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Welcome Home, Fighting Mongooses?

Welcome readers! Whether you are new to the AUA family or are a returning student, the AUA
Pulse would like to welcome you to Antigua and wish you luck in the upcoming semester.
Much has changed here on campus since the last issue of the Pulse. There are new academic
programs in the works, a new campus going up, a new mascot and much more.
The latest addition to the AUA family is our new mascot, the ‘Fighting Mongoose.’ After sev-
eral suggestions last semester it seems that we have finally chosen our furry friend the mon-
goose to represent our school.
Another new development is the partnership of AUA with Virginia Tech University’s Virginia
Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The partnership will mark the opening of
AUA’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biosciences which will launch its inaugural class
in January 2010. As per our theme of new beginnings, the new campus is beginning to come
together. The grand entrance is clearly visible and the final product appears to be on the hori-
It seems that pretty soon, the ‘S Drive’ may be a thing of the past. The Blackboard website is
up and running and several instructors are already taking advantage of its new technology.
You can log on with your usual username and password at

A new fashion trend has also made its way to AUA... mohawks and
“fauxhawks.” How long will this trend last? I’m not sure but it seems to
be catching on very quickly. What may have started out as a haircut gone
wrong has now become the “new do.” A quick stroll through the library will find you several
people sporting the fauxhawk.
This special Welcome Edition of the Pulse features much information for new and returning
students. An article on places to visit in Antigua will give you ideas on how to spend your
free time (after exams of course). Can’t figure out how to study? Students who have success-
fully completed each semester of the
Basic Sciences program have shared
What’s Inside? advice and study tips which can also
be found right here.
Welcome Back!................................1
Happy Anniversary to Me..............2 As always the Pulse is excited to deliver news to you and
Getting Involved at AUA.............3-5 we are on the hunt for writers. Anyone interested in work-
ing on photo spreads, layout or writing is welcome to join
Student Spotlight..........................6-7 our staff. The sad time has come when Katie and I will be
Faculty Spotlight...........................8-9 leaving the island which means that we will be needing a
Advice for Meds 1- 4..............10-13 new Editorial staff as well. Please email us at if you would like to join the
Antigua & You..................................14 AUA Pulse team.
Island Goggles.................................15
Counseling Corner..................16-17 By: Vaseem Ahmed - Med 4
Parting Words...........................18-19 Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Happy Anniversary Baby

AUA and I recently hit our one-year mark, and as with any relationship that has lasted as long, I found myself
reminiscing over a glass of wine about how it all began..... *cue floaty music*

We met online ~ I was so nervous! Looking through all those other hot Caribbean schools’ profiles and wonder-
ing which one would be the best match for me was difficult. In addition, I was still raw from my previous rela-
tionship with Ross. I am not ashamed to admit that it was quite abusive, and consequently, I was in pretty rough

AUA was different though. I could see that right away. And even though we have gone through our fair share of
arguments, I don’t regret having stayed together. Over the past year, I have learned a lot about myself and
grown stronger in many ways I never would have guessed. Now, as we head into the second year of our rela-
tionship, I offer a few words of advice to those of you just starting out with AUA:

- Don’t get caught up in the initial fantasy........Like most of us, AUA is prone to promoting its good
points and downplaying its bad ones when you first meet. So once you have committed to the relationship, try
not to spend too much energy complaining about the fact that the beer gut (aka West campus) got cropped out of
the profile picture.

- Be proactive.........If AUA is being distant, make the effort to ask direct and specific questions and find
out what’s really going on. Go to the source and find out the real story. Trust me, it will save you a lot of heart-
ache in the long run, and the two of you will end up closer for the effort.

- Keep an eye on the big picture.......You are going to have days when AUA makes you want to
scream in frustration and end things forever. But remember why the two of you are together. You are
trying to realize a dream here, and if you stay focused and committed, you will make it.

- Appreciate the good things........Sure the parking lot is a mess and the broken computers are collecting
dust in the library, but don’t forget about the many truly great professors and TAs who are here to help you suc-
ceed, as well as the student groups, volunteer activities and upcoming Taster’s Day festivities.

- Don’t get obsessive.........Expecting any one thing to fulfill you completely is a surefire way to disap-
pointment, and making AUA your whole world is not a
good idea. Make it a point to stay in touch with the parts
of yourself that existed before your new relationship.

- Remember it takes daily work.......You can’t ex-

pect a payoff without putting in the effort, and if you stay
out partying all night, AUA will not be sympathetic.

