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Thread: The Rumors were True/Welcome to Grenada, A Student's Guide for Students

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    bio_uci is offline Newbie 514 points
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    The Rumors were True/Welcome to Grenada, A Student's Guide for Students

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    While I was on the island for my interview I met many nice/friendly students, one of whom emailed this to me. He said he would try to get SGU to send it out to all incoming freshman but I do not think that ever happened. It is very helpful and I thought I would share it with everyone. I deleted his full name and email addy for his privacy.


    Welcome to Grenada.

    First off, you probably do not know how lucky you are. The surprise for each new student is how beautiful Grenada is and how anyone could keep their sanity studying in any other place. What follows is a guide to your classes and a glimpse into what your life is going to be like in Grenada. A small disclaimer: I am a white American male twenty-something who had never left the US before coming to Grenada. Though I asked several people to look at this guide before finishing, it is still very possible that certain aspects of Grenadian life specific to women were missed. For this I apologize. If there is any topic for which you would like more information, feel free to email me at ********* and I will do my best to fill in those gaps. Now let us get started.

    ARRIVING

    It is GrenEHda, not GrenAHda. Pronouncing it correctly is a big deal. Grenada was described to me as a third world country before I came and this will not be your experience. Your time on campus will be indistinguishable from any university in the US; your dorm life will be no different than your undergraduate experience. Everyone uses the bus or drives a car. You will have your Subway, your TCBY Treats, movie theaters, malls, grocery stores, hardware stores, school supplies, bars and clubs. You probably will not be able to find the laundry detergent you like or fresh milk, but these are small things. Anyone who says you will be "roughing it" is lying to you.

    ***That being said, a few people each year have a hard time adjusting. Some have dietary concerns (it is not hard to be a vegetarian; it is hard to be a vegan). Some get very homesick or cannot adjust to Grenada's culture. The pace here is very slow. ***

    The very first mistake people make when traveling to Grenada is NOT taking a layover. Often times the airlines will overbook a connecting flight from Puerto Rico to Grenada and ask that passengers volunteer to take a later flight, often the next day. TAKE IT! You will be put up in a hotel, given miles for a flight in the future, and have a chance to enjoy another island carefree.
    Many students have questions about how much their luggage can weigh. American Airlines (in my experience) will tell you to bring no more than two pieces of luggage weighing 70 lbs. each and one carry-on weighing no more than 40 lbs. The problem is that your connecting flight to Grenada may only allow ONE 70 lb. piece of checked luggage and will charge you an arm and a leg to bring the other, or flatly refuse. Call ahead and make absolutely certain with an airline official that your luggage will make it to Grenada, and then get that persons' phone number.
    You will likely spend your first night in Grenada without your entire luggage. This is not a big deal. The airline will give you a number to call and you will have your luggage within a day or two. Try to come to the island early so you can take full advantage of Orientation week. It is nice to have that time for settling in, to speak nothing of all of the trips around the island that are provided.
    Grenada’s weather has two settings: downpour and blindingly sunny, so come to the island wearing a rain jacket over a bathing suit. Grenada is likely hotter than you are used to. During those first few days, you will break a sweat from standing, lose weight, and drink water like breathing air. You will see students going to class wearing jeans and long sleeved shirts and wonder what is wrong with them. Just know that your body is getting used to the island; it takes about a month.


    PHONE SECTION

    No one gets a landline and you should not bring a cordless phone with you. Everyone buys a cell phone the first week from one of the many vendors set up at Orientation vying for the business of all of the new students. This is the best time to buy a phone because the prices are cut by as much as 70%. Digicel, AT&T, and Cable and Wireless are the providers for the island. Before you buy the phone, find out whether it is single, dual or tri band. The difference is that single-band works in the Caribbean only, dual-band works in the Caribbean and US, and tri-band works in the Caribbean, US, and Europe.
    The phone system here is likely different than what you are used to back home. First, you buy a SIM card for your phone. The SIM card is a chip that contains your phone number and your contacts. Put another way, it does not matter from what phone you call: if you put your SIM card in any phone the person you are calling will see that it is you. This of course means that you do not have to buy a phone here at all! Just bring your cell phone from home (provided it is compatible), buy a SIM card, and plug it in. Any of the vendors on campus will help you with this transition.
    The way you pay for airtime is different as well. Instead of joining a plan, we have a pre-pay system. At the restaurants on campus you can buy a 10, 20, or 30 EC card that you then load onto your phone. Call anyone anywhere anytime until the money runs out, then you reload. For those students that prefer to have a contract, the Digicel provider offers a reasonable plan that includes free Digicel to Digicel phone calls and a number of “anytime” minutes.
    Some students make use of internet phones as well. There are several programs that allow you to make phone calls over the internet for pennies a minute to anywhere in the world. Skype, Netphone, and PCPhone are popular programs and only require a headset with microphone.


