This is a true story. All of it.
It was interview day. Myself and the other interviewees had been given a tour of the school and a presentation on how AMAZING the university and school of medicine is. Up next were the faculty and student interviews. I had the student interviewer first. He was a first year student and instead of the usual “Why medicine?” He asked questions relating to my weaknesses and the growth I’ve had since graduating from college two years ago. The interview was very relaxing; laughs were shared and he told me about his background as well. He also gave me tips for my faculty interview and in the end asked, “Is there anything you would like me to know that will help me be a strong advocate for you?” It was the golden question, and of course I delved into a specific interest and strength of mine.
Next was the faculty interview.
I came in confident.
I’ve got this.
Or so I thought.
“So tell me about yourself?” The first question of the day. I had prepped for this and began selling myself.
“I am a very driven individual. My perseverance and drive for success has enabled me to…”
He interrupted me.
“Yea, yea, I get all that. You’re a hard worker, driven, and all that. But tell me about yourself. When did you move to the U.S.? How was that for you adjusting to a new country? Did you speak English?“
Whoa. I was taken aback. Not exactly the direction I had planned on going with it, but sure I’ld take his lead.
And then he went on.
More personal questions.
It felt like a thug of war in which I was losing…badly. I wanted to talk about how amazing I was, and he wanted to talk about my struggles.
- Personal struggles
- Family struggles
- Immigrant struggles
- Academic struggles
The tears started to swell up. He had me talking about things I rarely talk about, and which I didn’t know had such an emotional impact on me. The tears could no longer be contained. A drop fell, than another.
“I’m so so sorry,” I said as I wiped my tears and began fanning my eyes, hoping to dry away the waterfall. I was embarrassed. This was my med school interview and here I was crying like a baby. I was mortified.
“It’s okay. It’s a lot of things to deal with. Physicians have emotions too.” He tried to reassure me.
I eagerly nodded.
And then he threw in a joke, and we laughed.
And laughed some more.
And the interview was over.
I walked out feeling like I had been stripped of every guard and mask I had put on. I had been vulnerable and my faculty interviewer saw me for who I really was. Not just the strong, extremely driven, intelligent woman I try to portray, but other parts of me few rarely see.
My faculty interviewer made the effort to REALLY get to know me.
That was POWERFUL.
Despite the tears and all.