Members of the UMHS African and Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) got together with UMHS faculty for the “Fostering Relationships Dinner,” an evening of fun, food and camaraderie at Jam Rock Restaurant in St. Kitts on Tuesday, November 14, 2017.
The UMHS Endeavour spoke to Eboni Peoples, President of ACSA, about the event, as well as other members of the group.
“Undoubtedly, UMHS has faculty that sincerely care about their students,” Ms. Peoples said.
The purpose of the event was to take a break from the serious studying of medical school and allow the students to have fun with their fellow professors.
“The casual evening started off with laughs as we (students) made jokes about the tardiness of many of the professors,” Ms. Peoples said. “Conversations were held about what we did before attending medical school, family traditions we keep while on the island, scary movies, favorite moments in class and so much more. The relaxed environment made it comfortable for both students and professors to get to know one another on a more personal level as everyone revealed a unique quality about him or herself. More importantly, the students had an opportunity to express an honest critique of the course materials and difficulty level to the professors who avidly listened.”
The motivational stories and speeches shared by UMHS professors were particularly noteworthy.
“Before I could finish eating my food, I felt more confident than ever in my pursuit to becoming a physician,” Ms. Peoples said. “ I am very grateful to have a chance to meet with faculty outside of office hours. The students and professors alike genuinely wanted to be at the dinner and take advantage of the time we do have together. The night could have not ended in a better way.”
Other UMHS ACSA members also had great things to say about the evening’s events.
ACSA member Tiara Gaines-Still, an Extended Basic Sciences 3 student at UMHS, spoke to the Endeavour about why it was so important to socialize with professors outside of the classroom.
“I truly enjoyed the student faculty dinner and cannot wait to do it again,” Ms. Gaines-Still said.” Being able to have dinner with the professors offered a new perspective on medical school. It allowed us to remember that our teachers are also human beings. They have jokes and enjoy the simple things in life. As teachers they set the bar high because they want us to succeed but outside of that they are very willing to talk to us about school, life, politics or even their experiences and especially food.”
The dinner helped Ms. Gaines-Still and other UMHS students really get to know the faculty.
“At this dinner, we were no longer teachers and students but just a group of people who share several common interest outside of wanting to help others,” Ms. Gaines-Still said.” I shared laughs and stories all while gaining a new sense of connection to the people who will help mode me into a wonderful physician in the future. I am very grateful to ACSA for organizing this event and the professors who participated. They showed my without words that they believed the students matter by taking time out of their lives to simply have dinner with us and for that I am incredibly grateful.”
Two other UMHS students had similar praise for the festive evening.
“I had a great time at the dinner,” said Everlyn Santana Aponte, a UMHS EBS 3 student.” I really enjoyed sharing an informal night with the professors because it allowed me to know more about them on a personal level, and realize that they were at some point like me. It truly served as an inspiration for working hard to become doctors and professionals like them someday.”
Building rapport with UMHS faculty outside the classroom was also a big plus for Zonelle Harris, an Extended Basic Sciences 3 student at UMHS.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Ms. Harris said. “The professors were very approachable and relaxed. They were very encouraging but at the same gave us that reality check that we needed. It is a good feeling to know that they actually care. It makes it more easier to go to them with questions or concerns. I think we should definitely do this again some time in the near future and hopefully more students will take advantage of the opportunity and get to know their professors outside the classroom and the office. I am truly grateful to them for taking time out of their schedules to simple have dinner and a conservation. It has definitely made a lasting impact on me.”
Built in the tradition of the best U.S. universities, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences focuses on individualized student attention, small class sizes and recruiting high-quality faculty. For these reasons, UMHS is quickly becoming the school of choice among Caribbean medical schools.