SGU Guides

In December of 2006, “Welcome to Grenada, A Student’s Guide for Students” went live. It represents the best of what I have to offer in terms of humor and advice about going to school in the Caribbean (specifically at St. George’s University). Some of the things I have written are too narrow to be included in it so I am listing them here. I hope you find these helpful as addendums to the larger guide.


  • The Mathematics of Packing, my take on the unique problems that SGU students face both when traveling to and from the islands with a weight limit. What should stay and what should go?
  • Bet a Beer on It, one of the most useful things I ever did to keep me motivated when studying was wearing me thin.
  • Black Belt in Notejitsu, because you’re a professional student now (let that sink in) and you need to become expert at something this central to your future. I also think that Study Guides and Resources is worth a visit.
  • Should I Quit Medical School, because almost everyone wonders at some point.
  • BSCE I, the first test that ranks you against your class (the BSCE II and USMLE follow). These are a few of my thoughts on why (even though your score is kept in-house and doesn’t really matter) I took it seriously.
  • Pancakes Every Morning is my take on the old medschool analogy of “taking a sip from a firehose.”
  • We’re Both Crazy is about one of my favorite random Anatomy memories and what it takes to just let things slide.
  • Phlebotomists R Us. In 4th term, everyone is pulled into the Path Lab for a piss-poor instructional video on how to draw blood followed by your classmates doing a piss-poor job of drawing your blood. Later, you get to see some perfectly graphic vidoes of male and female pelvic exams. Enjoy!
  • If you’re thinking about persuing research while at SGU, there are a few doors that open. Wednesday Afternoon, I got to see some amazing anatomy that my classmates missed. That summer I got to go to a conference and give My First Speech and later went to Alabama to dissect a fresh cadaver. It was awesome.


  • La Soufriere is the volcano of St. Vincent and hiking it is one of the perks of going to school in the Caribbean.
  • Is This Really Happening? This was a Clinical Skills lecture that stopped just short.
  • An “A” I Didn’t Earn is about both the lowered cut-offs in St. Vincent (80% is close to an A in both Pharm and Pathophys) and a comparison between the demands of SGU’s ABCF system against the P/F system in the United States.
  • Out of a Book on Onto the Roof is about the beginning of burnout at the end of the second year and wondering what it really takes to do well on these tests.


In St. Vincent, you will spend around 40-50 hours in the hospital and for many it’s a shock. These are a few posts about getting used to the new settings.

  • The Old Man is my snapshot of what it’s like to go to school in St. Vincent and work in the hospitals for the first time. It’s a little artsy.
  • The Bell Curve, because not every good physician is a good teacher.
  • Silverback, MD. Sometimes it’s about establishing dominance.

7 Responses to SGU Guides

  1. Brady says:

    Hey Topher!

    Hope all is going well in St. Vincent! I know that you’re the expert w/ SGU….We are wondering which books we’re going to need for 5th/6th term. I knew you would be the person to ask.

    Thanks for keeping us informed w/ your blog. We love to read it!

    Sincerely, Brady Bradshaw and Beth Lambert

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  5. Victoria A. Vargas says:

    I went to a conference and am being “rushed” by SGU. I am so tempted. I hope to match into a residency in psychiatry. I would like to go there and do post bacc. The site I frequent told me this: “Don’t fall for it. It’s still the Caribbean and “word on the street” is that residency positions are going to get really tight in 2017. I have good friends who’ve gone to Ross and SGU and neither wanted IM but that is what they matched into AFTER scrambling. They both told me that once on the island it’s every man/woman for themselves.

    They do a great job of wooing students but in the end the MO for the Caribbean is to admit a bunch of students, let the cream rise to the top, and not care about the rest. It’s a huge money making machine, run by the debt incurred by many a med student who never graduated.

    Ask them how many students who matriculate per class do NOT graduate. Look into what specialties they do match into and then look for how many do NOT match.

    Four years ago I didn’t see a problem but unless a glut of residencies open up in the next four years there are many Carib graduates that are going to have a very expensive degree with no where to go.

    It’s a sales pitch. Caveat emptor.”

    I went to a SGU webinar and was told 7% never graduate…..I am very, bright, Master’s in Social Work, practicing clinician for over 18 years. Dying to become a psychiatrist. I really want to make the right choice. I am just so DRAWN to SGU….I don’t know what to do….I need frank talk and frank advice…

    Victoria A. Vargas, LCSW-R, LCSW-C

  6. chandana2396 says:

    Hello, I got accepted to a normal undergrad university in the US, but i’d really like to do medicine. Do you think its worth skipping out on the opportunity in the US, to do medicine quickly in the Grenada?

    • Dboy says:

      A little late, but probably. You will likely end up a slightly less well rounded person but those 4 years in undergrad won’t get you a job you like. I’m studying for my STEP 1 in March now in Grenada, I am 28 and on my second career; I envy the younger students but don’t regret my path to get where I am now. Take that for what it is worth.

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