As interview season looms I'm reminded of my mock interview for medical school, four years ago. Carnegie Mellon (my alma mater) gets a group of faculty together, who grill you as if it were the real thing. They use the session as a template for a committee letter that gets sent off to med schools around the country, and you get to practice interviewing. It's a fantastic way of doing things.
As a young, punk applicant I wore crazy ties, wrote about an abscess on a guy's ass in my personal statement, applied to all the wrong schools, and figured that if they didn't want to accept me on my terms, I didn't want to attend. Somehow it worked out in the end, but honestly, it was a crapshoot. I should have listened to my advisor†. I didn't prepare for the interview at all; why would I? I was flying by the seat of my pants! I was hot shit! I didn't play by anybody's rules! Not even my own!
I walked in the room, all smiles, shook hands with the group, and sat down, confident and ready. My advisor opened with the easiest, most basic of questions.
"So, Zac. Why do you want to be a doctor?"
I paused, suddenly realizing I hadn't really thought this through. I mean, I had a gut feeling, and I really enjoyed volunteering in the ER... but I couldn't put it into words. Why exactly did I want to be a doctor? I thought I knew, but I never really expected anyone to question me on it. What was this, some kind of interrogation? Hesitating, I spoke.
"Well... I guess... I guess you'll just have to trust me on this one††."
And that, friends, was the end of the interview. It didn't go over so well. Luckily for me, my advisor is the nicest woman in the world and postponed it to a later date. The second time around - after preparing for hours - I passed with flying colors, felt comfortable and calm, and enjoyed myself. I guess it just goes to show you... chance favors the prepared mind.