    MONEY

    For the next few years you will be using Eastern Caribbean currency, or ECs. The conversion rate is easy.

    $100 = 260 EC. (exact ratio is 1/2.67, but we will keep the math easy and lose the pennies)
    100 EC = $40.
    Ex.
    I have $25 in my pocket. 25 x 2 = 50. 25 x 0.6 = 15. 50 + 15 = 65 EC
    A three ring binder is 35 EC. 35 x 4 = 150. 150 / 10 = $15 (binders ARE this expensive)

    There are banks on the island and no need to ever use them. You can pull EC from your US account at any ATM on the island with a VISA/MasterCard debit card (sorry American Express and Discover). Some credit card companies charge a higher rate for foreign conversions, so check yours. The ATM charge is $1.50 and the conversion rate is standard. If you have a refund check coming to you, I suggest having the school send it home and having family/friends deposit it. You will need to leave deposit slips back home. Do not forget to leave deposit slips back home. However, if you want to pay for things by check, you will have to open an account with a local bank or have traveler's checks at the ready.

    How much EC will you spend a day?

    Depends. EC is pretty, looks like Monopoly money and you will spend it as such. Breakfast of eggs and toast is 7 EC, lunch is around 15 EC, and dinner can be up to 20 EC. That comes to 42 EC/$17 a day, eating out every meal. It sounds expensive but few people can pull off three meals a day. Most have one full meal and fill the rest with coffee and snacks. You will find your own happy middle. Remember that if you cook and buy your own groceries, you will save quite a bit.
    If you drink anything other than water, you are in for a shock. Name brands like Coke, Starbucks and Arizona drinks cost three to four times what they do in the states. That being said, some people still manage to spend a great deal of money on water. Bottled water is sold everywhere on the island and is more expensive than beer. Some students buy a bottle every day. Others (and I recommend doing this) buy one bottle and refill it at dinking fountains on campus. All of the water on campus is filtered; this is not the case elsewhere on the island. I for one have had the same bottle for a month now and may have saved as much as one million dollars. Cigarettes are no more expensive than you are used to, but you should quit anyway.


    WHAT WILL EACH DAY BE LIKE?

    I get up every morning around 7am and check the class schedule. Typically only two courses are taught a day with each getting two hours of lecture time. On some days you will have Anatomy lab that can begin at 8 or 9am and lasts for three hours, or you have Histology lab at 8 or 10am that lasts for two hours. Lectures begin at 1pm each day and last till 5pm. You do not need to bring much to campus. I usually put my laptop, water bottle, two three ring binders and two textbooks into my backpack and grab the bus.
    Eating on campus is not hard though students do complain about the selection. At the top of the hill (you will know it well) there are vendors selling fresh fruits and the Patels selling homemade Indian food. Halfway down campus is the Student’s Center which has two restaurants (Glover’s and Pearl’s) along with a convenience store. At the base of campus is the Sugar Shack. You will not go hungry.
    Time before and after lecture is often spent in the library. The library has wireless internet and so should your computer (the “Computing at SGU” section of the SGU website does a good job of preparing you). During peak hours it can be difficult to get a strong connection (bringing an Ethernet cable is a bad move, as many of the plugs on campus work sporadically). The wireless network extends throughout campus into the lecture halls (you can follow lectures online or check email during breaks), across to the bus stop and down to the Student Area (where the gym and restaurants are located). Some students are able to get a connection in their rooms as well. If you live off campus in Grand Anse dorms there is a study room with a wireless connection. High-speed internet is available in off-campus apartments through a contract with Cable & Wireless.


    SCHOOL CULTURE

    During your first two weeks here you have carte blanche to introduce yourself to as many people as you wish. Your class will probably go out each night that first week and I recommend you go each time. The first week does not contain difficult material and you will not have another chance like it. After this grace period the classes pick up a bit, people fall into routines and your opportunities to meet every member of your class will start to drop off.
    SGU operates by four-month-long terms. This tricks you into thinking that each term is a year long and that people in second, third and fourth term are somehow separated from you. This is of course nonsense. The uppertermers will have advice for you on every class and most of it should be ignored. Instead, find a good DES tutor, give yourself a few weeks, and then start making judgments on how to handle your course load. Everyone should go to the Department of Educational Services (DES) office and take a look at all of their handouts on studying, test-taking strategies, and review sessions. It is a goldmine of helpful information.

