Term 1: Complete

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

-Colleen

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SGU c/o 2021

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.

Accepted!!!

As I’m sure anyone who has ever applied to professional school can tell you, getting accepted is one of THE best days of our lives. It trumps almost everything, so, of course, I was very excited when I received my confirmation from SGU that I had indeed been admitted into the DVM program! (WHAT?!)

For me, it was especially exciting considering my many application cycles. Veterinary school is a thing that is happening in my life! It’s really great to not have the unknown threat of what to do with myself after graduation in May 2017 with my MS. I don’t have to go out and find a job that I may not keep or have the existential crisis of possibly giving up.

This is the beautiful campus I may be calling home:

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Now the reason I say I may be calling the island of Grenada home, I did apply again to several schools here in the states. So, depending on if/where I get in I may not go to the beautiful island. If nothing else, SGU gave me my first shot; they were the first to make going to veterinary school a reality!

The Invterview

After being rejected three times, I decided to apply to one of the Caribbean schools of veterinary medicine. I chose St. George’s over Ross for a host of reasons.

Ross as many know does trimesters, which is great because you never get out of “school” mode but I wanted summers to do externships so I can network and hopefully that will help me get a job once I’m all done. St. George’s is on the same type of schedule as US schools (summer and winter breaks, yay!). I also like how St. George’s has the vet school, med school and the graduate programs at the same campus. Having a bunch of other like-minded-but-not-veterinary people around seemed like a good fit for me. They also have school bus routes so I won’t have to buy an island car (though they do look really cool!).

Anyways, I applied for fall 2017 very early. I started my applications in January right after getting all my rejection letters from everyone else.

Soon after submitting all the required material I received this email:

interview

This was so encouraging after this past application cycle. I set up my interview and was absolutely ecstatic. The veterinarian who interviewed me was very friendly and it really seemed more like a conversation than a Q&A.

 

They actually revamped their interview process right before I interviewed and they didn’t have me do any essay questions. The vet didn’t get my application like before and she was required to use questions that the school supplied. I’m guessing this was to level the playing field a bit.

Major things covered:

What’s a current issue in veterinary medicine? What is your opinion on the current approach?

What are your personal and academic strengths and weaknesses?

How will you contribute to diversity?

Do you feel you performed to the best of your ability in your pre-veterinary coursework?

Vet school is expensive; do you have a plan to pay for it/repay student loans?

How do you think you will handle living on an island?

Those are the major ones I remembered. There was also plenty of time to ask her any questions I had and I didn’t feel rushed at all.

Overall I think it was a great first experience for the interview process.