As the semester progresses, you may also find that it

really helps to say those three little words at the end of
every day: “Almost a doctor!”

(Or nurse, or veterinarian, as the case may be!) ... Thanks Katie Schmitz - Med 4
for reading. See you next month! Editor-in-Chief

Getting Involved!
Student Government Association
The SGA of AUA is committed to assisting students in maximizing academic
and social pursuits while at the American University of Antigua. The Student
Government also strives to maintain a strong connection between the stu-
dent body and the administration of AUA as they work together to improve
the quality of education here in Antigua and in the United States.

Current Executive Board: President: Dona Hasou; Vice President: Andy

Brouwer; Secretary: Radhika Patel; Treasurer: Don St. Jean.
Class elections are upcoming, and the first SGA meeting is Wed. Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. on West Campus.
Attendance by all is encouraged.

AUA Pulse
The AUA Pulse is the school newspaper at AUA. It is a vehicle of com-
munication between students, faculty, staff, and administration, as well
as a means to stay up to date on current events. All submissions are
welcome! Current and past issues are available on the S-Drive under the
Student Government folder --> Student Newsletter folder --> AUA Pulse
Issues folder.

American Medical Student Association (AMSA)

The American Medical Student Association is committed to im-
proving health care and healthcare delivery to all people; pro-
moting active improvement in medical education; involving its
members in the social, moral and ethical obligations of the pro-
fession of medicine; assisting in the improvement and under-
standing of world health problems; contributing to the welfare of medical students, premedical stu-
dents, interns, residents and post-MD/DO trainees; and advancing the profession of medicine.
AMSA’s main goal is to give back to the community that we live in, and hope to one day practice in.

American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)

The American Medical Women’s Association is an or-
ganization which functions at the local, national, and
international level to advance women in medicine and
improve women’s health. We achieve this by providing
and developing leadership, advocacy, education, ex-
pertise, mentoring, and strategic alliances. AMWA is open to all races and genders.


Student Nurses’ Association

SNA is an organization that provides academic, social, and professional
support to students of the AUA Nursing program. The organization has
served the community via volunteer work and awareness programs in
our local and global communities. Our mission is to promote and en-
courage participation in community service while enhancing our mem-
bers’ social and caregiving skills.
President: Shaquawna N. Braddock

Black Student Union (BSU)

The purpose of BSU is to promote activities of common interest, as well
as cultural and educational benefits for the African American student
body and any other minority group. In addition, the BSU is the "um-
brella" organization of many of the African-American student organiza-
tions, providing a forum for them to voice their differences, goals, and

La Cura
The mission of La Cura is to spread knowledge of the increasing de-
mand for Spanish-speaking physicians in the United States today. The
association aims to help educate and provide medical students with
the experience they need to be able to effectively help the countryʼs
growing Hispanic population as future physicians.
President: Joel Alicea Santa

Doctors For Christ (DFC)

DFC is a Christian organization that offers moral, academic, and es-
pecially spiritual support to the students body. A bake sale, an end-
of-the-semester banquet, and Thanksgiving service are our on-
campus activities. DFC is also involved in an outreach program in
the community such as nursing homes and assisted living. DFC is
composed of different branches / groups that include: praise dance,
praise choir, worship team and prayer team.


Muslim Students’ Association (MSA)

Established in 2004, MSA AUA continues to serve Muslim students during
their college and university careers as a vehicle in developing and maintain-
ing a positive, Islamic, and peaceful lifestyle. MSA AUA is a uniting forum for
Muslim students from diverse backgrounds. Activities include: Weekly Friday
prayer; Friday evening Halaqah; Ramadan Fast-a-Thon and Meals; Eid Ban-
quet; Social work in the Antiguan community; Educational and intellectual
support, and intra-support networks. The democratically elected Board of
Trustees of MSA AUA continues our mission of meeting the needs of our
Muslim youth on campus with zeal and energy. MSA AUA is committed to
empowering the students of today to be citizens of tomorrow's global com-

Sikh Student Association

SSA of AUA is geared toward providing a forum for discussion so that one
may learn about the fundamentals of the Sikh faith and related topics while
promoting awareness of that faith through regularly scheduled events and
recognition of major religious holidays. One concept focused on by the Sikh
students at AUA is the concept of Seva (selfless service), by raising funds and
volunteering time and resources to charitable organizations in Antigua and
abroad. The Sikh Student Association works with organizations like AMSA,
Phi DE, BSU and more in giving back to the community by participating in ac-
tivities like the Health Fair, 5K run, and food drives. SSA is also focused on
mentoring the Sikh youth to further their educational and social knowledge
about the faith while providing a comfortable environment and support system. The organization is
open to all students who are interested in learning about the Sikh faith and giving back to the

Phi Delta Epsilon

Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity creates physicians of
integrity with a life-long commitment to our guiding principles of philan-
thropy, deity, and education through fellowship, service, mentoring, and
formal training in leadership, science, and ethics. Guiding Principles:
Philanthropy, Deity, Equity & Education
Motto: "Facta Non Verba, Deeds Not Words"

Indian Student Association (ISA)

This organization is currently inactive but still part of the charter.


