My Medical School Interview is Done!

Med interview
Ready for my med school interview

Yesterday, I had an amazing day as I went through my medical school interview experience. After an intense few weeks of preparation, it was finally time to face the interview! The venue was downtown, 50 minutes away from our house. My husband and children (my cheering squad) were eager to accompany me to the interview so they got up bright and early with me to make it downtown for 7am. We arrived well in advance and I got to chat with other interviewees.

As the interview day organizers came to collect us nervous interviewees from the lobby, I kissed and hugged my family good bye and proceeded to the check-in location. I was thankfully assigned to the first group of the morning and after a quick debriefing, we went to start our interviews. It was in Multiple-Mini-Interview (MMI) format with 10 different interview stations. Despite my initial nervousness, it was a fantastic experience. It’s difficult to know how I performed but I really enjoyed it and felt that it stretched me out of my comfort zone.

Even in those especially challenging moments when I felt unsure of how to answer the question, I prayed for strength and was encompassed by such a sense of boldness and confidence. I felt God’s presence with me helping me to be calm and at peace. I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the interviewers, actors and the other interviewees.

It was stimulating hearing about people’s stories and their diverse backgrounds. The whole event was very well organized and there was something so energizing about being around people with similar goals and aspirations. The admissions decisions will be released on May 12th when I will find out if I have been accepted to medical school!

Through all of this, I am just so grateful to have made it this far. I have received overwhelming support from my church, friends and family who have been encouraging me and praying with me for months. No matter what happens on May 12th, it has been an amazing ride and my faith has grown in so many ways through this whole process. I’m excited!

 

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A Step Closer…An Interview Invitation to Medical School

For the past several years, it has been my hope to pursue a career in medicine. Although there have been setbacks, delays and disappointments, I am happy to announce that I received an invitation to interview at my top-choice medical school!

January had been a tough month for me with multiple refusals from several medical schools. When I received one “no” after the other, I was tempted to lose hope. But I knew there was still one university pending and my prayer was that the best outcome for my family and I would prevail.

As I waited for the interview decisions to come out yesterday, my emotions fluctuated between hope, excitement, dread and fear. So many friends and family were waiting for the news and I did not want to disappoint them. My husband and I decided that we would wait for him to get home from work before checking online for the status of my application. The level of suspense was high and at one point in the day, I folded my arms on the dining room table, let a few tears fall down my face and said, “God, I did my best, whatever happens today, may your will be done!

Looking back at the months of waiting and the moments of disappointment, I can say that things are working out for the best because this particular university that I received an invitation to is one of the top universities in Canada, it is the closest one to where we live and also happens to be my alma mater.  I am truly blown away and humbled that I was chosen to interview because the competition was stiff.

Through all of this, I am just grateful to have made it a step further in my dream of becoming a doctor. The last hurdle will be to get through the interview and make it to the final cut. It is a huge challenge but if I’ve made it this far, there is still hope and I am going to give it my very best shot!

So the next few weeks will be spent ramping up my interview practice in preparation for my multiple-mini-interview (MMI) on May 2nd. I am thrilled, excited and so very hopeful that things will work out for the best! No matter what happens, I am so happy to have made it this far and for the incredible support I have received from those around me.

Never give up on your dreams. The mountain may seem insurmountable but there is always a way to get to the top! We just have to keep going!

When You Have Fallen Face-down

January was a tough month in regards to my medical school applications. I heard back from three more schools and sadly, they did not invite me for an interview.  It felt like one blow after another, like the man in the arena, who is “face-down”.

Sharing the news with friends and family was difficult to do. I had a mixture of emotions ranging from feeling defeated, to feeling like a failure, to disappointment, to wanting to give up. But I learned lessons from my last rejection experience in November and did not entertain these feelings for long. I acknowledged them and then decided to look at the positive side of the situation:

  • Rejection does not mean I am a failure: It is just a temporary glitch or bump in the journey and does not mean the story is at an end.
  • Closed doors often have hidden blessings: I realized that by not gaining acceptance to those particular universities, I no longer have to worry about moving to another province. There are so many blessings where we currently live: a safe neighborhood, the opportunity for my children to learn French as a second language, and being surrounded by a great church community, friends and family.
  • There is still hope: I am yet to hear back from one more university (my alma mater) in March and this is the closest medical school to where we live.