    ISLAND CULTURE

    English is the language spoken in Grenada. In the school guide, they describe it as a “slightly lilting Caribbean accent”. I disagree. Those Grenadians that work with the university, or in another position that requires constant exposure to tourists and students, are easy to understand. Those that have very little exposure to foreigners can be near unintelligible, but once you have an idea for what someone is trying to say, everything seems much clearer. It is not unlike listening to lyrics from a difficult song after you have already read them in the CD jacket.
    If you have a healthy sense of humor, the stressful things about Grenada can be hilarious. First off, if you go to a restaurant and read the menu, do not kid yourself and think that what is on the menu is available. The menu is instead a list of things that were once available and may be available in the future. This is due either to a lack of ingredients, the staff is too busy to make your order, or the staff does not care to make your order. So order something else with a smile.
    Second, if you order a drink at a US bar and it takes more than a few moments, it is often because the place is very busy and the bar is understaffed. If you order a drink in a Grenadian bar on a dead night when you are the only customer, it will take even longer. This is not because the bartender is trying to piss you off or ruin your whole day as some dramatics will say, it is instead because the island is a slow place and you need to get used to it. That Grenadian bartender could turn to you and ask, “What’s your hurry anyway?” Try to remember that there is no hurry and life will be a lot easier on you.


    SPORTS

    SGU has a healthy intramural sports program. Basketball and Football (soccer to some) are the major sports (bring cleats and guards, balls are provided). Hockey is also big (played on the basketball courts, sticks and nets provided). Rounding out the selection we have Ultimate Frisbee, Dance Classes, Yoga, and Dodgeball. I have yet to see a single person play tennis (I have not even seen courts) or cricket.

    WET AND DRY SEASON

    The wet season is very wet and runs from August to December. It can rain for days on end. If you bring an umbrella, make sure it is the type that opens to form a complete sphere around you, because the rain falls sideways. Honestly, go to a camping store and get a waterproof cover for your backpack, a light waterproof jacket and a shamie. You will be the envy of everyone. Another thing to consider is the mosquitoes. The breeding ground for mosquitoes is standing water, and there will be a lot of it. Invest in a mesh tent for your bed and screens for your windows.
    There is little rain in the dry season which runs from January till June. It is the best time to be on the island and enjoy everything that it has to offer. Go to the beach, learn to kite surf, bring your surf board, or rent a jet ski. Head to the capital and learn how to haggle in the market. Most of all, remember to get a tan so that people believe you when you say that you go to school on a tropical island.

    GENERAL ADVICE

    • If you are buying a computer for school, make sure that it is light, portable and has a long-lasting battery.
    • Do not get a car your first term. You first term will be spent in campus housing and the bus schedule is more than adequate. A car is a luxury.
    • Sometimes the buses can get crowded. I suggest you say goodbye to personal space.
    • About a month into the term, Prof. Goodmurphy of the Anatomy Dept. will give a note-taking lecture that is invaluable and will change the way you and your class study. Do not miss it.
    • I have yet to use a single battery.
    • You can talk to prospective and current SGU students at ValueMD.com. Most posts receive a prompt reply.

    WHAT TO BRING

    ***This is not meant to be comprehensive by any means, but instead a few things that really would have helped me. ***

    Binders are expensive on the island and worth the space in your luggage to bring a few. Anatomy gives you a binder so you should only need to bring three of your own. Multicolored highlighters are invaluable when reading biochemistry and hard to find on the island. I wish I had brought more. I also wish I had brought dry erase markers. Do not bring floppy disks and blank CDs, hardly anyone uses them. Instead BRING A FLASH DRIVE. Students share all of their files and useful programs with each other via flash drives or iPods. With exception to the iPod Mini and iPod Shuffle, iPods are actually much better than flash drives. They can play music, store 20+ Gigabytes of information in any form, and are far and away worth your investment.
    As for your course books, the school supplies you with them the first week you are here. They are stored at the base of campus and are heavy. I would recommend picking them up in an empty piece of wheeled-luggage. Opinion varies in the upper terms as to which textbooks are useful and which never left their shrink wrap. Take advantage of your Footsteps Buddy and try to figure out which books will be most helpful for you. That said, there are some books that most people wish they had.