Student Spotlight on...

AnnaMarie Arias!

Where did you attend undergrad and what was your major?
I have a Bachelor’s in Neuroscience from UCLA (Go Bruins!)

What has been your favorite class at AUA & why? That is
tough. I really enjoyed how Physio integrates so much informa-
tion. I also really enjoyed Dr. Bharati's style of teaching for Mi-
crobiology. It was fascinating learning about the transmission
and mechanisms of diseases we have always heard of, as well
as how to most effectively make quick differential diagnoses
based on certain clues. I also thoroughly enjoyed taking the Be-
havioral block with Dr. Kastuk as I think it is so important as
physicians to always have in mind where a patient may be com-
ing from or what they may be going through. He repeated
throughout the course, "Physiology affects state of mind; state
of mind affects physiology," and I truly believe that as well, AnnaMarie Arias
as seen it in the hospitals I've worked in. Lastly I've really enjoyed Med 4
my experience with the optional Research Class.

How many hours do you generally devote to your studies per day? For the most part, my
routine every day is 6 hours of class, followed by 3 or 4 hours of studying, research in the lab,
TA for a couple of hours, then do self study again for a couple of hours or until about 1am.
Weekends I try to treat like a work day and go 9-5. I attend about 2 hours of TA sessions per
week, and run about 10 hours of TA sessions.

What are your preferred study methods? I study better alone as I need to do the reading
myself and handwrite my own notes to drill it in. I study to music when I'm reading, but with
earplugs/silence when I'm drilling information in (i.e. day of tests). Earplugs do wonders!

Do you utilize any outside resources, i.e. Kaplan, First Aid, etc.? I use my own notes
from class and readings for minis, and only use outside resources as a source of review come

Shelf time. If I have time while studying for minis I will do practice questions from BRS. Oth-
erwise Kaplan Q book and First Aid I save for Shelf review.

How do you plan to study for the Comp & Step 1? This semester a few friends and I have
started a little breakfast/coffee group that meets up about 30 min before class to do some
practice questions from a Board review book we all purchased while at home. When I get
back to the States I plan to watch the Kaplan videos on the subjects in which I didn’t score as
strongly on the Shelf and work to get those scores up. I am still undecided as to whether or
not I will enroll in a review course or just stick to a strict schedule of self-study on my own.

What kind of doctor do you want to be & why? I originally came to AUA thinking I would be
a Pediatrician; however I am keeping my mind open heading into rotations as I have gained a
lot of interests here. I plan on looking into Pediatric Cardiology and Oncology while on
rotations. Pediatrics appeals to me because I love the idea of treating not only the patient, but
their entire family in a sense. I think most of the time parents are more afraid than the children
themselves. I think in these situations a doctor can have a huge impact just by having com-
passion, concern, and ensuring that the family is well informed and involved in decision mak-

Any time for extracurricular activities / Favorite way to relax? Outside of class, I keep
myself busy with Head Anatomy TA, Head Physio TA, Head Small Groups Facilitator, Re-
search under Dr. Dipeolu, Micro TA, and Phi Delta Epsilon. I relax on Friday night after my
last TA session, and I usually like to spend it with my boyfriend either going out to dinner to
our favorite restaurant or just having some wine and popping in a movie.

Any advice for incoming students? Go to class, establish a routine, and enjoy what you are
learning. Being successful in med school involves mostly learning how to discipline yourself
and being efficient with your time. By being excited about what you are learning, the informa-
tion will better stick and you can get through your work much faster. By going to class, even if
the information goes above your head, you should still be able to walk away with a general
idea of what the professor emphasized and what they thought was important. Then when you
go home you can focus on these areas and in the end save more time. Lastly if you do well in
a class, TA!. It’s the best way to see if you truly know your material and ensures that you re-
member the information long term.


