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Archive for the ‘interviews’ Category

2 Down, 1 to Go…

In applying to med school, interviews, Rants on October 6, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Two interviews down and one more to go before I sink into the silent abyss awaiting a new interview invite.  Yikes.  I liked having my first interviews spread about 1.5 weeks apart.  It kept me on my toes!  I prepped incredibly hard for the first one, then having another one so close to it made me stay on that elevated state of being, pumped up on epinephrine and endorphins.  The same thing is going on now.  I admit, my anxiety, and consequently, energy level has slightly declined since my first interview, however, I’m still up in that realm.  What’s going to happen when I finish my last scheduled interview next Tuesday???  Will I be able to motivate myself to stay up-to-date with the health care reform debate or the latest medical developments?  What if I don’t get another interview until January?!?  That’s a good 3-4 months away… Will my anxiety level ratchet back up?  Will I lose some of my interviewing “finesse” I have been refining??  Will I be a hot-nervous wreck , checking my e-mail roughly 100x a day?!?  

Now, that last one I can answer – YES!  I know me, and I know how I’ve already been this application cycle – frantically checking both email accounts (in case an email accidentally gets sent to an old email address) hourly.  smh.  Patience is not my strongest point, but I do believe God is using this time to help me develop some of it.  I honestly don’t know how I’d do sitting for the next few months without hearing a word from anyone.  To be quite honest, after a few weeks, I’d probably pick up the phone and give one school in particular a ring to see what exactly is going on – not quite sure what I’d say, but I do have some words for them…  Otherwise, I guess I’d start working on update letters, as well as letters of interest.

Even in this crazy process where there seems to be ample amounts of quiet time, don’t be mistaken – there is no such thing as down time.  If SDN has taught me one thing, it’s this – anytime you’re sitting back relaxing, chilling, cooling out, or just breathing, there is some crazy neurotic, desperate pre-med out there doing whatever they can to give their application a little bit of an edge.  People are out there volunteering hours they don’t have, doing activities they don’t want to do just to add an additional 40 hours of service (like that will really stack up against applications with 100s of hours of service over years…eh, let them have false hope), sucking up to family friends who happen to be doctors for an additional letter of recommendation to add to their file, etc.  In sum, there are some out there constantly doing.the.most. around the clock.  Now, do I really think this will pay off for them?  Eh, probably for some of them.  I like to think that AdComs can see thru the b.s., but experience has showed me this type of nonsense works sometimes.  Anywho, as annoying as these people are (often also the most verbal of the SDN gang), they keep me on my toes.  They remind me that there is never a time to slack off or grow comfortable – someone is always there, positioned to take your seat!  So, to the obnoxious SDNers that keep typing away nonsense online, trying to make others as paranoid and anxious as you, I say THANK YOU! Mwah!

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Think and Feel vs. Know

In applying to med school, interviews on September 28, 2009 at 5:59 pm

So, I just finished my first interview last Monday, and I must say it went pretty well (or at least that’s what I think).  In retrospect, I would admit that I might have slightly overstudied, however, I think that overstudying helped me feel properly prepared for any question that might be thrown my way.  For instance,  I thoroughly investigated various aspects of health care reform, from the history of health care in the US to the role of insurance industries and lobbyists in keeping the discussion of reform off the table.  Was I specifically asked for my views on health care in the US? No.  Did the topic of health care come up in conversation?  Yes.  Consequently, I was able to integrate the research I had done to make an informed, backed-up statement about…however brief it might have been.

I have two more interviews scheduled in the next two weeks and I’m trying my best to not let this first interview negatively affect my upcoming ones.  I was so nervous and confused about what would happen at my first interview that it drove me to do intense research and preparation.  However, now that it is over and I absolutely loved the school and I think I have a good chance of receiving an acceptance offer come October 15th (keeping fingers crossed), I find it ridiculously hard to force myself to study and prepare for the next ones.  I really don’t think it helps that I fell in love with the school and I honestly couldn’t picture a medical school that will help mold me into the type of physician I desire to be – it had so many unique opportunities available and such a loving and happy and unstressed student body and a wonderfully caring administration.  It is definitely my top choice now and any school I subsequently am blessed to interview at will be stacked up again it.

While it’s nice to know that I have potentially secured a spot at a school I love, it makes it difficult taking preparation for other schools seriously.  I am trying my best.  I do feel that it is important to make a truly informed decision, especially on something as big as medical school selection.  In order to accomplish this, it means I need to put my best foot forward for all schools and to act as if each is the only school I am being considered at.  Easier said than done.

What also isn’t helping is that the interview at this school was extremely laid back.  I felt like they were truly just trying to get to know who I am as a person, what my interests are, and assessing how well I liked the area and would fit in with their community.  In sum, it was a lovely, relaxing experience.  But, I’m no fool.  I know that not every med school interview is going to be laid back and solely focused on me.  I anticipate some will focus on (or at least touch upon) topics such as health care reform, issues in medical ethics, and current events.  Do I feel prepared for such a conversation?  As of yet, I’m not sure.  I do feel that I have a base understanding of such things, but I still don’t feel thoroughly prepared to engage in discourse on such subject matters.  But, will I ever feel ready?  My guess is no.  My guess is that I will never know exactly where I stand on anything.  I will never know every aspect of every feasible issue – I am only human and the sea of information (usually overwhelming in quantity and saturated with bias) is easy to drown in.  I do feel that I can hold a conversation well and that I have enough info crammed in my head to convincingly support my opinions.  There goes that 4-letter F-word again: feel.  Ah, feelings…can make you believe you’re sitting pretty on cloud 9, when reality says you’re slowly sinking down toward hades. lol. Or, vice versa for my optimists.

