In an effort to include all my experiences this week, I’d like to just make some bullet points. I’d love to elaborate on each experience, but I may not get to it due to the nature of the Ross program.
Every morning my orientation group starts pick-up around 6:30am, which is quite a relaxing way to start the day, if you ask me! My bus driver is such a character, he drives fairly quickly and honks his repetitive, descending horn at everyone he know, which is hilarious. The bus has no A/C, which is the part that I, strangely, find relaxing; all the windows are down. I sit by the window with the beautiful breeze and just reflect on the day to come and appreciate all the beauty the island has to offer from Bird Rock to Monkey Hill to Camps. We usually arrive on campus between 7:30 and 7:45am, which is just enough time to each their wonderful breakfast of hash browns (seasoned mashed potatoes), ham chunks, bread, oatmeal, apples and bananas, OR breakfast quiche, hash browns, eggs, oatmeal, apples and bananas, and your choice of cucumber ginger, lemonade, ginger beer, and passionfruit drinks. I’ve got to tell you, I’m by no means a breakfast person, but I’ve looked forward to it every morning of orientation and I’m totally going to miss it come Monday.
Day 1 – we setup our Ross email account, Apple iPads (called the PawPad), myPortal account, and updated our myRoss account information to include our island phone number and address “area.” By this I mean the neighborhood your house is in. Apparently my apartment address is useless here. Everyone knows my apartment as the massive peach house on the top of the Bird Rock hill. It’s quite funny that you can actually see it from anywhere on the southeast and southwest side of the island. Oh, and we had Dominos pizza for lunch! In the afternoon we killed some time by going to a hidden little spot called Sea Glass beach, which is located at the end of the road at bird tree… you’ll become familiar with this if you have to drive from the east side of the island to get to campus. It is simply a spot of trees where white birds constantly nest. After the beach, we met with Scotia bank, which is one of the two local banks on the island, to setup our accounts and sign our paperwork. That night we had the opportunity to go to the grocery store and buy food and home supplies.
Day 2 – we were introduced to all the different offices on campus such as the registrar, financial aid, student services, campus nurse, the housing department, counseling department, etc.. We even met with financial aid to receive our loan dispersement checks, which wound up being a shit show for me, but everything worked itself out. Side note: know that no matter what happens during island time, getting frustrated and angry doesn’t accomplish anything and it doesn’t help the situation get any better. At the end of the day, we went to complete the setup of our bank accounts and depositing the total amount of money from our loan dispersement checks and withdrawing any amount if needed. Side note: they will charge you a $13EC to withdraw money from their ATM and none of the tellers will let you withdraw money from them, assuming that they make $13EC off of each ATM withdrawal. Another side note: if you withdraw from the ATM on campus there is no fee associated and you can only withdraw $1500EC at a time.
For the record $1EC = $2.70USD. About $55EC = $20USD. The numbers are extremely higher and look quite a bit intimidating. Most things are about the same amount as back home, usually cheaper, but other things are much more expensive. You’ll just have to feel out the prices at all the places: TDC (gardening, home supplies, hardware), Rams (groceries), Best Buy (groceries, home supplies), Horsford’s (this is where you would want to go if you want to buy a fan for your apartment or a grill) and a few more I’m not familiar with.
Day 3 – we were introduced to the security department, as well as the commissioner of Saint Kitts and Nevis who briefed us on staying safe, how to protect ourselves from becoming targets of crimes, and how to contact them if they are in an emergency situation. They showed us their ID cards, which equivilates to badges in the US. It’s a little scary that people would target students or newbies to the island, but most of us are coming from cities where worse and heightened crimes happen daily. We went over the student handbook, as well. All I remember is that I’m supposed to read 2.7, 2.8, and 2.9… After lunch, we were introduced to a man named Dr. Rick DeBowes who taught us “Ross University Leadership Experience” which lasted until 4pm that day. That night we also had the opportunity to go to the grocery store and buy food and home supplies.
Day 4 – we worked with Dr. DeBowes for 7 hours on the leadership experience. On this day, we learned a lot about who we are, what type of personalities we have, as well as participating in trust exercises with strangers, being broken down into small groups of 15 and learning about one another. Questions that were brought up were “favorite color,” “biggest fear about vet school,” and “the best advice you’ve ever received.” I’ve got to tell you, this was the best! It made us all aware that we have the same fears, and we are all veterinary students looking for friends.
Day 5 – we basically did the same this as day four, expect that we just about worked with our new groups doing activities. This day was very frustrating because we also received our schedules for Monday, which was only two days away, and a lot wasn’t what I was expecting. If I get a chance to add a picture of my first two weeks schedule, I will. In case anyone else would be totally put off by the same things as I was. Later Friday night we went the strip and had a few drinks with other classmates in my OL group and other groups. Most of the people that went got completely shit faced, but James and I only had 2 beers each and still had a great time. We even took advantage of the beach behind Chinchillas and listened to the sea shells while the waves crashed and had honeymoon time… just kidding, we only kissed a little 🙂
Saturday was the class catamaran trip, which I did not attend due to potential medical problems that would arise from being in the sun for 3.5 hours, but from what I heard (and saw in pictures) was that everyone had a great time! I actually got to see the catamaran leave the dock in port and come back in. After everyone was gathered afterward, my OL picked James and I up to have lunch with the rest of our group and then we did the island tour with the bus driver we had all week. The tour took about 3 hours. We were shown all the different towns and neighborhoods, some of the atlantic beaches, and had zip lining, horseback riding, and hiking trails pointed out to us through the tour. Make sure to bring some water shoes with you on this day if you can because you may be able to hike very minute trails to get to the beaches. I had flip flops and it was convenient for a few beaches, but others I didn’t take chances hiking in. I, instead, just enjoyed the breeze and the beauty of all of it.
Sunday will be your only day off… take advantage of it! My husband and the 3 other certified divers in our OL group went diving, but I decided to sit the first one out because I want to give my body “lime time,” which you’ll learn means “chill time.” I was able to nest and get my apartment ready for my week, which will be crazy. I even got time to read a book and enjoy the weather. Granted, it stormed today, but it gave us a nice breeze. We went to an upper’s house for tacos Sunday night, but went home around 8pm to get a shower and get to bed early.