Tuesday, May 13, 2014

End of Term 1...

Let me just start by saying wow... I am a horrible blogger when I say I'm going to try and write more! There's just too much to write about and so much that has happened on this island! 

Living off campus had its ups and downs. It was nice only having to pay half rent of what everyone else who lived on campus was paying, and also having a beautiful view to wake up to every morning. I also had my own room and upper term roommates who prepared me for what was to come. Everyone who lived on campus shared a room (yes, dorm-style but in professional school) and no oven, tiny beds, you know, all that typical dorm stuff you remember from freshman year of college. I got to live in a nice big house that overlooked the ocean and had a dog to play with all term. Unfortunately, the bus system kind of sucked and I felt like I had to leave school and parties early just so I could catch the last bus of the night (2am). All my classmates lived on the same hall and it was a convenience for them to just wake up and walk down to class every morning 5 minutes before class started with no effort, and then walk back up to their rooms for lunch or to change out of their scrubs or study. On the other hand, I had to wake up 2 hours earlier just to make sure I caught the bus (which ran about every 20-30 minutes) and made my lunch, dinner, snacks for the day as well as a change of clothes for the gym or whatever I needed to do.
WORD OF ADVICE: If you are about to start at a Caribbean medical or veterinary school, I suggest living on campus first term. I felt out of the loop sometimes because I was never there and lost a lot of study time waiting for and riding on buses. I know it can be really expensive to live on campus, but considering how much debt we're all in or will be by the time we graduate, that extra couple hundred dollars a month is basically nothing.

The view from my balcony! I know, beautiful!

Although I was not so much a "gunner" so much this term, I now know the secrets to become one next term:
1. LIVE ON CAMPUS. Basically what I said before this. Also, there is housekeeping at my school and the extra cleaning time can be put towards my studies! Major plus. And convenient of course.
2. FIND YOUR BEST STUDY ENVIRONMENT EARLY ON IN THE TERM. And when I say environment, I mean place, temperature, cubicle/no cubicle, study music, people/no people, lighting... all that is important. As fun as distractions can be, they can be detrimental to your grades. But just be comfortable. Personally, I find I study best when I'm in a freezing cold room with a hot beverage and a blanket. The cold keeps me awake. Also find some good study partners. They know things that you don't and you know things that they don't. Help each other out, these people are basically your family now!
3. REVIEW CLASS NOTES WITHIN 48 HOURS AFTER THE LECTURE. They say you are more likely to retain information if you review it immediately after you learn it.
4. IT'S OK TO SKIP A FEW SOCIAL EVENTS. I know there is a party every weekend, but sometimes you have to learn how to say no. Your friends will still be your friends if you don't go. They might just call you lame and then go out and witness something crazy that night. But there are sooooooo many social events to go to, and you're really not missing out on anything. You'll hear about it later and be glad that it wasn't you that got punched in the face or made out with some rando at that beach party
5. STUDY BREAKS AREN'T FOR THE WEAK, THEY HAVE BEEN PROVEN TO INCREASE PERFORMANCE. Naps are wonderful. If you feel like you can't concentrate or keep your eyes open, please go take a quick nap. You will feel refreshed when you wake up and then you can right back at it again! Netflix is awesome too, just don't start a new series in the middle of midterm or finals week! Sadly, I know this from experience...

Anyway, I absolutely LOVE it here and would not trade this experience for anything in the world.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Getting personal with DVM Gunner...

Back in my teenage years, I knew I was going to do something science-related when I grew up. I always wanted to be a veterinarian, so obviously college was the next step for me. When I was in college, I was fresh out of high school and away from home, as most of you were as well. If you're anything like me, you were just happy to be out of the house away from home and especially away from all the "high school drama." Well, you also probably know that "freedom" leads to temptations. All kinds of temptations; parties, alcohol, drugs, sex, skipping class, and even working. It is up to you whether or not you let these temptations control your life. Basically it's your life and it's your choice kind of thing. So even though you will definitely be presented with each and every one of these temptations by peer pressure (this is guaranteed!!), you don't have to give into them.

... But I did, for some of them. My first semester at school made me realize that you don't have to go to class to get an A... awesome! So now I can just skip class! And while I'm at it, I'll go ahead and get a job since I have all this extra time and no money. There's a party tonight? On a Monday?? I'm in!

Bad idea. Grades are reflected with every choice you make. Working 30+ hours a week resulted in a C in Calculus. That party I went to on Monday and Tuesday... and the previous weekend got me an unsatisfactory grade in Sociology. Skipping American Literature because I couldn't find a parking spot -- professor requested meetings with me to see why I was doing so poorly in his class.

I decided to transfer to a school closer to home. If I can avoid these temptations, I can get back on track and graduate. But what happens when I graduate? I mean I love animals, but realistically can I REALLY get into vet school? I'm definitely not smart enough, just go look at my grades!

