Blog Post #1

November 25, 2017

GEMS: A Reason to Be Thankful

I’m grateful that GEMS is a marathon and not a sprint. That means I have had time to grow and learn what works for me as a student.

A marathon is approximately 26.2 miles. According to my calculations, if the first day of the program was July 3, 2017 and the final day is May 31, 2018... I’m somewhere around mile 11.4. Almost halfway there!

This experience has been a unique one. If I think back hard enough, I can recreate the sweaty palms and rapid heartbeat (tachycardia if you want to be fancy) I experienced the first morning I walked into LA4.

The thoughts swirling in my mind included:

Oh my gosh.
I can’t believe I’m here.
I’m that much closer to my goals.
I can’t mess this up.
Wait…
Do I remember any of the information I’d studied over the past few weeks?
Who are my peers?
Will I connect with anyone here?
What are the components of the plasma membrane?!

Luckily, those anxieties were put to rest as Interdisciplinary Medical Science I (IMS I) progressed into IMS II, then IMS III. I mean, sure, they were technically replaced with brand new ones:

Oh my gosh. Facilitated. Sessions.
I still can’t believe I’m here!
...At 6:30AM.
...Or on a Saturday.
I still can’t mess this up.
Biochem, biochem, biochem.
Cardio, respiratory, and renal, oh my!
...GI?

But the few days I’ve spent back home for the Thanksgiving holiday have reminded me just how much I have to be thankful for.

Drogon (& Co.):

I can’t have asked for a better small group. The members of my team each push me in different ways and help me grow as a learner. Whether we’re gathering before and after class to review the seven steps of metabolism, or gorging ourselves on homemade post-exam grade pumpkin muffins, I love #TeamDrogon.

On a related note, the other students in the 2017-2018 GEMS class have all supported me in some way, probably without even knowing it. They’ve rooted me on when I’ve shared a fun fact during FS or offered help if I needed clarification on a concept. As we’ve been told on countless occasions, we have an experience that is unique to the 33 of us.

Former GEMS

But you know who has a good idea of what we’re going through? The people who have already escaped The Wilderness and entered The Promised Land. (I suppose Dean Taylor is Moses in this metaphor).

I’ve received guidance and inspiration from many a former GEMS student/current medical student/practicing physician (Hi, Dr. Auguste!). I’m grateful for every person who’s answered a harried text message or phone call to tell me some variation of: keep going; you’ve got this.

Family & Friends

My family and friends have supported me wholeheartedly since I decided to take the leap and pursue medicine. I use their enthusiasm to propel me forward. When I miss an occasion because I’m studying, I know they understand. (And if I’m not studying, they’ll probably ask why not).

Faculty & Staff

The various members of the Georgetown workforce I’ve encountered since being in GEMS are always a breath of fresh air. Dean Taylor, Dean Cheng, and Dr. Kaingo have a lot to juggle with our class and their assorted responsibilities but they are always present, patient, and ready to give each student the individual attention and resources they need to succeed.

Regardless of how I may have been feeling when I woke up, Mr. Antonio in the market and Madame Esther in the custodial staff know just what to say to lift my spirits and put things into perspective.

Sometimes you just need to be reminded that people are rooting for you. I’m grateful that a program exists that sees me as more than just numbers and that I’m surrounded by people who are striving for me to become a doctor.

But yes. Mile 11.4. As I delve into my Explorations presentation and prepare for module courses (!), I will keep telling myself that I’m almost there. 14.8 miles to go.

Blog Post #2

Monday, January 1, 2018 @ 6:37PM

It’s Time

It's Time: Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 800 am, Room SW107

Please leave all books, computers, tablets, and backpacks in your locker.
Our session will start at 800 am in SW107.

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It didn’t take long for the texts and GroupMe messages from fellow classmates to light up my screen.

Dean Taylor’s email was succinct and sweet. It gave us all the details we needed to be in the proper place for our first day back to class and not a nugget of information more.

I was terrified.

It’s time for what???

But really, it was a rhetorical question. As we gathered in a circle and answered Dr. Kaingo’s call to reveal the best moments of our winter vacations (sleeping, eating, seeing family and friends… Tinder dates, etc.), the room buzzed in anticipation of DT’s arrival.

Finally, it was time.

The circle of sharing reset and this time, it was up to us to declare what it was time for. (Let’s see how many times I can say “time” in one post, shall we? Seven so far.)

As each student revealed their understanding of the phrase, I became more and more nervous.

Everyone’s saying really beautiful things. There won’t be anything left for me!

When it was my turn, I blurted the first sentence that had come to my mind when I’d read the email.

“Uh… I thought we were supposed to say ‘it’s time to get down.’”

It wasn’t the most elegant statement I’d ever made but it did result in a few laughs and Dean Taylor even generously suggested I include the moment in the imaginary script (and book!) we’re writing about the GEMS 2017-2018 year.

For you see, it’s been time. There’s a 75 percent chance that the first thing out of Dean Taylor’s mouth when he enters a room where two or more GEMS are gathered is “It’s time to get down!”

As my peers so astutely put it, it was our moment to shine. This was what we’ve sacrificed so much for. Our lives would change forever if we just focused now and truly demonstrated that we’ve applied our understanding of what we say we know. It was time to attack modules and put in every ounce of motivation and discipline into these next few weeks. We had to claim our seats.

As the “worrier” of my study group (shout out to Drogon!), I’ll be the first to admit it. This is a daunting task. These past several months have certainly been more than a dress rehearsal but it’s impossible to shake the unmistakable tension of officially being “on stage” in LA6.

But I have to trust that I have the resources, the training, and the drive to make my dream a reality. I even changed my desktop wallpaper to an inspirational quote to keep me going: “Just give it all you got.” It’s all I can do. When I reach March 17 and have clicked out of my final exam, I want to be secure that even when time is up, I can be confident that my journey to medicine is not over. It’s just the beginning.

PS - Final “time” word count: 14. Not so bad.