    ANATOMY
    You are given a binder that contains, in order, every lecture for the term. This is useful for both following lecture and adding your own notes in the margin. You are given an Anatomy Atlas by Netter that contains oil paintings of every structure in the body with labels. You also receive Essential Clinical Anatomy by Moore which is the closest thing you will have to a text book. How helpful people found these texts is based more on individual learning styles than the actual content of the book. There are two books which nearly everyone found helpful that the campus bookstore does not always carry:

    The Color Atlas of Anatomy by Rohen (ISBN# 0683304925)
    An invaluable companion to the lab portion of your class, this book contains pictures of perfectly dissected cadavers to help in your ability to identify structures both in lab and on exams. This is best used in conjunction with your Netter Atlas.

    Gross Anatomy by Chung (ISBN# 0683307274)
    Part of the Board Review Series (BRS) collection, this book covers the material stressed on the USMLE Step 1, offers tables and clinical explanations that can save you hours in the library, and has hundreds of clinical questions that help you to prepare for your exams.

    BIOCHEMISTRY
    To date, the biochemistry department gives lecture handouts to the class two to three days before each specific lecture. These handouts reflect the stress and focus that each professor will give to the material. To fill in any gaps and round out your understanding, two textbooks are given. Lipincott’s Illustrated Biochemistry is an excellent textbook that closely follows the scope of the class. The other text, Mark’s Basic Medical Biochemistry, aims to tie everything that you will earn into clinical vignettes with patients like Al Martini the alcoholic.
    You will kick yourself if you do not also purchase the Biochemistry BRS book (ISBN# 0683304917). It is written by, get this, Dr. Mark’s wife: Dr. Mark. She goes through her husband’s text, pulls the pertinent illustrations, and puts all of the information into a bare-bones linear style that makes learning the material laughably simple. Because of this, you could make the case that you do not need the full Marks text if you are going to buy the BRS book. Once again, the school bookstore does not always carry this title, so I suggest bringing it to the island.

    HISTOLOGY
    The Histology faculty has the best companion of all of your classes. It is so comprehensive as to be considered its own textbook. You will also have access to a free program called HistoTime. HistoTime consists of short histology lessons followed by hundreds of slides to help you recognize each specific tissue type. This program along with the companion is all that you need to do well in the course and walk away with an understanding of histology. That said, some students found the two textbooks required for the class (Color Atlas of Histology by Gartner and Basic Histology by Junqueira) to be helpful.

    EMBRYOLOGY
    The embryology course is changing faculty so I cannot guarantee that anything I am about to type is accurate. Embryology operates from a single textbook and a course companion. Some students complain that the course companion is hard to follow and is poorly written. While this is not altogether untrue, it is more accurate to say that Embryology is a difficult course of study in the first place and there are few things that could make it easy to follow and understand. One text that does a fair job of making the course manageable is the Embryology BRS book (ISBN #0683302728). Once again, the school bookstore may not carry this title, and I would suggest bringing it with you to the island.

    THE END

    Well, that is about as much as I feel like writing right now. I hope this has been helpful and answers some of your questions about Grenada, SGU, and medical school in general. If you have any questions, you can email me at **********


    Cheers,

    Chris “topher”

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    stephew is offline Moderator Guru 512 points
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    one of the best and most accurate posts ive seen. except chung sucks.


    Kudos. The anatomical atlas was my own personal discovery and I cant reinforce that enough.
    also- a HUGE mannerism difference that being aware of will save you 2 years of frustration: when you are in line for something requiring grenadian service, they are NOT being rude if they dont make eye contact with you and tell you they will be right with you. Its just not something that's done. Its not anti-american etc. It cultural and dont take it personally.
    Last edited by stephew; 07-11-2006 at 08:48 AM.
    Steph
    If you get a warning, put on yer manpants and stop whining about it.

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    stephew is offline Moderator Guru 512 points
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    This is so good, its getting an exhaulted stickied position. Please feel free to add to this thread however stay on topic and keep it useful.
    Steph
    If you get a warning, put on yer manpants and stop whining about it.

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    drnick07's Avatar
    drnick07 is offline Senior Member 514 points
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    VMD SGUSOM FAQ... sorta

    I think this thread would be a good place for me to put the little FAQ i have developed. I tried to only put things that a new incoming student would want to know. After the links i have a copy of an email i wrote to an incoming student a couple of years ago (so some things may be out of date, so dont take anything for gospel/talmud/quran or whatever book you follow). I dont think it is under any of the links listed, but i could be wrong. Happy reading!

