I have been in med school for 3 months now. And to be honest, the experience has been insane. I have had two exams for each anatomy and histology and in three weeks I will have the third exams and a week after that I will have the final. I am literally exactly a month away from my flight home.
There is a certain restlessness, but also a certain intrigue that comes with med school. While I don’t find histology all that interesting, anatomy, in my opinion, is interesting when you get to see the disease aspect of it. It makes you yearn to be treating patients and discussing real cases, rather than just learning what causes what and what possible diseases are.
While dissecting cadavers, you kinda separate yourself. I don’t think it really hit me until I was dissecting the heart, and then today, the face. That’s when it got real. The cadavers at our school don’t have brains still in the body, so when we got to the face, the brain was taken out and you could see the brain stem/cord. Then, while, pulling back the skin and cutting the tissue, it really really affects you. My entire lab group was a little taken aback by it. It was easy for us to compartmentalize when we were dissecting the legs and the abdomen, but face and neck are a whole new ballgame.
What I really appreciate is how helpful the upper meds are here. They are ALWAYS watching out for you. It’s easy in this environment to feel isolated and alone, but the upper meds honestly prevent that from happening. I just had messages from a few checking in on me because they knew I was worried about my grades from this block exam. Honestly, I feel like part of the reason I haven’t felt like I can’t do it, is because of them and the support my closest friends and family have given me. The reality is, it is hard. It is extremely difficult. And there will be days when you will doubt yourself. It’s medical school. But if you have a good support system, and you work hard, it isn’t impossible. And you CAN do it.
I feel like i’ve been on this island for an eternity. And to be honest, I’m ready to go home and get a break from the hectic life that I have here (and for my mom’s food tbh).
Caribbean medical schools are worth the investment if: 1) you absolutely want to go into medicine but you are not getting into those US/Canadian/other med schools for one reason or another 2) you are from or want to practice in the Caribbeans in the future.
I think the education you get is great; most Caribbean schools these days send their students to the US to do third and/or fourth year rotations. My friends are certainly equally knowledgeable as any US, Canadian, or European med student I know! Medical competency is not an issue!
What can be tough (surprising to me, by the way!) is cost. The islands are focused on tourism, so day-to-day living expenses rack up quickly. On top of medical school tuition…that may not be desirable, especially if your budget is a big issue. Also, despite a more laid-back atmosphere, medical school is still medical school. One friend I have has only gone to the beach twice in the six months he has been at school, which actually demoralized considerably. Therefore, psychological toll should be considered, too. Also, while this has decreased considerably, there are still folks who look down on the Caribbean med schools. Obviously, just screw ‘em, but it’s easier said than done. If you know you want to pursue tough subspecialties or specialities like derm or radiology, please think about that angle, too. An unfriendly work environment can drag even the best doctor down. Finally, a knowledge of Spanish is necessary.
If you want to continue discussing in private, I’d be more than happy to do so too! Thank you and much love! :)