Students at UMHS, one of the leading Caribbean medical schools, study the Basic Science Program for four semesters at our state-of-the-art campus in beautiful St. Kitts and then return to the USA for the 5th semester at our Portland, Maine campus for Introduction to Clinical Medicine II and Biological Basis of Clinical Medicine. We caught up with our friend, UMHS medical student and longtime UMHS Endeavour blog contributor Jasmine Rivas about her experience in Portland, and what UMHS students can expect
UMHS ENDEAVOUR: What is one important thing that UMHS students and prospective students should know about 5th semester in Portland, Maine?
JASMINE RIVAS: Our satellite campus could not be more conveniently located. “Break time” is better spent, however; stay disciplined and on track. Time flies here as fast, or faster than on island, so make good use of it.
Do you feel the Kaplan review course is helping?
I am surprised that it is. I took Kaplan for the MCAT and let’s just say I wasn’t expecting much from this Kaplan course. However, this course offers a speedy review, that if supplemented with review and questions after hours, seems to be solid.
Tell us a little about what it’s like transitioning from St. Kitts to Portland.
It was a little challenging at first. St. Kitts was a second home for me for a while and I never thought I’d miss it, but I was wrong! Nevertheless, Portland is very welcoming. The staff and faculty here are both amazing, as are the preceptors. If there is one thing all UMHS students have in common, it’s our ability to adapt.
Is it great being back in the USA? Do you miss the tropical weather of St. Kitts?
It is nice to be back. Life is simply more convenient. I’m closer to family and friends. However, I miss the people of St. Kitts, Ms. Love, Paula and Jessica in the cafeteria. As well as the professors who invested so much of their time in our education. Even the bus driver (Monty) and the taxi drivers like Howard and Uncle Mille that came through so many times. The beauty of the island was breathtaking as well; the views combining mountains and sea. I’ll always appreciate my time spent there and I take back the times I complained about missing the States.
What is something that surprised you about Portland?
Its downtown area. It was love at first sight. I didn’t expect it to become one of my favorite places.
Any advice for UMHS students that are nervous about 5th semester?
Don’t be! I spent so much precious time being nervous or anxious and it took away from the experience. Everyone is here to help, it’s a learning experience, and you’re here to learn, not prove that you know everything already.
So whenever you catch yourself being nervous, just pray (if that’s your thing) and ask for confidence and comfort, and/or tell yourself that you’re here to learn, it’s just another day, and you’ll get through it like you always do.
Anything else that students should know?
My best advice: Do Qbank questions early! Also, if you’ll be starting in January, get an oil change before you get here or as soon as you do (so you won’t need to worry about in during the semester), have enough winter attire to stay warm, and make sure your tires are all-season or winter-ready.
For more information on the 5th semester at UMHS, please visit http://www.umhs-sk.org/index.php/academics/clinical-science.html