Posts Tagged ‘interview’

This past Friday I had an interview for the med school at my current university. Apparently their interview format intimidates a lot of candidates….which makes me feel slightly guilty for saying that I utterly enjoy the day.

It started with the standards: meet the other interviewees, hear from some person in the admissions department, hear from the curriculum director, hear from a financial aid person. All these dutiful pre-med students take notes throughout the presentations. I was honestly the only one (of 15) who took absolutely no notes. Why? Everything they told us was also included in a packet of papers they gave us. And I sat through them all last year. And, since I am there every single day, it is no problem to simply stop in and ask whatever questions I have (they are very good about that sort of thing).

Then the group split: half went to interviews and half had a case-based learning session. I started with the case-base learning (CBL).

How to describe CBL? Well, it’s basically taking all the facts you would get during a “real” medical case, making a differential diagnosis, discussing your next move, and coming up with a final diagnosis. In the actual curriculum one case is spread across 5-6 weeks, while in the interview we get through most of a case in an hour. The case is split up across approximately 10 pages. Each page has a snippet of information (i.e. chief complaint, medical hx, social hx). One page is read at a time and after each page the group does the following: a) discusses the most pertinent details from that page b)creates of list of all the possible differential diagnoses c) creates of list of questions or further information they would like about the case. In actual medical school the students would do two pages or so and then break for a week with “learning topics.” An example of a learning topic would be to research possible causes of low blood calcium.

Decision: I like case-based learning.

Then…the interview. The U- does their interviews in a slightly different manner from other schools. It is a “blind interview,” meaning that the interviewers know nothing about you except your name and your undergraduate school–they haven’t seen any part of your file. The interview itself is split into two distinct sections: structured and unstructured.

Structured–This section consists of three standard questions asked of every candidate. The interviewers are instructed to not respond to your answers (apparently they have researched this and discovered that allowing them to respond often leads to follow-up questions that get off topic and prevents them from getting all the information they really need). Many people find this to be intimidating because the interviewers simply sit there and occasionally nod or take notes while you just talk. I could honestly take it or leave it. One question is always an “ethical” question with no right/wrong answer. Strangely enough it was exactly the same question I answered last year. Someone asked me (since I was rejected last year) if I changed my answer…of course not, it’s what I believe and I’m sticking with it. I will not lie about my values just to get a spot in a particular school.

Unstructured: My favorite part! It’s just a free-form talk session with the interviewers. This is when they can ask the follow-up questions, satisfy the other burning┬ácuriosities, or simply have a discussion. I love talking about medical stuff (well, actually I just love talking in general). So I think having full access to talk about medicine with two MDs is like a dream come true. Apparently this also freaks out people because there is no defined structure. Apparently most medical school candidates are freaked out over everything.

This was followed by lunch and a tour with a medical student. The tour was interesting. It was a with an M1. M1s don’t spend any time in the hospital and don’t have many (if any) classes in the actual medical education building. However, as a public health student all my classes are either in the hospital or the med education building. And working in the hospital….well, let’s just say I’ve spent a lot of time there and am getting rather proficient at navigating the 64 miles of hallways in the building. In fact, the med student asked me to comment on the health science campus and schools at times. And in the hospital…he was quite interested in the little tidbits and details I could add.

All-in-all it was a good day. And I received an email tonight that my final recommendation letter was received. So by tomorrow or Friday the U- will have it downloaded on their servers and my application will be complete and ready for review by the full admissions committee!

And it’s back to the waiting game…

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I am so cold. Always. My apartment is freezing. The thermostat is set at 62. I could turn it, but I’m just as cold when it’s set to 68, so I figure that I might as well save myself the money and contribute a little less to global warming by keeping it low. My toes and fingers are like ice all the time.
I bought an electric blanket because it’s the only way I can sleep at night, I’m so cold.Even turned up all the way (which is rather hot), My hands and feet remain cold. I’m always reminded of the permafrost on tundra. Only the top 6 feet thaw in the summertime; everything beneath remains frozen solid. My fingers are the same–a residual chill resides in them even through the sweltering weeks of July and August. I wear gloves to bed year-round and the summer is the only time of year where they manage to help my hands reach normal body temperature. Right now I have a 50-lb Zephyr sprawled on top of me. He’s warm, however it has the unfortunate drawback of being incredibly uncomfortable as I am pinned to the futon and cannot move.

On the school side of things…Only 8 days of classes left. One paper, one test, one concert, one recital, one lab, one quiz, one homework assignment, one unbearable Women’s Studies lecture. Whew. Then finals week with four exams, but no classes. Still waiting on med schools. No word yet from Iowa regarding my interview and three other schools that haven’t finished the initial review of my file. I hate waiting. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had something to still do with the process, but it’s all out of my hands now. Out of my cold, cold hands.


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