    What to do for fun
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/19138-fun-relax.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/19237-free-time-question.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/32060-nightlife-studentlife-sgu.html


    SGU students compared
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/18801-just-curious-sgu-students-vs-us-med-students.html


    safety
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/20033-theft.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/10855-security.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/13704-crime-grenada.html


    preread???
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/17430-orientation-class-2004-ny.html



    Thoughts post-1st term
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/2605-suggestions-entering-first-term-medical-students-s.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/5267-future-students-read.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/6281-sgu-prospective-first-termer.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/6327-any-more-questions-1st-termer-here-grenada.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/8388-dear-steph-what-your-success-equasion.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/11604-started-first-day-today-thoughts.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/13225-thoughts-first-term-so-far.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/17048-sgu-versus-saba.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/17430-orientation-class-2004-ny.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/17864-term-1-thoughts.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/18488-please-read-thoughts-3rd-termer.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/22457-advice-first-termers-sgu.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/21032-question-past-first-termers-advice-ne.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/30671-first-impressions.html
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/40766-first-impressions-fall-2005-a.html


    the bad:
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/29414-things-i-could-do-without.html

    the good:
    http://www.valuemd.com/st-georges-university-school-medicine/28961-what-do-you-like-about-sgu.html



    So how large are lectures?
    That depends on the class and the time of the year. On the first day of lecture in 1st term, every single seat in Bell lecture hall is filled. Then as the term goes on, some people disappear, only to reappear at exam time. Every person has a different learning style. Some people are able to study for 10 hours straight in the library (not me). Some feel their time is better spent studying in the library, or in their dorm room, verses going to class. A lot of people pick and chose what lectures to attend, depending on who is lecturing. I know of one person in particular who is not used to a large lecture environment and thus misses a lot of lectures because she can’t (or doesn’t want to) pay attention. Obviously people who decel don’t attend all of the classes, so their seats are empty for some lecture. All that being said, there might be 30-50 or more seats empty during lecture, out of a 370 or so starting 1st term class. So yes, there are a lot of people in lecture. Some profs allow questions in lecture while others do not. 90% of the time the questions have nothing to do with clarification but are outside the scope of the lecture or better answered during office hours. But with the microphone system you can hear just fine what is being said. With the use of overhead video projectors, and with most profs using powerpoint, you can see what is being presented just fine (I should know since i sit in the next to last row). If you’re the kind of person who likes to sit up front, just get to lecture early (like a ½ hour early for 1st term) and you’ll be ok. As is human nature, after the first week or so, people have “their” seat picked out.

    Is the class size a drawback?
    No. Infact I think it’s a plus. With so many people in the class from so many different parts of the world and with different ethnic backgrounds, I have learned alot about other cultures. And this is going to benefit me as a doctor since I will already be aware to how certain cultures operate. For instance, for some cultures, it is more appropriate to tell the family a diagnosis and have them tell the patient. (I didn’t say that is now I’m necessarily going to do things, but still it helps to know the custom.) For some cultures nursing homes are not even an option for a relative in failing health. In yet other cultures, in is inappropriate for a woman to report abuse to a male doctor. So the drawback is that you might actually meet someone different than you and learn something about them.

    Also, with so many people in the class, you’re bound to find a few (or more) good friends who have the same study habits as you. In my case my friends became my study group. Some people like to discuss material to learn it, so this makes doing that a lot easier. You could literally sit next to a different person each day and still not meet everyone in your class. So that’s cool if you like meeting new people (I still don’t know everyone, but I don’t try very hard either.) As a down side, its easier to form cliques in such a large class, so then if you don’t want to branch out and meet people with a different culture than you, then you don’t have to, but its pretty tough.

    A friend of mine is a US med school where they send ½ of the class to satellite campuses for the basic science years. She is in class every day for 2 years with the same 16 people. I think I’ll vote for my class of 300something.

    When it comes to some things, you will be broken up into small groups. This is the case for clinical skills (where you interview mock-patients), biochem case studies, BSF group discussions, and physio case studies. Unfortunately they break these up by the alphabet, so you will undoubtedly be with the same people for all of your small groups. But then again, you get to know those people really well.

    So what about resources?
    What resources??!! Just kidding. There’s tons of resources at SGU. Lets start with study space. Ok, granted there is not enough space for the entire school to study in the library at the same time, there are however, many other places people find to study. The lecture halls are generally open at night, except for club meetings and presentations. Superdorm 1 has a top floor study room. And I’ve even been known to study at the cafeteria tables and chairs. (Some people study at the beach, but I don’t know how productive that is.) And then there’s always your dorm room to study in. The 24hour study room in the library gets (understandably) full during exam time, which aggravates the people who are accustomed to study there every day. Are the study rooms loud? Well the library is full of people whispering, the histo/path lab is a designated non-silence area for histo/path lab groups to meet, and the bourne lecture hall sometimes has people whispering. But bring a set of earphones (or earplugs), put on some Bach or Beethoven and you won’t hear anyone else. If you’re looking for an Ethernet port to connect to, then you might be out of luck, but that’s just because there aren’t enough of them around. But that’s why I suggest a wireless card. And what are you doing on the internet?! You should be studying!!!

