Second Semester Begins!

The plane that I took to get back to St. Maarten from Puerto Rico

It has been a pretty fun, exciting, yet relaxing past two weeks of winter break. I’m really happy to have seen my family in Georgia and to have gone on an awesome adventure with Irene to Puerto Rico. Today is my last day of break and it is time to start school again tomorrow. Since moving back to St. Maarten three days ago, I have settled down into my new one-bedroom apartment at Aventura. It’s one of the newer apartments in the area and I like it a lot. I am only steps away from the elevator, laundry, and roof terrace. I’m really happy that my old roommate from last semester is now my new neighbor and we plan to share our internet connection via wifi. Since the roof garden is only a floor above me, I will be able to receive my internet signal up there. Expect to see my studying a lot up there!

Despite the nice accomodations, it has only been three days since I moved in and I have already experienced the infamous “power outages” and “water shortages” that people have been raving about. Welcome to the “real” St. Maarten! The power was out when I arrived in front of the elevator — I had to drag my heavy suitcase up all five flights of stairs to get to my room. The power turned on shortly after I got into my room. Well, so much for all that sweating. I guess it was a good workout! Tonight, the water has been out for a few hours already. I just hope I won’t have to resort to jumping into the swimming pool to bathe. Now I’ve learned that I must prepare myself some jugs of water to use as backups during this time!

The view from my front door.

I’m also really happy to meet so many new faces, and see old faces. It really reinforces my feelings that we are all on this journey to survive med school and pursue our dreams together. Talking to first semester students reminded me of the time only three months ago when I arrived in a foreign land thousands of miles away from home to study in a program notorious for being intellectually, mentally, and physically demanding. I remember when all the rumors were in the air, and when everything you hear about med school is hyped up. Is med school really that hard? Will I really be studying 8 hours per day? Will it be scary working in the middle of the night alone with 20 cadavers around you? I remember feeling the anxiety yet the excitement of facing the unknown. Yet, today I know the answers to these questions. Now that I have survived first semester and have my previous fears calmed and questions answered, I now have a new set of “unknowns” to face for the upcoming semester:

  • Will second semester really be that much more work than first semester?
  • Will I be able to remember everything I learned in MCB I from last semester to take the MCB Shelf exam at the end of this semester?
  • Will I be stuck in the elevator when the power goes out in my apartment?
  • Will I be used to living in this “real St. Maarten”?

Every phase that we go through in life is preceded by new questions and culminates with answers. So tomorrow begins my journey to find these answers. My schedule for the next four months starting tomorrow will be as follows:

8:00am – 9:20am | Molecular and Cell Biology II

9:30am – 10:20am | Physiology I

10:30am – 11:20am | Immunology

12:00pm – 12:50pm | Tuesday – Friday, Jan 12 – Feb 8 | Biostatistics

12:00pm – 2:00pm or 2:30pm – 4:30pm | Monday – Thursday, March 18 – April 8 | Intro to Clinical Medicine

These subjects all interest me and I am looking forward to the upcoming semester. Apparently second semester will be more demanding than the first, but by now, we should all already be used to the pace and the volume of material, or so people say. I’ll see for myself. But for now, I am going to get some sleep and be focused for the morning!

Good luck everyone!

**UPDATE**

GEBE (the power supplier on the island) has installed new engines this past December, after warnings from the government about the unacceptable number of power outages. They are still in the midst of fine tuning the system, but overall, the number of power outages have decreased significantly on the island.

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