Hi Readers, I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the holidays. I’ve been having a great “vacation” since the middle of November. I’ve spent most of my time visiting different places around the country while going on interviews.
Before I continue, I ask that you please take a moment to pray for the many victims and their families who have lost their lives in 2012. Unfortunately, natural disasters, train accidents, shootings, and cancer are only some of a few events that led to unexpected deaths last year. Also, we should take a moment to be thankful for what we do have in our lives because no matter how bad things may seem, there will always be someone somewhere who has it worse. As students, it is easy to complain about how hard we work, but we really are lucky. We are lucky to have access to education and not fear punishment for studying. Anyway, this is probably easier for me to say as a 4th year medical student. During the past few weeks, I have been doing some of my favorite activities––meeting new people, traveling, and eating. My interviews are fun.
So anyone curious, this is some of my experience on residency interviews. First, it starts with packing and getting to the destination. I have driven and flown depending on how far the interview place is. Many times, the night before will begin with a dinner with current residents. This is a time to ask residents anything you want, such as work environment, call schedules, places to live, fun things to do, etc. These are good opportunities to get to know the residents and the program. Don’t be shy.
The interview day usually starts around 7am or 8am. When you get there, there is usually a meeting with the program coordinator who gives out information packets. Breakfast has been provided everywhere I’ve been. The program director or chair will give a presentation about the program structure and goals. This is useful to know what the program’s mission and educational structure is about. Most places will have some sort of grand rounds, morning report, or lecture that we get to see. This gives an idea of what they normally do. At some point, there will be a tour of the hospital and a free lunch. In addition to seeing the different facilities, it is a good time to exercise off some of the dinner and lunch.
Throughout the day, we are able to ask anybody any questions we have. Believe me, pretty much everybody will ask if you have questions. Again, don’t be shy. The interviews with faculty members can be either in the morning or afternoon depending on how the program does it. At places I’ve interviewed, there can be 2-6 people to interview with. Some will ask unique questions. However, some common questions include: ‘Why this specialty?’, ‘Why did you apply here?’, ‘What are your future plans?’, ‘What will you bring to this program?’. For aspiring 4th year medical students, these are some of the questions you should be prepared for. It can also be possible that the interviewers will ask about imaginary scenarios or test your knowledge. Honestly, I don’t think it is only about what you say, but also the way that you handle yourself in answering these questions. There is no need to freak out if you don’t know the right answer. Sometimes there are no “right” answers. My best advice: just be yourself.
I am almost done with my interviews. It’s been a lot of fun. What I’ll need to do is sit down and think about all of my experiences and impressions of each program. After interviews are over, I have to rank the residency programs for the Match. The programs will also rank me. You can read more about this on the NRMP website if you want more information.
Well, I just wanted to give a brief update on interviews. I think it’s a really fun time. Meeting new people, traveling, and eating are some of my favorite things to do. After going on some interviews, I know that I chose the right field because the attendings, residents, and fellow students I’ve met are awesome. It’s been exciting to visit both new and familiar cities. I’ve gotten to travel more in the past few months than I have in the past few years. I definitely take advantage of all the free, delicious food I’ve gotten, especially since some of the entrees are foods I can’t afford myself. If you were wondering, I can still fit in my suits. I’m not sick of interviews, but I did literally get sick a few weeks ago. I still went on a couple interviews at that time, and it was definitely more tiring. Now that I’m recovered, I’m looking forward to my next interviews. I don’t want my interviews to end yet, but it will soon. However, I know there will be much more exciting things in 2013. I wish you all a Happy New Year!