ON... Dr. Ephraim!
Where did you grow up? I grew up in the
Graysfarm / Greenbay area on the west-
ern part of Antigua. Actually I've spent
most of my life here in Antigua.

What is your educational background? I

did my Bachelor's at the University of The
West Indies, CaveHill, in Barbados. There
I majored in organic chemistry and mo-
lecular biology. After that, I worked in Bar-
bados for a few months and then studied
medicine in Cuba at the University of Ha-

How long have you been teaching at AUA

and which areas do you focus on? About
a year now. I teach DPS and ICM and I
focus on the respiratory, renal and musculoskeletal conditions. Of these, I am most interested
in the renal disorders.

How did you decide to become a doctor? I liked the idea of being a doctor ever since i was a
child. When I was around 12 years old I read a book called "Gifted Hands." That book is the
life story of Ben Carson, an American neurosurgeon at John Hopkins. After reading that I was
hooked on anything remotely related to medicine.

Any advice for todayʼs medical students? I always tell students to take some time to seriously
consider if they really want to be doctors; to be sure that they really want to study medicine. I
think too many students have false notions that medicine is what it's played out to be on tele-
vision sitcoms like Dr. House and Grey’s Anatomy. Actually students need to know that its a
career which demands life-long study, that they will have to constantly sacrifice other activities
to make time to read and research. Too often students look at the "Glamour and Glitter" asso-
ciated with being called a medical doctor, and do not realize that to be a doctor is to be a ser-
vant, really, to people who may not always appreciate the service provided, and who may not
necessarily react with a sense of thankfulness.


How about advice for those who have just arrived here at AUA? Try not to get carried away
with the "island life" so to speak. You have made a huge investment to come here and it is
your responsibility to capitalize on your investment. If you fail a course, there is no one to
blame but yourself. Irrespective of the professor, what happens in the lecture or lab, the avail-
able facilities etc, you are responsible for your own destiny. So if you pass, its on you.....but if
you fail, it also on you! SO SIT DOWN AND STUDY!.

Top spot to see on the island? You have to see Shirley's Heights! If you don’t see that, then
you can't really say you have been in Antigua...practically every magazine about Antigua has
a picture of the view of English Harbour from Shirley's Heights. Another area I think most stu-
dents don't get to see but is really nice is the Wallings area on the Southeastern part of the
island. It used to be a tropical rainforest and is very beautiful. I also think everyone should go
over to Barbuda for at least a day, if there is time.

How do you spend your free time? I am a big sports enthusiast. I used to play a lot, but nowa-
days I mostly watch. Football, Basketball, Cricket, Boxing, you name it, I watch it. On any
given evening, you can find me glued to Sportscenter, PTI, Rome or any one of the other
sports shows. Actually, I am counting down the days before the Football World Cup in South
Africa. Other than that, I read a lot of History and Mythology, and I also have a keen interest in
both local and world politics.

Who has been the most influential person in your life? There is an individual named Joseph
Prosper who was formerly the director of the Environmental Awareness Group here in Anti-
gua, and who taught me Geography. He made a great impact on my way of thinking with his
philosophy that hard work and perseverance are the keys to achieve one's goals. I essentially
copied his idea that a person should determine what he or she wants in life, and then go and
get it.....irrespective of what it takes to get it! So for that, I would say that he is the most influ-
ential person.


Med 1 Advice
Anatomy: As a first semester student, I was eager to learn and grasp all that I could to become the classic
Anatomy genius. I quickly learned that memorizing every inch of detail was not only time consuming but also
brought minimal success. Attending class daily proved to be immensely useful in narrowing down important

Use the Adams Anatomy Program while reading from the Baby Moore Book. Adams pictures are tested on in
Dry Lab. This will help you get accustomed to the program and pictures while giving you a clear understanding
of the “neighborhood” of structures. VH Dissector Pictures are heavily tested on in Thorax and Abdomen.

-Join a Study Group. I retained the most information from material I learned with the group.

-Attend all TA sessions during your first week and then choose one to be committed to for the remainder of the

-Attending class daily will prove to be immensely useful in narrowing the multitude of information set before

-Set a goal of learning all material at least 3-4 days before your exam. This leaves you with a few days t o f o-
cus on doing questions from BRS, Michigan website, Exam Master etc. rather than trying to learn new material.

-Draw pictures!

Histology/Cell Biology: Class Notes are Gold! Read briefly topics before going to class. Exams are cumula-
tive – DONʼT FORGET! And although Anatomy can get overwhelming, donʼt fall behind in Histology.

