Thursday, February 21, 2013

Round Three...

I fell in love with school #3. I loved everything about it - from the campus, to the hospitals, to the area, to the qualities in the student body and faculty. I enjoyed being there, and would really enjoy going there. The fit is perfect for me...I only hope that my interviewers think that too and convey that to the Ad-Coms.

So I feel kind of guilty, conflicted, and very much anxious about the letter I received when I came home from my flight. I was accepted into an institution. One that I liked. One that also had a pretty happy student body and committed faculty. One that I was decidedly agreeable on attending, if given the chance...Except now I have my eyes on something else, and I feel guilty in that I'm being greedy. I spend all this time and energy thinking, "I just need to get into one, just anywhere is fine." But that's clearly not the case. I kind of wish I could be ecstatic about this, while still being hopeful about another school. I feel guilty because I'm not jumping for joy and cartwheeling down the hallway.

I'm so weird.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Round two.

You meet some interesting people at interviews. I didn't know this. That we would have opportunities to mingle and talk with people. I've started to wonder whether I would want certain people as my classmate or doctor. People say interesting things that amused or irritated me in certain ways...Usually the ones that irritated me were statements that made me think, "wait....are you joking..? Or is this how you really think?" I'll definitely pocket some of the stories for a better day. You'd think that I would be too focused on my interview to people-watch, but people-watching is easy.

My traveling group was different from my interviewing sub-group. My traveling group was just composed of the four of us who happened to use the same shuttle service, so we were transported as a group. We were dropped off at the airport at the same time, so we decided to have a meal and get a round of drinks to unwind at the airport. Best way to unwind, in my opinion.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Interview Prep

I was thinking maybe I should talk about how I am preparing for interviews 'cuz like, maybe someone wants to know. Or something.

I was also thinking about how I probably have bills due soon, but haven't even glanced at them. Sad face.

It helps to have an idea of what I need to prep for (besides knowing your own app from front to back), so I started with University of Colorado's 100 Medical School Interview Practice Questions. I don't know how frequently these questions come up, but when I first started practicing interviews, I didn't have any scheduled, so this was the only thing I had to work on. I mean, there are obvious ones like "why doctor" that everyone should probably know the answer to, just in case. Once I knew where I would be interviewing, I started looking at SDN's Interview Feedback page to figure out what questions other people received.

I collaborated with a friend who had also been through the interview process, and it helped me a lot to have his input in framing and presenting my responses. His interviews were going on in October/November, so that's kind of when I started doing my interview prep, although I admit I was kind of half-assing it at that point in time. It was good to have someone help me brainstorm, though. I know my app well, and all the things I've done in my prior experiences, but it was good to have someone remind me to tie certain examples back to medicine, so I'm not just rambling about random stories.

I'm currently meeting my friend for about 2-2.5 hours in the days preceding each interview.

I think working in non-profit really helped me in the long run. Not so much for public speaking per se, but in being comfortable talking to strangers about important things without rambling. I mingled with a lot of local legislators, business leaders and hospital-admin types. I hated mingling, but it taught me how to be a proactive listener and pretend to be enthusiastic about being at this event, even if I didn't want to.

I've also elected to write down all my responses for standard questions like "why medicine, tell me about your experiences in x,y,z, why this school, and etc." It works for me because how I write, how I speak and how I think are pretty similar, so I don't think my responses sound too canned. My problem is that I tend to ramble, and present too many details in anecdotes that are not necessary for my key points, so writing things down reminds me to keep moving things along when I talk.

I have one multiple, mini-interview style interview. Kinda nervous about it. My only hope is that, if I get a situation where I have to role-play a scenario with an actor, I don't get fed up and yell "JUST SUCK IT UP!" as I do with my students. To be fair, my students complain about really petty things like "waaaah so-and-so is breathing on me!" (to a kid 2 feet away).

Since I'm talking about interviews, I'll say that I don't claim to be an expert on the process. These steps just help me tackle the process in a way that keeps me sane and reduces the likelihood of me devolving into a panicking mess in an actual interview.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Late Interview Season

I admit it, I lost the motivation to blog for a while.
Just wanted to get my secondaries in (did that).
Then I had to complete my D.O. secondaries (did that too).
The end of last year was just a blur. I have no memory of *anything.*

"Turned down from an interview-invite? When did I apply here???"

I had given up on getting interviews. I was in a really bad zone of negativity and kept away from most people beyond superficial online correspondence with friends via Facebook. And then one interview invite drifted in at the end of December for late February. Then another in January, and now all of a sudden I have 5 scheduled this month.

A really long, long-distance-relationship came to an end at the beginning of the year. At that time, I kept thinking I should be upset about it, and I was to a certain extent, but then I realized that I had already given up on making things work. And then my interview invites started to flow in, and I had other things to worry about, like travel arrangements and preparing for interviews. That's probably one reason why things would have never worked out between us. The fact that I can push aside personal issues to focus on the task at hand without thinking about it too much. Another reason is perhaps that, outside of professional settings, I'm not good at compromising.

I had my first interview this past Monday at a DO school. I left with a great impression of the school and the environment. I left with the sense that I did okay, despite this being my first interview, despite it being a group interview. I was able to think on my feet, not ramble too much, and stick to my points, even if I didn't respond to follow-up questions as smoothly or concisely as I would have wanted. They really grilled me about the DO vs. MD route, even though I wasn't the only one who had not shadowed a DO. It wasn't a scenario I was unprepared for, but some of the wording of their questions threw me off and might have made me second guess myself, so next time I'll have to keep that in mind.

Afterwards, they kept me back to ask me two questions, which was scary. They asked why I decided to retake the MCAT, despite having a good score (Honestly, I never considered the percentile measure..only that I wanted to do better), and presented a scenario. Possibly to gauge my leadership ability in responding to a conflict. It wasn't tough per se. I remembered to pause and think about my answer, but I did leave thinking, "Dammit! I should have said that toooooo."

I also discovered one of my interviewers, the anatomy instructor, had observed an bypass surgery with the same cardiothoracic surgeon that I had observed. I was really excited to talk about that, because it was such an awesome thing to watch, and found out that my interviewer was actually able to scrub in. I'm glad I wasn't the only person to have felt giddy and excited during (and even after) that experience.

I'm happy to have made it this far, whatever happens. Trying not to think about my hemorrhaging wallet too much. Whatever happens, I've booked a 5-day vacation for myself over 4th of July weekend to visit Austin, Texas and it will be an opportunity to celebrate or get over the whole thing.