    As for the anatomy lab… Things have changed (as they seem to do every term – its called improvement, or atleast an attempt at it) since I took the class. But the lab was never packed for us and even at exam time it was easy to get around. Some of the profs host review sessions in the lab which can be very well attended and crowded, but I usually went to a mid-morning review with Dr. Hague and there was never more than 5 of us there. There is only 5-6 of you with your cadaver during lab, and generally one professor is assigned to 3-4 tables. (please let us know if any of this has changed.)

    Office hours.
    Profs tend to have lots of office hours. This isn’t the twice-a-week-for-an-hour-at-a-time type of thing you might be accustomed to in undergrad. Typically its every day for a few hours at a time (or whenever you’re not class). On top of that, profs are willing to meet with groups of people outside of office hours and even on weekends. Often times the office hours can be so well attended (as in physio and neuro) that they ask that you make an appointment with the secretary. And depending on when in the week you sign up, that can either mean the next day or the next week. When you make an appt., its typically helpful if you meet with the prof in a group, so their time can be spread among as many students as possible (and your group might be able to answer your question before you head off looking for a prof). Since we’re on the topic of professors and their office hours, many of our profs are MDs and are willing to help you out if you have an injury or a non-class related question. Dr. Hague (an ENT) has been known to stitch up a periorbital laceration right in his office, and Prof. Goodmurphy has tons of sports medicine experience. (Don’t worry, if you get hurt you won’t have to track down a prof to stitch you up. The school runs an ambulance and we also have 24hour security. Your RA will have a radio, connecting them to security as well.)

    Other resources.
    The DES department is always willing to help you out with study skills etc. They tend to be pretty busy at the start of the term and around exam time, but when you get in to see them, any time you spent waiting will be well worth it. And they’d rather have you come talk to them at the start of the term rather than later, so you don’t get yourself in a bind. They’re probably one of the least-used but most-beneficial support services the university has to offer.

    The library is mostly used for study space and their computers for email, but if you ever need a book or are looking for information, there is sure to be someone to help you – even at night. The library stays open until 1:45am M-Th nights and closes a little earlier on the weekend.

    When you arrive you will be assigned a faculty advisor. Typically they will take a group of you (their advisees) out to eat (on the university’s bill, which in the end was already paid for by your tuition). How much you use your advisor is up to you. You need his/her signature for a leave of absence or to decel.

    Long lines for food on campus? Not usually. I’m not an expert on waiting times in the “cafeteria” but I’ve never had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a wrap (just about the most popular food item on campus, next to Glover’s pizza, or the Patel’s.) The sugar shack (down by SD #3 and across from the lower vet campus) only makes you wait for as long as it takes to cook your order. So your time waiting for food is from how long it takes for them to cook your order (or get around to cooking your order), and not your class (or university) size.

    Plan on waiting awhile if you go to the clinic. That’s just because they only have one doctor there at a time, their hours aren’t extensive, they see patients from the community (but students and staff are given 1st priority), and in general things in Grenada take a little longer.

    Let me address the “weed out” phenomenon a little. To an extent, SGU does weed out its classes, in the form of the decel program, BUT its not for the same reasons a large university might do it. The school wants you to do well. They also want you to do well on the boards and get good residencies so they can look good and maintain the strong reputation we have. Don’t think this means they only let the “cream of the crop” continue on into the next term. They want you to succeed, not just pass your classes. And if you’re having trouble, they are more than willing to help.

    So let me brake it down to you (since no one told me this until I arrived for 1st term.) (All of this material I have obtained from the student handbook, which can be accessed from the member’s center of the SGU homepage, for those of you who don’t have your copy handy.) You must maintain above a cumulative 2.25GPA. For 1st term this means you need atleast one B in a 6 credit class (biochem or anatomy) or a B in both histo and embryo, with the rest Cs. I think you can still do it if you get an A in histo and Cs in the rest, but don’t trust my math. If you get a 2.25 or less, then you are automatically decelled for the next term, and from then on until you bring up your cumulative above 2.25. If you flunk a 1st term course (or below a 2.0 there after) then you are brought before the academic board (or something like that). They will want to know what happened and what you plan on doing to fix it for the following term (don’t blow this off, technically you are recommended for dismissal). There are more specifics to it but that’s a good background for you. Oh, you need to either have atleast a 2.5GPA or pass the BSCE2 to take the step 1 boards. (But worry about that later.)

