Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy


You’ll Just Have To Trust Me…

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.

†Hi Dr. Burkert!
††I exaggerate not. That is an exact quote. And it was the very first thing out of my mouth after "Hello, nice to meet you".

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  1. So many memories . . .

  2. Do you mean they accepted you on the spot and scheduled a second interview so they could admit you again?

  3. As I search for another job (and just got a call by a large hospital in No. Cal), I am reminded how grueling the whole process is.

    Why did I want to be a nurse? I was looking for a stable and economic proof career with an income that I could raise a family on and take to any size city.

    I was often concerned that compassionate was not a trait I thought I possessed. Ironically, the ability to multi-task and think-on-your-feet have proven to be more valuable in todays health care environment.

  4. Nice post. Thank you for the info. Keep it up.

  5. LOL, this sounds kind of like my recollection of that committee interview back in college. It definitely ranks pretty low on my interview performances. While I didn’t get tripped up on that initial “why medicine” q, I did fall on my face when they asked me “So, what will you do if you don’t get into any medical schools this year?”

    My response? “Oh… uh… do something else?” Yea, 0 points for commitment to medicine. Oh well, like you said, it all worked out in the end =)

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