James Luu

James Luu

Welcome to the blog!

My name is James and I am a current GEMS student, Class of 2018. I am sure many of you are eager to learn more about the GEMS Program or possibly have questions for those undergoing GEMS right now. If so, rest assured, you are at the right place and hopefully this blog will help you determine whether or not if GEMS is right for you.  I will start with a short introduction about myself, why I chose GEMS and my experience with the program so far. In addition, throughout my blog series, I will feed you exciting entries of my life as a GEMS student.

Prior to GEMS, my academic journey was a roller coaster. I struggled throughout college—not knowing how to utilize my resources properly, rarely asking for help from anybody including my peers and academic advisor, and not figuring out how to strategically tackle courses.  To put it this way, I was nowhere near prepared for the rigors of medical school after college. I devoted the next few years in improving those areas I needed help with and worked closely with valued mentors. After successfully completing graduate work, my underlying problem was not fully resolved—I continued to struggle answering test questions, analyzing problems, and figuring out how to maximize my time more efficiently. I knew I needed help—and GEMS was the solution!

The stories, the legacy, the continuing support, and endless opportunities of the GEMS program is what stood out for me from the rest of the other post-baccalaureate programs out there. GEMS was my golden ticket to Success ! However, I soon realized that success was not going to be a walk in the park. On the first few days of GEMS, I had all sorts of feelings from excitement to optimistic to angst to “what did I sign up for?!”. Nevertheless, I soon realized that GEMS was really testing our limits on an everyday basis.

One of those limits was breaking old habits that I was afraid of letting go. I always had a philosophy “what worked for me before might work for me later” but that only helped circumstances. I had to break my comfort zone and try something different. I trusted Dean Taylor and Dr. Kaingo’s method as they worked closely to each one of us. They provided amazing tools, valuable advice, and evaluations as they continue to monitor our progress.  6 months later, 33 who came in are still in this together. We are 33 strong!

Every day, coming into FS, you do not know what to expect—that is a fact. Everyone will have the opportunity to be on the (black) board. And once you are there, the spotlight is now on you. The feeling of nervousness and the sweat running down my neck was a constant battle. However, overtime, it slowly diminished as my colleagues, in the audience, cheered for me. Even though at the end of day your hands are ashy from writing with chalk, you leave the classroom learning something new or what could be polished, but also knowing that your colleagues are constantly supporting each other’s success.

The doctrine style of Dean Taylor and Dr. Kaingo are different in many ways. Dr. Kaingo trains us to become doctors whereas Dean Taylor trains us to become educators. As Dean Taylor tells us from time to time, “hear me now believe me later”— trust GEMS as your ticket to success!

Please feel free to leave comments or questions and I will get to you as soon as possible! The next following segment to this blog is day-to-day routines as a GEMS student.

Part 1: The “Board”

The infamous board that every GEMS has gone through tests your confidence, your presentation skills, your knowledge, and also how long your legs can endure standing for such long periods.  I honestly believe my weight loss was mainly from being at the board! The longest time of being up there alone in front the class was at least 3 hours straight—and I still remember everything that happened that day as if it was yesterday. It was also the day when a classmate of mine came up to me after class and asked me how I managed to not break. My response, “it was you and the rest of [my colleagues] who got me through.”

The only way to overcome the “board” is simply incorporating it everyday: before class, during lunch, after class, and at home. The board becomes your everyday routine. 

Part 2: Work-Life Balance