I am a 30-something, non-traditional Medical student at the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) on the beautiful island of St. Maarten. If I stop and think long enough, I find myself in awe at the journey my life has taken to bring me to this point. I went to college right out of high school, graduated, then started working. Since I was six years old and experienced the aftermath of my Great Grandmother's stroke I've wanted to be a doctor. It took 11 years after graduating from college to begin my first semester of Medical School. In the period between Undergrad and now, I had a career that I was proud of, earned a Master's Degree and lived comfortably...I had wonderful family and friends, a house, a car, traveled the world and had an active social life. There was no reason I shouldn't be content but I knew I wasn't following my dream. So one day, after a routine conversation with my best friend and an almost identical conversation with my mother, neither of which was prompted by me, I figured it was time to take action to see if I had the courage to bring my dreams to life. Not long after that, I had a dream that I was in school at AUC. I figured that was a sign from above that everything would be just fine and I should move forward and see where I would end up next.
I went through the traditional application process to gain admittance to Medical Schools in the US. I was rejected pre-interview, post-interview, and wait-listed but not deterred or discouraged. I was accepted to Caribbean schools and decided to come to AUC. There's a very popular blog--Diary of a Caribbean Med Student-that provided so much information about AUC that I felt very comfortable submitting my deposit and packing up my life to move from Philadelphia to St. Maarten. It was time to really start living my dream.
Fast forward 18 months after the application process and the August 2013 class is entering into our 3rd semester of 5 on the island. My family and friends back at home in the states often ask if we really have class or if we go to the beach everyday. Lets face it, if someone told me they were in school on one of the most popular island tourist destinations, I would think a significant portion of time would be spent on the beach as well--sadly that's not the case! When there is down time, having the beach a 2 minute walk through my complex is a great perk, just one that I don't get to take advantage of anywhere near as often as I'd like.
I considered starting a blog before I moved to St. Maarten as a way to keep in touch and let family and friends know that all is well. I also figured if there were any potential students that wanted another perspective of the school, I would share some of my experiences with the hopes of helping the next group of dreamers decide if this was the place for them. It has taken nearly a year of adjustments and internal debates with myself to get to this point. I have no idea what I'm doing, but if you're willing to go along for the ride, get ready... I'll hit some of the highlights of the first two semesters and then work on more regular posts moving forward.
I welcome your comments and questions as the journey continues...