Leila Warraich, a graduate from the class of 2012, is a proud alumnus of the American School of Doha.
After graduating from ASD, Leila attended Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. She initially sought to study for medical school but soon realized that all she wanted to do was help people. After joining her campus’ local peer support line, HelpLine, she soon realized she could help others through counseling. She enjoyed helping others and supporting them, and not long after she started, Leila began to hope she could turn this into a career. Soon, she changed her major to psychology and sociology. Despite her change in courses of study, Leila persisted with her volunteer work at Help Line, completing more than 1,500 hours of service in the community.
When she was about to graduate with her bachelor’s degree, Leila had to seriously consider what was necessary to become a counselor. She needed a master’s degree for her profession, so she applied again to different colleges and ended up attending Johns Hopkins University, where she studied for two years and got a master’s in counseling. Leila’s professors at Hopkins inspired her to continue with her education and get a Ph.D. at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Upon graduation, Leila was selected as the student speaker for graduation for the Hopkins School of Education. Leila currently lives in Williamsburg, where she is in the second year of her doctorate.
The highlights of her doctorate include becoming the Student Co-Director of the New Horizons Family Counseling Center, a training clinic providing free services to the community in Williamsburg. Leila has attended four conferences in San Antonio, Seattle, New Orleans, and Atlanta, where she presented her research. She describes the experience of presenting her hard work at these conferences as surreal.
Leila commented about how she still uses the skills that ASD taught her. In particular, these skills mostly came from taking AP World History, with Mr. Klar as her teacher. She learned fundamental skills such as how to think, study, and evaluate critically, but most importantly, how to connect with others. She also still uses her time management skills, as her schedule is constantly packed with schoolwork, clinic work, and more.
Leila felt ASD prepared her for college well through her Honor and AP classes, so the shift she experienced from high school to college was more of a small step. Additionally, ASD’s encouragement of its students to get involved in service, where they can gain great experiences, further prepared Leila.
In her interview, Leila pointed out how ASD’s environment is like no other she has experienced. It’s filled with people from all over the world, teaching her through diverse cultures and ethnicities how to understand others. She often finds herself missing this environment where everyone belongs, having never found it anywhere else.
That’s why Leila offers this piece of advice for students: take advantage of the welcoming environment ASD offers. She added that if anyone is interested in counseling, she would be happy to help and talk with them.