This is probably the point where most students either drop out of school or just barely get by. Only a few will turn their lives around and actually follow their dreams. You have to have that drive. Everyone has potential, but only a selective few realize that they have it. If you want something bad enough, seriously go for it!

This is the point where I DID transfer. I lived with my parents now so I didn't have to work as much. I started studying, which basically consisted of making flashcards, reading textbooks and outlines, and reviewing notes with my best friend who happened to be a Biology major also!

So even though I was ashamed of my grades at my first college, I was able to turn everything around. I met people that motivated me to get good grades. Classes were smaller and I became close to professors who gave me excellent advice and even recommendations. One of the most inspirational people I've ever met was a biology professor who actually recommended me to become a tutor. I continued working as a tutor even after I graduated (and I'm still employed there... 3 years later!!).

Now I could have chosen a completely different path. I could have continued working and partying and just forgot about school. Sometimes school isn't for EVERYONE. I actually know quite a few people close to me that didn't go to college or dropped out early and they are very successful. You just have to enjoy what you do. For me, I thought working in retail and bars and partying was getting boring. It's only a matter of time before I do something stupid while partying or end up with cirrhosis from constant drinking.

The biggest piece of advice I can give to college kids is to never lose sight of what you want. If you have always wanted to do something, make it happen. Now I realize that the majority of folks out there who lost grasp of their dreams have had their share of unavoidable obstacles. Marriage, family, kids, death, health problems, money situations, 1 or most of those things have gotten in your way. Like I said before, there are a bunch of unavoidable obstacles in life. Work around your obstacles... don't let them stop you from getting to your ultimate destination. If where you want to go is unachievable, then compromise. But just remember what you are capable of. That success isn't a standard for how far you have come in life, but about recognizing how your own personal approach and attitude towards growth in life and work have made you successful.

Life is short. Make sure you're making the most of it. If you don't like where you are at in life, change something. There's a billion different paths you can take in life. If you make a wrong turn, there's probably a road up ahead that leads somewhere new. It might not be as convenient as you were hoping, but in the end it will be worth it, maybe sooner than you think.

Monday, February 3, 2014

White coat ceremony

So we had our big white coat ceremony tonight! A little bit if a hectic night though. We literally had class nonstop from 10:30am to 5:30pm with a short lunch break. As soon as we left at 5:30 we had to rush to get ready for white coat and be there by 5:45. I don't think I've ever run so fast in heels before in my life. The only thing that would have made my night better was if my family could be here to watch me. Thankfully our school had a live podcast so everyone could watch it online from home!
Anyway I kind of got a little emotional at the ceremony. I know it's not graduation or anything. But for me it was more like "wow, I'm actually doing something I've always dreamed of doing. And I couldn't be in a better place in my life. This is totally where I belong and I'm perfectly fine with that." It took a long time, but reality finally set in today. 
Could not be any happier! Now, time to get back to studying!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 1 on the Island

I don't know how I'm going to fit everything that happened this entire past week on here... but let me just start by saying that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it here!!!
The people are super nice; students, faculty, and even the locals! The food is so delicious and the fruit is really fresh. The island itself is just a great place to visit, and even to live in. Loving the beaches and scenery too! The only thing I hate at the moment is the mosquitos! I am getting eaten alive everytime I leave the house.

Anyway, I totally feel like I belong here, like it was meant to be and I know I'm going to succeed. I have never felt so welcome in any place in my entire life.

It is, however, a huge change from living in the US my whole life. I'm picking up manners I was never taught in the US. The food is definitely different, but a lot healthier compared to what I usually ate in Georgia. You cannot live here if you're not somewhat physically fit, there is a ton of walking. I'm not even going to try and learn how to drive on the left side of the road. And you sweat. A lot. It almost feels pointless to shower at times, but it feels good to be clean when you can be!

Anyway, I've take a few pictures at the island, not many of myself, but the island looks beautiful!!

Riding the bust to school

Chicken Roti (bought on campus)

Kitty we found in the student center

Got all my books and kit! Ready to be a DVM!

Beach day at Grand Anse

Another beach day at L'Anse Aux Epines

View of Grand Anse Beach

This "new" beach we discovered! lol

Eating lunch under the canopy at some restaurant in Grand Anse

View from my patio! So beautiful.

Maurice Bishop International Airport. First airport I had to step outside of the plane to get inside the airport.

Beach on campus

Culture and history of Grenada at orientation! So entertaining!

Monday, January 6, 2014

One week prior to leaving!

I know it’s been forever since I’ve blogged, but I haven’t had much to write about while in Georgia! I officially leave 1 week from today and I’m totally excited. I started this blog not only so my friends and family can follow me and see how I’m doing in vet school, but also for future vet students or even med students studying abroad. I have been planning this trip for a while now and I’ve learned a few lessons.