Guess I better step my game back up with this interview prep thing before my feelings of security lead me down a deceptive, self-assured path heading straight towards rejections and waitlists.  Yikes.  Now there’s a motivating image.  Time to get to it!

Interview Preparation

In applying to med school, interviews on September 2, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Perhaps it’s just me kickin’ it into full anal-retentive pre-med gear, but between having a full-time job and trying to adequately prep for upcoming interviews, I am at a complete loss for free time.  To be fair, I don’t think it helps that I telecommute.  You see, when you work in a typical office, you know that your work day will start around 9am and end around 5pm.  Pretty straightforward.  Telecommuting is the complete opposite for me.  First, I am not a morning person unless I have to be.  Since I must get 8 hours of work in each day, it doesn’t matter if those 8 are from 9am-5pm, noon – 8pm, or from 11am – 10pm stretched out with little breaks strewn all throughout my day.  Give you one guess which of those three examples best describes my typical workday.  If you guessed the latter, give yourself a treat.

Many of those mini-breaks consist of me checking twitter, facebook, SDN, and my email (I’ve taken a step back from MDapplicants for a while!).  I use Barnes & Noble as my virtual office, just leading to even more distractions (ranging from the cute baby across from me, to the repulsive man roaming through the aisles, to the numerous books I can delve into when the words on my screen start swimming together in a sea of blur).  I try to stop work and switch to interview prep around 7pm-ish, which leaves me ~ 3 hours per evening to research and prep.  Except when mom calls and needs something picked up from Whole Foods (which closes at 10pm), thus cutting my time short – oh, this happens daily.

So, what am I studying?  I’ve read through all the typical books already: Barron’s, the US News and World Report’s, The Princeton Review’s, and Kaplan’s, as well as MD Rx and MD Confidential.  From these, I’ve generated a list of about 100 different questions that could possibly be asked ranging from personal questions, to academic questions, to questions in medical ethics, and current event topics. [In addition to these questions, I’ve found that the SDN site with interview feedback by school is very helpful in anticipating which schools as which questions]  Creating this list has been sobering.  I thought I knew myself and my intentions well, and I also felt I was pretty up-to-date with current events.  This list, however, has shown me just how little I know, or if I do know it, how poorly I am right now at effectively and efficiently wording my thoughts on such matters.  Subsequently, I’m giving myself crash courses in topics such as the history of the US health care system, managed care, and health care reform.

Some may think I’m overdoing it – and perhaps I am.  But, I would much rather be over-prepared and think the interview was a breeze, than to be under-prepared and receive a prompt dismissal via a rejection letter/email.

Everyone encourages me to just be yourself.  That’s obvious.  Who else am I going to be?  While I don’t want any rejections, if a school rejects me, I’d much rather them reject me than a false representation of me.  At least that way I know that I just wasn’t a good match for the school, not that I could have been a great match for the school, but since I was trying to “put on airs” and impress them the facade was rejected.

Alright, this has been a good study break.  Back to the books!

My First Interview Invite!!!

In applying to med school, interviews on August 29, 2009 at 11:06 pm

I’ve been meaning to post prior to this, but I’ve been uber busy with my new job and getting acclimated to my new routine.  However, I do have some great news!  This past Thursday, I received my first interview invite!! I actually received two that day, but found out about the second one much later.  Guess which school, of all the schools I’ve applied to, heard my cry?  Tulane! Waaaay down in New Orleans.  Ha.  If you all knew how much of a Northern girl I am, you’d probably chuckle at the thought of me applying to Tulane.  But, as I previously stated (or did I?), I thoroughly researched the programs at every single US accredited medical school and selected the programs I felt were most aligned with my personality, learning style, and career goals.  As it just so happens, Tulane aligned rather well with those items.  Plus, I know it’s the South, but New Orleans is such a unique city.  I’ve never been, but at least in my mind, I picture it a culturally rich town full or character…lol  This coming in the wake of the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (shame how devastated some of the area still is…thank you, George Dubbya and FEMA)  Granted, as a friend put it, I’ll need some intense A/C and a tazzer, but I think I could handle it.  So begins the intense preparation for the interview…

To all the anxious pre-meds that might ever read this, either now or in the future – nothing will decrease your anxiety during this process like the receipt of an interview invite.  I was such a wreck before this invite: compulsively checking my e-mail and med school status pages.  After I got the first invite (which I got while doing work in Barnes & Noble, causing me to silently wig-out for a good 30sec…lol), I immediately stopped checking my inbox.  In fact, had I not been on SDN that day, and been tipped off that my second invite school (Drexel) was posting invites on-line, I probably still wouldn’t know I had an interview there!  It’s like an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  I know this isn’t it, and that I must put a lot of work into these interviews, but it feels nice to know I actually have a shot.  I’m not naive.  I know that right after the interviews, the anxiety is probably going to shoot right back up until I hear whether I got hit with the acceptance, waitlist, or rejection.  But, for now, I’m sitting on Cloud 9!  Shoot, I even got rejected from Georgetown the next day (imo, their loss, not mine – it’s expensive too!) and hardly batted an eye.  I’m not going to lie, the first rejection stings a little, but having an interview invite or two to soften the blow is rather nice 🙂

Next up: finding a summer skirt suit for interviews and prepping for the multitude of potential interview questions!  I’m pumped.

Stay blessed everyone!