Honesty as Policy


On this post, I wrote about being frustrated with the amount of material I have to cover. An indivdual from SGU (my school) left a comment on it that encapsulates my biggest frustrations with the way this school is packaged and sold to prospective students. It essentially said (as I read it) that I should paint a rosier picture of what studying is like so that people don’t get scared of hard work, become discouraged, and fail at life. My response, while possibly out of proportion, reflected my anger at such dreck.

SGU is not a lemon. It’s a damn good school, one that I loved attending, and one I would recommend and defend. The school should be proud of this, the school should be honest about what it is, and it should be honest with its students (both present and future). My father has been selling cars he fixes for years, and he is always up front about what the car is and isn’t. I’ve learned from watching people respond to him that an honest scratch is worth a hundred dollars of bullshit shine. I believe in this, I try to live by this, and when I wrote the guide to the school I held myself to that standard.

And now I’m selling myself off piece by piece with compromises. I know, I know, this isn’t a principled world and so much can be accomplished in the grey that can’t be done in the black or white, but it still doesn’t sit well with me. The Administration’s approval (so that the guide can be distributed to all incoming students) is coming at the cost of some honesty.

Specifically, the culture of the island. Grenada’s culture was different from my own, the average work ethic is below the manic American standard, and island living means sometimes living without certain amenities. I’ve learned from all of these differences, but when I came to the island I had little warning and I managed to offend my bus driver and a hostess because of it. I wanted to save other people that experience, and so I wrote the School Culture section. When this was veted by people at SGU, it was judged “offensive” and I was told that it had to be removed. I’m not holding a lot of cards here (as the school has no problem not providing this information) and I have more to gain by it being shared with the change than I have to keep it as is.

So that’s where I am, pissed and moaning and giving in. You can see the original here and compare with what’s below. Please, tell me that the differences aren’t important so I can feel better about it.

“The people of Grenada are wonderful. You will make many friends on the island, not only with your peers, but also with the Grenadians that are kind enough to share their island with us. Greeting people is considered basic courtesy and should occur before any business transaction. Not greeting people is a sign of disrespect. Just remember to always smile and wave. Being polite goes a long way.

Med students are a stressed out bunch in general. Med students living in Grenada, without the comforts and conveniences of home can be even more on edge. The school does a pretty good job of trying to eliminate the unnecessary stresses. The administration and Facilities Manager are very receptive to student suggestions. Keep in mind that the internet is not always going to work. Sometimes the washing machines will break. If you have a healthy sense of humor, the stressful things about Grenada can be hilarious

Try to remember that there is no hurry and life will be a lot easier on you.”


2 Responses to Honesty as Policy

  1. Pamela Clarke says:

    Hey Topher, been following the blog for quite a while now (met you in ‘Bama, remember?). Glad to hear that (most) things are going well. Just finishing up the first week of fourth term and am enjoying it, finally getting into some actual “doctor” stuff!

    Sorry I can’t say that the difference aren’t important because I definitely think that they are, going to Grenada was quite a culture shock for me as well, especially being from Canada. I get frustrated on a daily basis when I waiting and waiting to be served somewhere when the employee is talking on the phone to a friend or just plain ignoring me. This is definitely not due to any slight on my part because I always use greetings and courtesies (me being the polite Canadian that I am). Sometimes the workers down here are just “on a break” and they’ll get to you when they are good and ready. I must say though that a lot of the places on campus and off-campus that the students frequent usually are a little bit as far as service time goes.

    I have to say that the most difficult part of my adjustment was the accent as you described. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked people to repeat themselves (at least twice), only to smile and nod my head like I’ve understood them when they’ve repeated the same thing to me on the third time around. The Caribbean accent was one that I had never been exposed to before and I have a very hard time with it, no eavesdropping on conversations for me!

    Major problems with washing machines this semester but we’ve got internet! I’m in N building and they’ve got us all hooked up with ethernet that runs most of the time. Good luck on Step 1 and beyond! Cheers, Pam

  2. jarrad says:

    Sorry to hear they didn’t like what you originally wrote. It’s my opinion that people who get upset by the truth need to be exposed to it more often.

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