Episode 21: RUSM Canadian Student Association
The Canadian Student Association at Ross Medd creates a home-away-from-home, supporting Canadian students, and connecting them through events, shared values, and experiences. Prime Minister and Secretary of the organization, Future doctors Radhika Bassi and Gurjot Ravi share their experiences as current students.
Milena Garcia: Welcome back future Rossies. Thanks for joining us again. In this episode we're going to be talking about the Canadian Student Association and with me here today are Radhika Bassi, Madam Prime Minister and Gurjot Ravi, the Secretary. Ladies, thank you for joining us. Let's take a moment to have you introduce yourselves.
Radhika Bassi: Thank you for having us. Hi, my name is Radhika Bassi. I'm a current five CS students here at Ross and I'm 25 years old and serve as Prime Minister for the Canadian Student Association.
I graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2017 with a double major in medical sciences and biology and before starting Ross. I actually took a year off where I worked as a research assistant at a neuro psych clinic at Toronto Western Hospital.
Milena Garcia: Good job.
Gurjot Ravi: Hi, my name is Ravi, I'm 23 and I'm from Mississauga Ontario. I'm currently the secretary and I graduated from Queens University with a bachelor's in life science and I'm currently in my third semester year Ross.
Milena Garcia: And how is the program going for you.
Gurjot Ravi: The program is going really well. Actually, it is tough. And it's a lot of work, but I found that Queens did prepare me well content wise. I didn't realize how big of a Canadian community there was until I got to the island. And the professors are always willing to help. Whether like that be over the phone or whether they do it by email and stuff like that. And that was a huge switch from undergrad, which I really, really liked. I just met so many great people that they're just a great support system.
Radhika Bassi: Yeah, to be honest. It was a huge adjustment from undergrad, that's for sure. In first semester, we were literally learning one semesters’ worth of material in a week. Which could get overwhelming at times and it did get overwhelming but however the semesters went on I got used to the fast paced environment and slowly settled in. And now in my fifth semester, although the material is more complicated because you're learning things like path, it just seems like a breeze because I've gotten better at figuring out what is high yield and better utilize my resources as well as now, I'm more familiar with the style of questions the professors asked. So that's always a positive
The RUSM Canadian Student Association
Milena Garcia: So let's talk about the Canadian Student Association. I want to give you a chance to highlight what it does, what is it.
Gurjot Ravi: It's a group on campus that is for Canadian students, and we’re basically a home-away-from-home kind of situation. We're the first line of questions and answers for our Canadian students. Because it is an American school, things are kind of hard to find. So we give some financial aid advice, whatever information we have, we kind of help with that. We also help with information for visas and clerkships Because that information is a little bit harder to find. So we're basically just a huge support group for their Canadian students
Radhika Bassi: Yeah, like we just said, we're essentially we have essentially created an environment for Canadians to share mutual goals. Like for instance, many of our Canadians are the Canadian students. They do wish to go back and practice in Canada, whether it be post residency or during residency and although the US is our neighbor, there's a vast cultural difference and differences in the way we do, and we say things. For instance, our healthcare systems are completely different. It's like culture shock. It's nice having a group of people, or a group of students around you that share your struggles. For instance, there's times when I have to learn US geography to answer exam questions.
Radhika Bassi: That gets tough and students that share your likes, and your dislikes, and just the way of doing things. Essentially, it's become like our little family.
Milena Garcia: Who knew and you thought you're going to medical school.
Radhika Bassi: Right, yeah. You're also having to learn the world. Geography
What does the Canadian Student Association do?
Milena Garcia: That's great. Well, what kind of events does the Canadian Student Association host?
Radhika Bassi: So we actually host a range of events, like in the past we have projected hockey games, the playoff games at the covertly patio. We're not only Canadians, but it's nice seeing Americans also coming on to cheer on their teams. We often invite alumni back to speak on the process of obtaining residency, both in Canada and the states as well as how they did their electives and Canada, and usually during our Gen Y meeting we have protein night where we offer Americans the chance to indulge in our culture. We celebrate Canadian holidays together like we have barbecues for Canada Day or we host Thanksgiving dinners. We also invite recent students who are in their Step One to speak on their experience and give Canadians, not just Canadians-Americans as well as tips on how to do well. As well, we did run a fundraiser through our merchandise where we were able to raise money for First Nations NGO back here in Canada. So we do get back to the community.