DPS: Despite rumors, Notes from lab are just as crucial as notes from lectures. Use the Mosbyʼs Physical Ex-
amination Book to review important concepts covered in class. Bring stethoscope, BP cuff etc to lab every
week even if itʼs not always used. The week you need it might be the week you donʼt have it! Review material
covered from previous labs; Teachers tend to ask questions about old material. Take it seriously.

Med 1 is definitely a semester in which you have a sufficient amount of time to

prepare well for exams. I thoroughly enjoyed Med 1 and wish all of you the best of
luck in your classes

By: Jane Alookaran

Med 2

Med 2 Advice
Med 2 is definitely a tough semester to complete. The material covered is not difficult for the most part, but
there is a lot covered in 14 weeks. The key to managing that amount of material is time management. You will
have four classes and you will need to make time to study for each class every day. That might seem like a lot
but studying a little every day is better than the 48-hour stress-fest before the Mini Mondays. I went to class
every day, I attended TA sessions, and I still managed to get about 8 hours of sleep a night – sometimes more. 
Make a plan for the day or the week of all the things you want to accomplish. I was also a part of a study group,
which ensured that I was on top of my material and that if something was confusing I would have help from
those in my group. Below are some specifics for each class and what I found most helpful.

Biochemistry: Lippincott is your new BFF. Read it; make notes on it. I also recommend making notes on
slides, the text or anything else that the professor might think is important. Making the notes is also part of
studying. Flashcards can be helpful too. I also found the BRS Biochemistry useful but only for the Shelf.

Genetics: FLASHCARDS! Make them and use them throughout the semester. Remember there is a cumulative
final at the end, so you need to know everything. Practice questions are helpful if you have access to any. 

Neuroscience: Find the textbook and read it. I know you have enough reading to do this semester, but taking an
hour to read a little Neuro every other day isn’t that bad. 

Physiology: There are no shortcuts in this class. You have to put in the time and effort. I used Guyton and class
notes for the minis and the BRS for the shelf. I also attended the TA sessions and participated in a small group
provided by the school. I found the above resources helpful because they challenged me in different ways. 

Another piece of advice – GO TO CLASS…every day.  Yeah it’s a pain to go

and you’re tired, but attending class can be very useful. I would either read
before the class or follow along with the text while the lecture was going on.
You can only get out of the lecture what you put into it. I also recommend as
many TA sessions as possible – you can’t go to all, so prioritize. Finally, talk
to other former med 2-ers and find out what worked for them. Hope this was
helpful and good luck.

By: Ayesha Phillip

Med 3

Med 3 Advice

It is very difficult to give advice as to the best way to approach this subject, but I can make a few suggestions.
First of all, the book is useful as a reference, but it is not necessary if you attend the lectures. If you have Dr.
Sinclair, what you really need to study are his power point slides. Do your best to pick out the slides he stresses
in class and just focus your efforts on those. Even if the slides and the exams feel difficult, try not to panic;
they are difficult for everyone. Ultimately all I can tell you is to just do your best to grind it out for the three
weeks, know the slides, and hopefully your efforts will pay off.


You do not want to miss class in Microbiology. If you have Dr. Bharati you will find that she puts a lot of effort
into the lectures and is very interested in your success. You do not need a textbook for micro, Dr. Bharati’s
slides cover everything; however if you get one as a reference I would recommend Lippincott. Be sure and
print the slides prior to lecture, because it is difficult to keep up with her lectures without them. The quizzes
will help you stay on top of the material and trust me you need to because there is a lot to memorize. As long
as you follow Dr. Bharati’s direction you will do very well on the Shelf exam. I only studied her slides and I
felt like I knew everything on the shelf. Finally do not miss Dr. Bharati’s Shelf review, as it is incredibly help-
ful. Basically for this class, as long as you do what you’re told you should do very well.

Pathology I

We had Dr. Krishnanand for Pathology I, and he did an excellent job of narrowing down the material. If you
have Dr. Krishnanand, you have to bring the book with you every day in order to keep up with the lectures. Ba-
sically he narrows down the material by guiding you through the chapters and telling you what you need to
read. For the majority of the lectures I did not take notes, I simply followed along with the book and high-
lighted the important pages and paragraphs Dr. Krishnanand referenced. I then took my own notes on the mate-
rial after each lecture. This method worked really well and helped me stay on top of the material. Finally about
a week before each exam Dr. Krishnanand puts out a review sheet with the key topics. Be sure and know this
cold, as it is incredibly helpful. Finally the Q&A review of the pathology text is an excellent resource. If you
can answer the questions in this book you should do well on all of the exams. Other than that just be sure and
go to lecture every day and you should do well.