    I haven’t decelled myself (yet) so I can’t speak from personal experience, but I’d imagine the school’s reaction to you not doing well in class or not passing is “Wow, what’s going on? What can we do to help?” instead of “You stupid idiot. You don’t have what it takes to become a doctor. Get out of here. You’re just taking up space.” So it’s a weed-out program per se, but for different reasons.

    And about the decel program. I know a lot of people in it and I really don’t think they’re looked down upon by others taking a full load. Infact I admire them for taking that step, swallowing their pride and making their med school experience longer. I almost envy them too because they will have more time to devote to each class and (arguably) will know the material better than someone who has to split their time between 4 classes. Oftentimes the people who decel are the same ones who teach the DES review sessions because, 1. they have the time to do it, and 2. they know the material really well. So how many decel? I can only give an estimate from my class and what people tell me, but I’d say about 50. If you do the math, your class size doesn’t really change since you’re getting the decels from the class ahead of you and losing the ones from your class at the same time.

    I was talking to a 1st termer before midterms and he said he knew “a lot” of people who quit and went home. When I asked him why they did, he said it was because they really didn’t want to become doctors. I replied by saying, “that’s the best reason I know for going home.” Why am I bringing this up? Well for one, I don’t know anyone from my class who dropped out, nor do I know anyone who flunked out, but then again I don’t know that many people in my class to being with. (I do know of one guy who flunked 2 courses 1st term and is now taking them over and doing quite well.) So it was surprising to me to hear him say that. But then again, don’t believe everything you hear. I do know of quite a few people who took a leave of absence, though, for all sorts of reasons, but I don’t think its any different that any other med school.

    Competition among students?
    Sure. We compete to see how well we can do as a class compared to previous classes. Listen, I’m sure you can find the small group of people who like to compare scores after exams and won’t talk to you if you did worse than they did, but you don’t have to make them your friends. After a test its “How did you do? What did you think of it?” not “What’s your score? I bet I did better than you.”

    Last term we had just taken the written anatomy exam and were about to go in and take the practical. One of my friends was sure he flunked the written. He was sure he’d be back in anatomy the next term. What did we do? We told him not worry and to just concentrate on the practical. We told him that part was over and there’s nothing he could do about it now. We didn’t tell him he should have studied harder or that he was a big slacker. Sure, that was when he was there, but did we talk about him behind his back? Yep. I told some of our mutual friends about what happened so they could be prepared if his fears came true. Well he must not have done too poorly because he’s still in my class.

    A couple of my friends became more interested in eachother than in their studies this term and now have had to decel. Do I think less of them? No. I feel really bad for them. They’re both really smart but unfortunately put other things ahead of med school this term. On the other hand, they both apparently found the love of their life, so I’m also happy for them.

    Be happy to know no one cares about your MCAT score or GPA once you’re here. I only know a few stats from my friends, when they volunteered it on their own. Most of the times I’m left wondering why they didn’t get into a US school.

    Sure you’ll get the few “know-it-alls” in your class who memorize the anatomy texts for fun and think they’re "God’s gift to medicine." But you’ll soon realize who those people are, and hopefully they’ll realize people are only friends with them because they want their knowledge. I’m the first one to admit I don’t know something or that I forgot something from last term(which happens more than I care to admit). The response from people is not “Ha ha, you dumb idiot. You didn’t learn anything. I bet your patients will have to tell you how to take a temperature.” They typically try to jog my memory by relating it to a graph or a teaching point in class. If that doesn’t work, then they assess what I know and then teach it to me from there. But it works both ways. Listen, we all have to help each other. I’m sure there are those who got through med school all on their own, but I certainly don’t want to try that.

    When you’re a doctor and you come across a disease you’re not familiar with, other than checking texts, you’re going to call your colleagues. Perhaps you’ll know a specialist, or someone who works in that area, from your med school class. The people you’re in class with are the ones you’ll be relying on for information and to send and receive referrals, because they’re the ones you trust and know the best. A lot of people don’t realize that and distance themselves from their classmates. Or they offend everyone that no one is left to give them the time of day. But most of us realize it and seek to build strong friendships in med school. Its really not that hard. I mean we all pretty much have 1 thing in common - we were all rejected from US med schools. We all wanted to become doctors bad enough that we were willing to fly 1,000s of miles away and live for months (or years) at a time away from home. (Sounds like a mastercard commercial.) That will bond you together faster than you think.

