This winter break has been the most unproductive month of my life and it’s been absolutely wonderful. I’m really pleased with my grades for my first semester of vet school, and that has motivated me to start applying to different summer programs that will broaden my veterinary horizons. I’ve looked into different opportunities at local zoos, community outreach programs, and animal hospitals. There are so many branches of veterinary medicine, it’s hard to pick just one thing to gain experience in. So instead, I’m casting a wide net and seeing what comes up. Its somewhat scary to think about the fact that I only have two summers left before I start clinics, but I’ve already learned so much in my first semester and I am excited for what comes next.
I’m leaving to go back to school in a couple of days and I have mixed feelings. I love my classes and the challenges that they bring. At the same time, I’m not ready to go back to the island. I get incredibly homesick. Life is just a lot easier to manage in the States when you have a car, water pressure, a dishwasher and all the other little luxuries you don’t appreciate until they’re gone. It may sound petty, but when you’re studying all day on Saturday for a big test, you really don’t want to take two hours of your time to walk to the grocery store and back in the 90 degree heat! (I can’t afford my own car) If you have applied to SGU and are granted an interview, you will be asked a lot about how well you cope with low-key chaos, international travel and other such bumps in the road. Think about your answers carefully before coming. When you come to Grenada for school, you are embracing a lifestyle. It’s wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but it may not be for everyone. SGU is a great vet school and you have the option of completing your clinical year pretty much anywhere which is really cool and an opportunity unique to the Caribbean schools. We make great doctors and isn’t that all that really matters in the end?
Speaking of school, my friend and I have been thinking of ways to keep our heads above the water throughout the whole semester. Last term, I found that my brain just collapsed right before the finish line and I performed poorly on some of my finals. A handful of these turned my A’s into B+’s which was so frustrating! As I said, I’m still really pleased with these grades because I did my absolute best, but a small part of me keeps thinking there must be a way to prevent these end-of-the-year brain meltdown episodes. I’m going to test out some study strategies this semester and if they work, I will be happy to share them with you.
As a parting gift, I leave you Pickett’s face
So I have just survived my first week on the island and I must admit that this lifestyle has grown on me. When I first arrived, I was honestly terrified. I was one of the few first term students that opted out of living on campus because I had brought along my pet rabbit. (If anyone needs more information on getting a pet to the islands, please feel free to contact me). I am also living alone in my two bedroom apartment. However, it really isn’t as hard to adjust as I thought it might be. My landlord has been very helpful, the university really goes the extra mile to look out for its students, and the locals are incredibly friendly.
If you have seen pictures of St. George’s University, just know that is exactly what the school looks like in person. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Sometimes I believe the pictures don’t do it justice. If you haven’t seen it, please google it. The school sits on a peninsula/cliff at the southeastern edge of the island. You can actually see it when you fly in, as it’s located right next to the airport. The school also has its own beaches.
This past week has been part of a long, (and somewhat boring) orientation session for all first term students. Some of the lectures held were on receiving medical care on the island, safety and security, and academic support resources. It was a lot of information being thrown at you all at once, but hey, that’s vet school in a nutshell, isn’t it?
So far, the students I have met are pretty great people. SGU isn’t the kind of school that fosters a cutthroat, competitive atmosphere for their students as I have heard about other schools. In fact, they really encourage everyone to build positive relationships with their classmates from day one. I’m happy about this because I was worried I wouldn’t make friends as easily as everyone else because I was off campus and everyone else experienced dorm living together. No need for that worry though! This coming Monday and Tuesday is PAWS, which is a “professionalism workshop” of sorts. The class will be broken up into groups to do team bonding exercises. I’m a little skeptical of how running around in the heat all day will make everyone best buds, but I suppose I’m game (after all it’s mandatory). Hopefully I will be able to get back to you all soon and share some class experience.
Oh yea, fun fact: Instead of having squirrels running around on golf courses and such, here they have big orange crabs
Hey guys, my name is Colleen!
A little about me: I obviously love animals and all things medicine. I also love the outdoors. I’m an equine enthusiast, but when I can’t get to the barn I love riding my dirt bike around off road. I am also an avid reader and not ashamed to admit that I am obsessed with Harry Potter to the point where it may actually be weird. (Go Ravenclaw!)
My past and plans
I will be living in the Caribbean for the next three years starting in August. I just graduated from my undergraduate institution after 5 years instead of the traditional four. I spent the first two years of college in engineering and found it really wasn’t for me. All that math and coding and sitting at a desk all day just didn’t suit me.
I managed to squish all of the required shadowing hours and extracurriculars into the next two years. Now I am headed to the Caribbean! Not much of a beach person (I’m from Florida) but I think I can swing it. I will be bringing my bunny Pickett with me. At home I have a dog and cat.
I am keeping my mind open, but I have interests in exotic animal medicine, oncology, pathology, and various other areas. My dream job would be a zoo vet but we will see where I end up.
I do have a significant other, but he will not be accompanying me to Grenada because he is in Australia finishing up his master’s program in engineering. This next adventure is for me to face on my own and I am very excited!!
Please let me know if you have any questions about being an international student, caribbean vet schools, admissions, or life in general.