Behavioral Science

I took Behavioral over the block and the best advice I can give is to get the BRS
book. If you know that book then you should know virtually everything on the
shelf exam. Additionally be very familiar with the chapter covering doctor patient
relationship, this is an incredibly important, incredibly high yield chapter. It is
hands down the most important topic for your shelf examination. Also know the
mood disorders well (depression, mania, etc.) and know the psychotic disorders.
These topics come a close second to doctor patient relationship. Ultimately just
know the BRS before you take the shelf and you will do well. By: Edward Pegg
Med 4

Med 4 Advice

Pathology: For my class this course was taught by Dr. Suneet so I can’t give any advice
regarding the class exams. However, for Shelf I would suggest to review chapters 4, 5
and 6 of Robbins and review Cell Biology as well. Also review the Microbiology because
we had about 15 questions on Microbiology.  

ICM: Know the slides for every teacher. All of the ICM teachers test straight from their
slides and knowing them is really helpful. When you learn the slides, learn to categorize
the diseases and know the differentiating factors of one disease from the other. For in-
stance, know the differences in nodules of Rheumatoid Arthritis from Osteoarthritis. Dr.
Fraser has notes pages in her slides and she also tests from those notes so make sure to
read them. Dr. Manjunath likes to use the First Aid Q&A book so try to do some of those
questions before his exam. For the Shelf know the class slides and the First Aid. Also do
USMLE World questions for the Shelf.  

Pharmacology: Learn Dr. Morcos’s book well; it will be helpful for both class exams as
well as the Shelf. For class exams, know the points that Dr. Morcos mention during his
lectures and do Kaplan questions for practice. Stay for the review after the test because
similar concepts appeared again in our Pharmacology Shelf and seeing them in the re-
view helped in the Shelf.

By: Aisha Waheed

Med 5 - Miami

A n t i g u a a n d Yo u. . .
Antigua is a unique island with much to offer; you just have to know where to look. First you need to close that
textbook, turn off that laptop, and step outside. Take a deep breath and take a look around you. … So what do
you see? Hopefully a blue sky, warm sun, trees swaying in the wind, and if you’re lucky, some goats. But wait,
there’s more:

• 365 beaches. Take your pick. I hear Half Moon Bay is one of the best. Located on the southeast
coast of the island, it is said to have a pink sand beach with an amazing view and great surf.
• English Harbor/Nelsons Dockyard. Located on the southern part of the island. There are some
good restaurants, a historical museum, and a bunch of yachts.
• Sticky Wicket. It's a restaurant and a cricket stadium. What more can you ask for? Located in the
airport roundabout, across from the airport terminal.
• Antigua Rainforest Zip Line Canopy Tour. If you're afraid of heights, then you need to try this.
After you sign a release form they strap on all the protective gear and give you an introduction to
basic zip lining. One hand on the harness, the other on the steel cable above you and away you go.
There is also an optional obstacle course at the end. Those of you with a history of heart problems
might want to go ahead and skip it. Must call ahead for reservations and be sure to ask about their
student discount.
• Devil’s Bridge. Not the easiest place to get to but well worth it. Make sure you bring a camera
and a cell phone with you - a camera to take pictures and a cell phone to call for help when your
friend falls off the bridge. I tried to cross it and didn't make it. … Now some of you may be think-
ing, “How hard can it be?” You’ll see when you get there.
• Shirley Heights. Sunday evenings with live music, grilled food, and a great view. Located on the
s o u t h e r n p a r t o f t h e i s l a n d o v e r l o o k i n g E n g l i s h a n d F a l m o u t h H a r b o r.
• Fruit/Vegetable Market. Open Saturday mornings and closes when they run out of food. Many
vendors selling everything from guava to the infamous black pineapple. The earlier you get there,
the better the pickings. On Market Street in downtown St. John’s across from the bus station.
• Wadadli Cats cruises. A catamaran takes you around the island on a day-long trip to various parts
of the island. It’s good way to see the island from the ocean.
• The Pirates of Antigua and the Black Swan. I heard a rumor going around that someone sank it,
and I always believe rumors at AUA. But if this pirate ship is still afloat, then go aboard for a
smooth evening sail around the harbor. They also do day trips and serve dinner as well as drinks.
• Take a ferry to Barbuda, the sister island of Antigua. Supposedly unspoiled by man/woman with
pink beaches – though they are at their pinkest in the summer months. Takes about 90 minutes
each way. Call ahead for ticket prices and tour packages.
• Take a walk around St. John’s one day and visit the local businesses. There is great shopping for
everything, including home goods, clothing, and books. … You might just find something you like.
• Visit and for a ‘vacation guide’, and
check out their maps of the island to help you get to the above places.
Oh – and one last place you need to visit while in Antigua is the west campus
library. I hear it's the most popular spot on the island for AUA students!

