them, their music is amazing!

25. My favorite drink at Starbucks is a grande, soy, sugar-free vanilla latte with two Splendas. It takes a while to order, but it’s so good!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


It is a new day in America. I am proud to say that I voted for the first African-American president of the United States, Barack Obama! This is a historic night. Tonight, my generation united to make change and end the darkness our country has been in the past eight years. We stood up to an administration that controlled our lives through fear and lies. We finally have a president who will serve with dignity as a symbol of who an American really is. Barack was born a child of an immigrant, raised in a household where he looked different from everyone else in his family, studied hard and received the best education, chose to serve his community instead of looking for a big salary, and finally chose to stand up and serve his country when we needed him the most. President Obama is an inspiration - we can become anything that we want to be. He has changed the face America presents to the world and replaces our redneck cowboy image with cosmopolitan intelligence. From now on, everything will change. We're saved and out of the darkness, and I can't wait to see where President Obama will take us.