My very first medical school interview was at Albany Medical School. The interview date was at a horrible time. It conflicted with a lecture in my Social Psychology class where we were supposed to anonymously write down our intimate fantasies and the professor Dr. Rogers was going to read a selection out loud to the entire lecture hall. I’m not even kidding. (I heard it was awesome, even though like 50% of them were, “I want to make passionate love to Dr. Rogers.”)
Anyway, I made it out to Albany, which was not a short trip. (Question: Is anything close to Albany? Answer: No.) My boyfriend at the time was very into long road trips and not so much into going to class, so he agreed to drive me. But then when we got there, I sort of wanted him to disappear. I mean, how uncool is it to bring your boyfriend to an interview? It’s like a step above bringing your mom to an interview. Or going to prom with your cousin.
During this first interview, I started what became a tradition for me of befriending all the other interviewees. I don’t know why I did this. I felt like I had to. It’s like, if you were all stuck on a crazy bus that had to stay above a certain speed or else it would explode for some reason, you’d befriend the other people on the bus, right? It’s sort of like that.
The interview day started out with a tour of the school, given by this guy named John who was the dumbest kid in the class. I’m not saying that to be mean, but it was basically the only conclusion I could draw after he regaled us with the story of how he took the MCATs ten separate times, and then he proceeded to fail every single class in med school. By the end of the tour, I was sort of thinking I was too good for Albany.
Finally, we got to the interview part. My first interviewer was Dr. Watson and I didn’t like him. I don’t know why I didn’t like him, but it was just one of those bad vibes I got and couldn’t turn off. I did not like this man. He was also responsible for one of the most embarrassing exchanges I ever had during an interview:
Dr. Watson: “If you could have dinner with any person living or dead, who would it be?”
Me: [inner monologue] “I can’t believe this jackass is asking me such a stupid clichéd question, and now I have to try to come up with an answer that would impress him.”
Me: [inner monologue] “I’d really just want to have dinner with some friends from school, not a dead person. Guess I can’t say that though.”
Me: [inner monologue] “A better question would be, ‘Who would I like to fight, living or dead?’ Shit, I’ve been watching Fight Club too many times.”
Me: [inner monologue] “Maybe I should say Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor. But that’s so lame. I’m going to sound like such a kiss up tool if I say Elizabeth Blackwell.”
Me: “Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor.”
He asked me another trick question that I think I fielded very well: “If you go through your first two years and you don’t like medical school, what then?”
Clever me, I figured out that the answer he was looking for was not: “Quit.” I said something about the clinical years being the most important, too soon to decide, yadda yadda yadda.
After the interview, I compared notes with my fellow interviewees, i.e. my new best friends. My interview didn’t sound quite as bad as the one where the 70 year old male attending pretended to be a pregnant 12 year old and made the interviewee counsel him.
My second interview was with an elderly attending named Dr. Flynn. I meshed much better with Dr. Flynn. We seemed to like each other immediately and he told me that with my stats, I would 100% get into Albany. It was a no-brainer, he said. After a pleasant discussion with him, he asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”
Dr. Flynn: [gapes at me in astonishment]
See, here’s the problem: I genuinely didn’t have any questions. I spent the whole day learning everything I needed to know about the school, I read the brochure, and I already had one interview. How was I supposed to know that you’re supposed to make up a question even if you don’t have one just so you appear interested? It was my first goddamn interview.
After that I devised a bunch of questions to ask, even though I didn’t care about the answers:
--Do you have a systems-based curriculum?
--What are research opportunities like?
--Does the curriculum have more large lectures or small groups?
--How much early clinical experience do students get?
You get the idea. It didn’t matter that these questions were generally answered like five times before I got to the interview. I asked ‘em again. Also, FYI, asking where the bathroom is doesn’t count as a legitimate question.
Anyway, my boyfriend drove me home after the interview and we got in a HUGE fight over the artistic integrity of Kevin Smith. Basically, I thought Kevin Smith was a hack for making Dogma and he thought that nothing Kevin Smith did could qualify as hacky. Too bad we broke up before Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back came out, and I could say, “I told you so.”
Oh, and in case, you’re wondering, I got waitlisted at Albany. Waitlisted! Not that I wanted to go to that stupid school in stupid freezing upstate New York anyway. Pssh.