By: Oliver Yi
**This article was reprinted from the January 2009 AUA Pulse** Med 6

Adjusting to those island goggles...

Dear Incoming Med 1 Class,

I’m sure you are overwhelmed right now by your new surround-
ings and situation. Don’t worry. You will adjust. However, I
would like to warn you about a serious epidemic that I guarantee
will spread throughout your class. At the beginning of the semes-
ter, everyone may seem unattractive to you, but let a few months
pass by and that geeky kid with the combover is going to start
looking really fine. All the socially awkward kids turn into major
players and the girl with the buck teeth begins to resemble Angelina Jolie. This illness is known as Is-
land Goggle Syndrome. The prognosis for this malady is poor, so take a few minutes to educate yourself
about this now and you will save yourself from experiencing extreme embarrassment and regret later on.

Signs and symptoms of the disorder include, but are not limited to, the following: blurred vision,
poor judgment skills, memory loss and misinterpretation of body language. For example, you may think
the hot girl from anatomy lab is winking at you, but she actually has Tourrete’s, or maybe you think a
that cute guy from DPS is checking you out when you walk by but later you realize he just has a lazy

There is no known treatment for the disorder as of yet; however

clinical research is underway at undisclosed locations around campus. Do
not let yourself fall prey to this horrible and wretched disease. If you find
yourself or someone you know experiencing the signs or symptoms of
Island Goggle Syndrome, contact a friend back home immediately for a
reality check. Don’t let yourself, or your friends, make foolish decisions
that you would never make if you were back home! By: Esha Patel

**This article was reprinted from the May 2009 AUA Pulse**



“Counseling issues and some

solutions #1”
Counseling Issues and Some Solutions

By James M. Rice, RhD

I have to give credit where credit is due. I was

asked about writing this article a few days ago and I was struggling to come up with a topic. Dr. Ger-
rity mentioned the possibility of writing an article on counseling issues we have seen over the past year
or so as well as solutions or suggestions to avoid or minimize these problems. So, below is one of two
(or possibly three) installments on these counseling issues.  

So, where to start? Over the past 17 months here in Antigua, Dr. Gerrity and I have counseled dozens,
perhaps hundreds of students. While each student has his/her own unique issues and concerns, several
recurring themes appear each semester. In many cases, there is a relatively simple solution which ei-
ther minimizes the problem or avoids it completely. Let’s look at an example.  

One of the common problems we see at University Counseling Services involves students coping with
a family problem. It is a sad reality that, with a population of nearly 1,000 students at AUA, it is inevi-
table that one and possibly several students will have a serious family crisis during the semester. Per-
haps a family member needs a surgical procedure, is seriously ill, or has died. The student is under-
standably torn between the need to complete his/her obligations at AUA, and the need to be home.  

In many cases, the student decides (for many reasons) to stay on island and “tough it out”. The student
chooses not to inform Student Services or University Counseling Services of the family or personal
issue. This is when things start to go wrong. The student is so distracted by these family problems that
s/he is unable to focus or concentrate on medical school. Consequently, the student starts missing
classes and failing exams. Finally, the semester ends and the student fails the class. (S)He then appeals
the grade and finally informs the AUA that the student has been attempting to cope with this family


Unfortunately, these appeals are typically denied. But there is a better way to handle these problems.  

First of all, I respect the fact that many students want to “tough it out”. Understandably, many students
do not want to talk about family issues, including family illnesses or the death of a family member.
And of course they have a right to privacy. But there is a better way to handle these problems, address
the academic issues, and still ensure your family’s privacy. How? 