    Do you think there is a stigma associated with people who are down here after leaving a career? Not really. I’m more likely to ask them why they decided to become doctors, or feel incredibly immature in their presence. A lot of people (even here) can’t comprehend leaving your job and way of live to pursue a medical degree in the Caribbean. But I have a feeling those people are in it for different reasons.

    Do you think if I was competing with my classmates that I’d spend my time online, helping those behind me so they can do well and not have to learn so many things the “hard way?” (Ok, you’re right.. its just an excuse to procrastinate from studying ). Once you get here you’ll see it for yourself. As a first termer you will get tons and tons of advise, even when you don’t want it. I like to say we’re a family here. We’re the only close family we have for 8-10 months out of the year. Many of us (hopefully) are in medicine because we want to help people. It just makes sense that we start by helping our peers and future colleagues, not competing against them.

    OK, I must admit there is some competition in the class - a couple of my friends compete to see who can finish the exam first.

    Listen, this is just one person’s perspective (mine). As with any advise or opinion , take it “with a grain of salt.” But if you start to notice a trend in what you hear, then perhaps there is some truth to it.
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    super2's Avatar
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    Restaurant Reviews

    Moved post to Dining in Grenada
    Last edited by super2; 12-04-2006 at 01:11 AM. Reason: Felt that was a more appropriate thread

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    rumorsweretrue is offline Junior Member 512 points
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    Welcome to Grenada, A Student's Guide for Students

    Dear students,


    You should sign up early for the Prague selective because spaces fill up quickly. You should explore the Grenada beyond campus. Rent a car and drive to Grand Etang Lake or La Sagesse with your friends and a cooler, take a hike to Seven Sisters waterfall and jump the cliffs, head to Gouyave for Fish Fryday and relax. Keep that promise and learn to surf. Also, study.

    St. George’s University puts us in a strange position. Because each group of students arrives and leaves the island within 18 months, it is hard to establish traditions and feel a sense of history with previous classes. Each of us is left to pester those ahead for little morsels of advice and, whenever we put in the energy to make a change, it is hard to know if it took hold and left others better off.

    Welcome to Grenada” is an effort to fix some of this. We cannot make this a series of bar stories (though we do have some great ones). What we can do is gather together information to make your life as a student easier and remove some of the unexpected. Grenada can be a great place to live and learn medicine and there is no reason for you not to know this.

    As you read this guide, please keep in mind that it is merely the opinions of two students, both from the United States. It is in no way a complete representation of life at SGU, nor is it intended to be. This guide is meant to inform, entertain, and relax you in preparation for what might be the best bet you ever made.


    What follows comes from the efforts of students that love this school and want you to have every opportunity that they had. Somewhere between class, lab and library they took the time to make this resource for you. It is a living document for you to change and mold as your own. Take what you can, give what you can, and remember how easy your life is: wake up, learn things, sleep.

    Congratulations on becoming a medical student and Welcome to Grenada.

    Sincerely,

    Christopher Kinsella, Class of 2009
    Jessica Kramer, Class of 2009

    Table of Contents

    Last edited by rumorsweretrue; 03-23-2007 at 08:51 PM.
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    RussianJoo's Avatar
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    Great Job guys!! You should print it and send it out to all the first termers in their welcome packet.
    Hollywood Upstairs School of Medicology, Class of 2010
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    rumorsweretrue is offline Junior Member 512 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by RussianJoo View Post
    Great Job guys!! You should print it and send it out to all the first termers in their welcome packet.
    Thanks, RussianJoo. The DOS has a copy of the guide in Word doc. and we hope that it begins to be sent out to each incoming class.

    I'd also like to say that this guide is going to need help from current students, and if there are ever people willing to write an additional section or fact-check a current one (as the courses change), we would love the help. We'd list you as a contributing author and you could throw it on your CV.

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    stephew is offline Moderator Guru 512 points
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    rumors- sorry i havent gotten back to you yet. its been crazed at work. but your comment about sence of connection with other classes is right on. Also your anatomy guru and I had lunch and he speaksvery highly of you.
    Steph
    If you get a warning, put on yer manpants and stop whining about it.

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    jaywalk81 is offline Useless Guru 521 points
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    this should be a sticky and be locked, that way the original purpose of this thread wont be lost
    SGU Alumnus

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