Dr. Jesus Herrera
Dr. Jesus Herrera
El Paso, Texas
The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
I grew up working with my father in our ranch in Mexico who taught me that to succeed one needs hard work and dedication. With this in mind, I set out on the path to become a physician. What I lacked the most was a road map; an understanding of which step to take next. JAMP is this road map; one of the best things about JAMP is that it allows students like me to continue to work hard to reach their goal without having to worry about the 'next step.
How has JAMP helped you as you strive to achieve your goal of becoming a doctor?
I would not have had the same opportunities and experiences without JAMP. The reason I applied to JAMP was because I had no guidance when I was a freshman in college. I knew I wanted to be a physician, but didn’t know what steps I needed to take. Given that I had no one in my family to look to for help, my mentor suggested applying to JAMP. I then realized that not only does JAMP guide you, it also helps with the economic burden; something I had not taken into consideration. You don’t think about the expenses until you start paying for them. Another great aspect of JAMP is its summer programs. They allow the student to get educational exposure to medicine and also reinforce the reasons why they are going into medicine; it wasn’t until my first summer with JAMP that I knew I had not made a career choice mistake. During these summer programs you get exposed to various physicians across different fields, all giving great advice and opening your eyes to the areas in the world of medicine. Taking the MCAT was another big hurdle that I struggled with. JAMP helped me pin-point my weaknesses and gave me all the necessary tools to overcome them. For example, literature was my weakest subject, but JAMP helped me every step of the way.
What advice would you like to offer current or future JAMP students?
Read! JAMP gives you all the tools to succeed. They mentor you and find you resources for you to succeed. In the end, it’s up to the individual to make it happen. There is no other way around it except for countless hours of studying and reading. Not just reading to read, but actively trying to learn in order to develop the skills necessary to succeed in medical school, and in the future board exams. The MCAT is one small hurdle in the road, but during medical school the amount and sheer volume of work and tests can be overwhelming. For these reasons, having a strong base and study routine will help you get through the rigorous medical school curriculum.
Take advantage of summer programs. This is your opportunity to reach out to experts in education to strengthen your weaknesses. This is also a time to get as much exposure as you can to medicine. It is rare to have the opportunity to shadow pretty much specialist in all areas. Remember, JAMP is there for you, so take advantage of its resources.
What aspect of JAMP has been most beneficial to you?
There are a couple of ways I feel JAMP has helped me. First, it allowed me to make a better, thought-out, reasoned decision on which school I wanted to attend since I was able to interview at all medical schools. There are important differences between schools, and being able to see them all is something that might not have happened without JAMP. Medical school is demanding and overwhelming in itself; being in a place that fits you and where you are happy is very important.
Another important aspect of JAMP is they are a first immersion into the “family” that you are joining. During medical school I found myself studying with my fellow JAMP students from undergraduate, and It not only made studying enjoyable, but also reinforced a lot of topics that helped me succeed in medical school.
Also, being a first generation college graduate with no other family member in the medical profession, it is very much like swimming it alone; I was opening new ground and had no one close to go to. It’s easy to feel lost. I grew up working with my father in our ranch in Mexico who taught me that to succeed one needs hard work and dedication. With this in mind, I set out on the path to become a physician. What I lacked the most was a road map; an understanding of which step to take next. JAMP is this road map; one of the best things about JAMP is that it allows students like me to continue to work hard to reach their goal without having to worry about the “next step.”