Milena Garcia: Nice. Interesting. Now I heard you were able to do some rotations back in elective rotations back in Canada. Can you talk a little bit more about that please?
Radhika Bassi: Yes, so many of the students are actually interested in doing electives during their fourth year after their courses in the States. In Canada, in order to gain experience as well as start building connections. So some schools back here. They are lottery base so you essentially have to apply and pray that you get selected in order for you to schedule electives here. But there are other schools where it is application based only, so its first come, first serve. Additionally, only certain electives at certain schools are allowed to be taken by img students, but you have to talk with their clinical advisor and they help you work through your timeline and how to go through that whole process.
Milena Garcia: Thanks for sharing. That's really interesting, important information for future Rossies from Canada to know. Now, speaking of future Rossies. He's from Canada. Gurjot, why Ross, what brought you to our school? I have a cousin who actually graduated from med at Ross and I found out the school through him, and he said that there was a great reputation. A lot of kids when he was there he met a lot of the med students and said that all the specialties that they really wanted to go into they ended up matching into. So the reputation is great, and the school teaches you well. And that was a huge factor for me to pick the school.
Milena Garcia: Radhika. What about you?
Radhika Bassi: Likewise, I have had a couple family, friends, who did go here and we had nothing but good things to say about Ross. The reputation was great. The step pass rate is great and they felt that Ross really prepares you for your clinical as well as passing your Step one.
Milena Garcia: And since January of 2019 our campuses are now located in Barbados. So that is the new campus. I want to ask you both for any kind of advice that you have for our perspective, the future Aussies from Canada. Gurjot, let's start with you.
Gurjot Ravi: I have a couple and I wish I knew these before. Honestly, try your best to be adaptable. Moving to another country is super hard and starting a brand new journey like medical school as well, it's not an easy feat. But if you keep an open mind, you'll be more successful and both having a good time and in school. Take breaks. I think breaks are so, so important. Burnout is real. So if you're feeling like an off day. You need to take a day off. Take it off. You'll perform so much better. And you'll thank yourself because you need to stay mentally sane and also reward yourself. Barbados has beautiful, beautiful beaches, so you might as well. The days that you have off after your exam, go to the beach and make friends. You can't do med school alone and there's no need to do it alone. So you might as well support each other, help each other. The Ross community is amazing because they do make you feel like a family.
Milena Garcia: Radhika. What about you, do you have any advice on how to be successful in medical school for our future Rossies?
Radhika Bassi: Yeah, of course. So I always believe that, in order to succeed, you need to acknowledge that medicine is a marathon. It's not a race. You're not trying to compete with anyone but yourself so never compare yourself to others. It does get mentally draining because of the amount of information you're taking in, and there are times that you're not going to perform as well as you want to, but don't let that stop you and discourage you. Don't be afraid to ask for help. There's ATL, there's professors, upper semester students and essentially your colleagues are more than willing to help you out. We're all in this together at the end of the day. And if you don't take time for yourself to care for yourself, how are you going to care for other people in the future? So I'm just going to repeat what she said. Take days off if you really, really need to. Burnout is real. Now in my fifth semester, there are times when I'm like I should have taken more time off in the beginning.
Radhika Bassi: But you realize as you go along that time for yourself is vital for success. Yeah, adequate sleep and build a routine, where you're able to socialize and join clubs. At the end of the day, just have fun with medicine. It's a beautiful journey. Everyone has their own struggles. There's going to be days when you feel like the weight of the world is going down on you, but have fun with it. And if you have fun with it, studying won't feel like a chore.
Milena Garcia: Well, I certainly appreciate both of you donating your time to talk a little bit more about the Canadian Student Association. You actually brought up even more interesting topics even outside of the Canadian Student Association, such as getting help in medical school, you brought up the ATL the academy for teaching and learning for everyone listening. We did an entire podcast on the ATL, so also check it out. You talked about burnout in medicine, we did a podcast on burnout, because it is so important to have this self care, to have the rest, to go to sleep, sometime, right? And you also brought up other student organizations and clubs and activities. We had the Joslin mayor come in as a guest, all sorts of talk about the different student organizations that are available. So thank you for the free plugs for all the other podcasts and certainly most appreciative of your time to highlight The Canadian Student Association. One of the biggest clubs we have on campus and I know you're very active, you've been very active for many years. So thank you for taking your time. Thank you both. Good luck. We're here wishing you continued success.
Gurjot Ravi: Thank you for having us.