APU Student Experience: Becoming a Physician Assistant

When you think of a career in allied health, a few things probably come to mind: white doctors’ coats, stethoscopes, or perhaps stocked shelves of pharmaceutical products. But for allied health major Timothy Gee ’20, what comes to mind is dancing.

Gee is on the road to becoming a Physician Assistant, a career path that includes a heavy focus on science and medicine curriculum. But a mission trip to the Himalayas reinforced for Gee the importance of relationships and connection in the medical field.

Every evening, in the town where Gee and his fellow students visited, the locals came out of their homes and danced together. They put down their household responsibilities and invited the students to join the neighborhood gathering and dance with them.

“No words were exchanged, but I felt such a sense of hospitality and community there,” Gee said. He realized that building relationships and walking alongside people in their experiences was just as important as providing physical healing. “Helping people or even connecting with people doesn’t necessitate words,” he explained, “it just requires you to be present.”

As Gee completes his degree in allied health and moves toward his career in the medical field, he is learning to appreciate the value of attentive presence. Being a part of the healing process and celebrating with patients in the small moments make a memorable difference in people’s lives, whether they’re suffering or not. “That interaction [in the Himalayas] was just an analogy for what I’ll hopefully be able to do,” Gee said, “connecting with people in spite of the lack of words.”