1. Let us know what is going on. Contact the Associate Dean of Students (Dr. Sanii) or University
Counseling Services and inform them on the nature of the family illness or emergency. This in-
formation will be held in confidence.
2. Let Dr. Sanii and/or the University Counselors guide you. In many cases, we will recommend
that you take a leave of absence (LOA) from the university. This requires the student to fill out
an LOA form which must be approved and signed by Associate Dean of Students, Dr. Sanii.
3. After the LOA is approved, you cannot be penalized for missed exams, labs, etc. A “worst case”
scenario would be for you to receive an Incomplete (“I”) for the course. You can then, in the fu-
ture, make up the missed work and receive your grades.
4. Once the LOA is approved, AUA should be about the last thing you think about. Go home. Fo-
cus on your family issue or emergency. Be there for your family and friends. Allow yourself
the opportunity to grieve your loss, support your family, and allow them to support you.
5. When the family issue or emergency is substantially resolved, come back to AUA. Meet with
Dr. Sanii and your Course Directors to determine what work needs to be made done to complete
the courses.
6. Finally, if you are still struggling with these issues after
your return, please remember that University Counseling
Services may be able to help.
Yes, this strategy may require you to stay an extra semester on
the island. But that is clearly a better option to failing a class,
going on probation, or even dismissal.  

There are good, viable options to “toughing it out”. Help your-

self by letting us help you. 

See you next month.

James M. Rice, RhD
Associate Professor & University


From My Experience...
I transferred to AUA as a second semester student. As a transfer student I didn’t know any one in my
class as most people form friendships during Med 1. However, when I left Antigua, many Med 4s knew me
more than the other students they had been in the class with since Med 1. I am not a very outgoing person; in
fact, during my entire time on the island I never went to a single party or to any club. However, what made me
known to my fellow classmates and to my juniors was my desire to help others. I believe that studying medicine
is a group effort and we can’t isolate ourselves from our peers. We are studying to be physicians and we can’t be
good physicians unless we are willing to help others. The first step in helping others should start with the people
around us; in the case of AUA it should start with our fellow students. By helping those who are around us, we
experience a joy which is irreplaceable. This help could be provided in many different ways. If you are good in
a particular subject then help others in learning that material better. If you are outspoken then learn to stand up
for your fellow students and become involved in student organizations and SGA. However, in this process make
sure that you don’t hurt yourself and always care about your own studies first, as your first goal should always
be to become the best physician you can. Don’t just try to pass an exam but try to learn everything about the
subject, and realize that one of these days you will be responsible for other lives and at that time you will need
all the information to make a sound decision.

Try to learn everything to the best of your abilities and respect those who are spending their time teach-
ing you. We are very blessed to have a very wonderful and caring faculty. Make sure and try your best to learn
from them. Take the time to go to their offices and really learn the material. If you have any confusion don’t
wait until the last minute - go as soon as the question arises in your mind. The teachers are great in answering
questions, in fact the only reason I performed well in my classes was because of the amount of time many of the
teachers spend explaining stuff to me. One of my teachers once drove from North campus to West campus on a
rainy Friday evening to explain the counter current exchange system in renal physiology to me for more than an
hour. Another one of my teachers used to sit down with me before every quiz to test my understanding of the
subject matter and help me organize the material. Don’t study for a grade; study to learn. A teacher once told me
that learning for the sake of knowledge is its own reward. However, from personal experience I can guarantee
you that when you try your best to learn you will also end up with performing well in your classes.


Be respectful toward everyone, whether it is the teachers, the secretaries, the guards or the cleaning la-
dies. During my time on the island, I always heard students complain about how a majority of the secretaries
and staff were unfriendly toward them. However, many of them failed to realize their own attitude towards the
staff. Many times I have witnessed the students being rude to the staff. I was always helped by the staff mainly
because I was always respectful toward them. In fact, I became friends with many of them and still keep in con-
tact. On the day of the Pathology Shelf exam, I was running late. I parked my car at a wrong spot on North
campus, and when the security guard approached me about it I explained my problem and he took my keys and
re-parked my car. He stated that he wouldn’t have done it for anyone else but because I was always so respectful
toward him he did it for me. Remember to be always polite and respectful because every human deserves to be

My favorite professor once said that staying away from negativity is the path to success. Don’t pay at-
tention to the negativity and the gossip. If you hear a statement that worries you, go talk to the appropriate
authority about it. The faculty is not there to mislead us and they provide valuable and correct information. Take
advantage of that information and don’t give any power to those who try to spread chaos. Also if you hear any
statement that you believe is not true then challenge it, find out the truth and inform your fellow students about
it. Take active part in improving the environment of the university because after all, it is your school and you
will be known by AUA. Last but not least, have fun and enjoy your time because it will be over before you
know it and you will miss all the friendships you have formed on the island.

By: Aisha Waheed

Med 5 - Miami