Nov 17, 2006

Welcome to the wonderful world of overwhelming debt

This is my first blog post, first blog, and so forth, so be kind, or more likely, never see this in the realm of a billion blogs, and continue reading about how much Dubya's an ass or how much people who think Dubya's an ass are asses.

Generally, I wouldn't consider my life interesting enough to commit to blog format, but since, as an incoming January SGU medical student, I've found the blogs of other SGU students helpful, perhaps mine will be eventually as well. In the meantime, I'll bore any readers with the humdrum events of my life while adding in just enough relevant schooling information to keep the academia-obsessed reading through. Mwa ha.

Since I'll be a January start, scuba diving, Caribbean medical student, I will try VERY hard to not rip off Carsten's excellent blog. Hopefully, I won't get the hurricane in the middle of schooling like he did.

So, currently?

I'm in California working as an editor. I'll be driving to North Carolina to say my final goodbyes to family and friends, live there for a few weeks, and then fly down to Grenada to start med school. I'm taking my parents, because I love them so much (and they make excellent pack mules when dealing with spartan luggage requirements), so happy vacation, mom and dad! Remember, you can ONLY TAKE A BATHING SUIT AND A PAIR OF SHORTS. THE REST OF YOUR LUGGAGE SPACE BELONGS TO MEEEEE!!!!!

Not that the remote few reading this care about all that.

Application process. Getting into an American medical school when you're a California resident is slightly easier than coming up with a unified field theory. When I applied through AMCAS, my stats were:

Degree: Anthropology, graduated with high honors. GPA: 3.54, weak in chemistry, lowest grades on my transcripts were C's. Went to UCDavis. (Go Aggies!)

Took the MCAT twice because I am a complete and total idiot. First time: VR:12 BS: 10 PS: 7 WS: O. Total: 29O. Second time: VR: 11; BS: 8 (damn damn damn damn); PS: 8 WS: T. Total: 27T. Hey, but I took that writing sample to the top score! I could be an English teacher!

Extracurriculars were decent. I had some hospital volunteer work, but did a lot of research down in the Donated Body Program, which allowed me ample opportunity to prepare, dissect, drain, and oversee the medical school cadavers, so my anatomical background kicks some ass. I'm expecting biochem to kick mine.

So seems decent enough... ha... Didn't get a single secondary from a public school, kids. Not a one. My darling alma mater just sent me the rejection via EMAIL. "Dear applicant; whoa, dude, got your application, lol, and who do you think u r kidding. :( " or some equivalent.

I thought through all the classic cheats like pretending getting a biology masters would make a difference. Talked to a practicing CA doc who graduated from Berkeley with highest honors and couldn't get in, so she went to SGU.

For those wondering, SGU (St. George's University) is a highly regarded, extraordinarily expensive way to get your medical degree if you don't mind a couple years in the Caribbean (Grenada and St. Vincent), nor going into so much debt it makes your teeth itch. They are one of four schools in the Carib (others are Ross, AUC, and SABA) where you can get licensing in all 50 states. Yes, SGU is also the med school they had to evacuate during the Reagan years. Quit asking.

For info about the school, the forum in ValueMD proved extremely valuable and answers all questions you might have. There are some other blogs that provide a nice overview into life in Grenada, though everyone's experience is different.

Anyway, I applied around April or so for the August class. I got an interview in San Jose (I'm in Sacramento) fairly quickly, and then paced around my apartment for 8 weeks ripping out my hair. Got on the waitlist for August with a promise of January admittance if I didn't get in. I opted out of the August waitlist for guaranteed January, because otherwise you risk finding out you're going to the Carib with a week's notice or less. No thanks.

For what you'd expect, SGU maintains a pretty high status in incoming students. Average GPA and MCAT are posted on the official website. They also may accept students that didn't get directly into a medical school spot into a Master's program or Foundations of Medicine program with provisional acceptance into the medical program after completion. They also seem to be starting up a med program in England that mirrors the curriculum of the basic sciences on Grenada, but I know next to nothing about it.

After getting in, you have a mandatory 1000$ deposit to hold your spot sent well in advance (depending on when you got in). There is a second 5000$ deposit that, if you're getting loans, can be postponed to be taken out of them, but call your financial aid counselor.

So now, I've turned in my forms (except the health one) and I'm just waiting around trying to stockpile some cash. I'm working on getting my loans. Unless mommy and daddy are independently wealthy, you will need loans to go to this school, which, after 4 years, tends to leave you a quarter million dollars in the hole. Better hope you stay in. Federal loans will only cover 18,500$ a year, so you will need private loans to fill in the rest. Start fixing that credit now.



Carsten said...

Thanks for the compliment! However, now I feel guilty about not updating it in months. Hopefully after the OB/GYN final exam on Wednesday. Your blog has a very interesting start, I'll be sure to keep an eye on it. :-)

Oh and P.S.:
1) The evacuation was a ploy to put a positive spin on trying to prevent the "domino effect" of Communism spreading throughout the region. When the island gets hit by a natural disaster, the US Military did not come running to assist, and the Embassy took over a week to get any evacuation going, which was mostly organized by the students anyways. There is still a missing persons report filed at the State Department by my parents - I guess they really weren't looking all that hard. :roll:
2) There is now GradPLUS loans, so technically, you can get government loans to cover 100% of tuition - no need for private anymore. (Though unfortunately, the GradPLUS interest rate is higher than the Staffords).

Ishie said...


And thanks for the link; it's a high honor, and good luck on your OB/GYN final!!

I knew about the ploy, but not enough to put up the info... I just know that EVERY time I tell people I'm going to Grenada, they say "Granada? Oh... Grenada? Wait... wasn't that where Reagan sent the troops..."

Carsten said...

I figured you knew, but I was just using your comment form to vent about the US government and its self-serving two-faced-ness.

I hope that makes sense - coming off a 36-hour night float shift. Time to sleep.

Anonymous said...

Hi there pincushion :) Sorry didn't make it into chat yesterday to tell you good bye. I know you'll love the Grenadines. We've been to Bequoia and it is the Diving Mecca for Germans, grin. (No never been Diving) The snorkeling was heavenly, vbg. Nothing like being tickled by a swarm of blue Neons

Any way have a good trip

Ishie said...

Thanks Tigger!!

VOMIT said...

So I have definitely read about a year of your life lol...quite fascinating actually lots of good SGU info

Mrs.Irene Query said...
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