Here are some things I’ve learned during the past few weeks:

1.       DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. I know we’ve all been taught this our whole lives, especially during college and grad school… but seriously, you’ll feel prepared and less nervous if you get everything done early. I started packing some things early, but I wish I had done everything else sooner. And don’t over-pack. Apparently going over suitcase weight limit can get expensive.

2.       GET HEALTH INSURANCE. I recently got my vaccine records filled out by my physician (as in last week) and I still have another vaccine to get – meningitis. Also, rabies is really expensive (500+ for the series). Don’t forget about all the other shots they make you get that you remember getting years ago… MMR, TB skin test, polio, tetanus, etc. These vaccines are not cheap. Also you need a physical. Most professional schools make it mandatory to have health insurance. I didn’t have health insurance before I got accepted, and I had to wait for the school’s insurance to kick in. This was January 1st. Don’t forget, I start school January 13th. This is definitely pushing it.

3.       BE PREPARED TO LEAVE EVERYTHING BEHIND.  I don’t know this from experience, but I can assume that when I get back “home” in 4 years, everything will be different. Friends will move on to great opportunities in life. People do change and no one is going to sit around and wait for you to come back from vet school. Remember WHY you are doing it, that this is what you’ve always dreamed of and nobody or nothing is going to slow you down.

4.       START FRIENDSHIPS WITH CLASSMATES BEFORE YOU LEAVE. Everyone and their mother have facebook. It is more than likely that your class has a facebook group and you can meet people on there.

5.       EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME BOAT AS YOU. My Georgia friends keep asking me if I’m scared because I know nobody there. I mean, I don’t personally KNOW anyone there, but we’ve all been talking on facebook and getting to know each other. One thing you have to remember (and so do I) is that EVERYONE is in the exact same boat as you. If you’re afraid of moving out of the country alone or sad that you had to leave your boyfriend back home, you are far from being the only one.

6.       HAVE ALL YOUR DOCUMENTS TOGETHER. This is something I’m still working on! I made a folder on my computer of all the documents I have to print. Some people told me to bring like a portfolio or a folder to hold everything important. This includes passport, letter of acceptance, and any attachments they sent you when you were accepted. The last thing I want to do is miss my flight because I can’t find my letter allowing me to enter the country. That would suck.

I’m sure I’ll have plenty more tips when I get there! But this is what I’ve gathered so far before I leave. Also, if you’re ever sad, afraid, frustrated, or anything, there is ALWAYS someone to talk to. Everyone wants you to feel comfortable there. The upper term students have been telling us this so I want to spread the word. They have been so kind enough to already make us feel welcome, before we even left the states! Hopefully this helps someone out in the future! Best of luck!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Raspberry Almond Brie Bites

I had my work Christmas party the other day and I had no idea what to make as far as food. I thought about going with buffalo chicken dip that I saw on Pinterest, so I went over to Publix. So you know how Publix always has samples and recipes to try out? Well I got the idea from there. But it was sooooo delicious when I made it, that I just had to share with you guys! It's super easy to make and so fancy looking! You're sure to make a great impression!

French Brie (I used the imported kind)
Mini fillo shells (in the frozen section)
Almonds (sliced thin)
Raspberry Preserves (or apricot or strawberry, or whatever your little heart desires)

Here are all the ingredients! I bought 3 boxes of the mini fillo shells because they were cheap!

Lay the shells out and put a small slice of Brie inside. I am not too familiar with Brie, but I actually cut the outside waxy part off... not sure if it's edible!

Then top them off with some raspberry preserves.

And then some sliced almonds! Bake at 350 for about 5-8 minutes.

Let them cool off for a few minutes and then serve! I wanted to put them on cute holiday dishes so the host will be able to keep them as a gift!
Delicious AND fancy! Perfect appetizer! Enjoy!

Monday, December 9, 2013

DVM Wish List for Grenada

My departure date is nearing even faster than I imagined! There are still a bunch of things I need and everyone keeps asking me what I want for Christmas/Birthday/going-away. So I made a list of things I need and websites leading to the specific ones I want.
I'm crossing out the ones I got!



·         Rainbow flip flops size 10


·         Women's Coveralls (short-sleeved, size XL)


·         Rubber boots

·         Nitrile gloves – size Medium

·         Bed set (full)

·         Towels – 2 bath towels (preferably soft. White or ivory)

·         Ethernet cable – about 6 feet

·         Solid scrubs (2 - power pink and bora blue size L)

·         Flashlight + batteries

·         Transformer  (input 220v, output  110v)

·         Pop-up laundry basket

I think I basically have everything else I need. I may add later if I think of anything else. :)