So, even though I had my “face-down in the arena” moment in January, I am picking myself back up and moving forward. I think it’s important to take some concrete steps whenever we feel that we have fallen so that we do not stew in our disappointment or despair:

  • Preparation:  I am practicing interview questions in case I get invited for an interview. Regardless of the outcome, it will not be wasted time because practicing to speak better is a skill that is easily transferable.
  • Learning: I went through a few weeks of lack of motivation after my bout of rejections so I have decided to take an online course to keep my mind working. The course is in Global Health with a focus on Humanitarian Crises. Not only am I learning a lot from this course but it is helping me to keep things in perspective as I am reminded of the struggles so many people around the world go through.
  • Writing: I am keeping a journal to document my thoughts and emotions more regularly. I had a habit of suppressing my emotions which was not healthy and journal writing has been therapeutic.
  • Serving: I am grateful for the opportunities to serve and lead at my church through music and teaching. There are moments when it is nerve-wracking, tiring and frustrating but it has also been so rewarding and enriching and has definitely fueled my personal and spiritual growth.

Whatever challenges you are going through, do not despair. Those “face-down” moments can feel awful but they can also lead to great things and help us grow. Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite speeches that encourages me when I feel like I am struggling in the arena of life.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end  the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat” -The Man in the Arena, Theodore Roosevelt.

 

All Medical School Applications are in…Let the Waiting Games Begin!

Today I submitted the last of my medical school applications and it was a very rewarding feeling to hit the final “submit” button! I have also verified that the universities I have applied to have received all supporting documents and transcripts so I am relieved that this is all under control!

I have one last exam to do at the end of October, the mysterious CASPer exam (required by a few medical schools in North America) which is a 90-minute online exam with various scenarios in video and written format. I found some sample questions online that I have started working on.

In preparation for any potential interviews, I am practicing interview questions with my husband and have started reading through an interesting eBook called “Making Evidence Matter in Canadian Health Policy“. So far I have learned an incredible amount of useful information on Canadian healthcare (with some comparisons to healthcare in other countries) and I realized that some of my perceptions of the system were actually inaccurate. I also came across this useful website that has a plethora of ethics scenarios complete with commentaries to guide you through the thought process.

I am excited that this Fall season is promising to be very busy with some new activities at my church. Not only has the weekly “Women’s Morning Out” started back up (a fun morning of exercise, bible study and prayer) but I have also started teaching Sunday school to a cute bunch of 4 to 5 year olds (my little Caleb included) on Sunday mornings.

This past Sunday school class was a lesson in my perfectionism going right out the window. Between one child running around a table frenetically and another trying to eat play-dough, I ended up not sticking to my lesson plan and had to improvise to keep the children focused on what I was trying to teach them. After the class, I then raced down to the church sanctuary to take my place at the piano in time for the worship songs. It was a hectic but very fun day!

Today at the ‘women’s morning out’, as we exercised outside in the crisp Fall air, I felt really grateful to be in the company of people who are so accepting of you just as you are. We are a group of all ages, shapes and sizes! Back inside, as we studied the Bible, talked and prayed for each other, I felt completely blessed to be surrounded by a great group of women who are supporting me in my dream towards medical school and who are keeping me uplifted in prayer.

So as the waiting game begins towards the next step to medical school, I am reminded that no matter the outcome, I have so much to be grateful for already. Getting into medical school would be an added blessing to my life that is already enriched by so many wonderful friends and family.

Image courtesy of num_skyman at freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of num_skyman at freedigitalphotos.net

If At First You Don’t Succeed…Try Again With the Right Attitude!

When I applied to one local medical school in 2012, I remember the process being quite harrowing. I felt enormous pressure to succeed and I didn’t want to disappoint or let anyone down. The days seemed to crawl by as I waited for months to find out if I would be invited for an interview. Once I did get an interview, it was another few months of waiting to find out if I had been accepted. When I ended up on the waiting list post-interview, it was yet another few months to find out if I had gotten off the waiting list which unfortunately did not happen. It was essentially a full year of waiting to find out that I had ultimately not been accepted to medical school!

I learned a lot from that application cycle and my interview experience will certainly be useful if I receive interviews this application cycle. This time round, I feel so much calmer, at peace and I don’t think about my applications all the time like I did in the last application cycle. I am learning to appreciate each day with my children and I find it’s making life so much more enjoyable. I don’t feel on edge or anxious. Last time, I felt like my sense of worth hinged on my acceptance to medical school. What would people think of me if I didn’t get accepted? Not so smart after all! Last time I barely even announced that I was applying to medical school, not wanting people to know I was trying lest I be rejected. But I feel in the last few years, my perspective has changed significantly. It’s not about what people think of me but about being honest with myself about what I really want to achieve and saying to myself, “even if I fail, at least I tried and will not spend my life with regrets”.

I have realized the importance of support networks and how much I need people’s support to help me through this process. This time round, I have shouted it from the mountaintops that I am applying to medical school. I am proud of it and I love the energy and enthusiasm of the whole process. Each week, there is at least one email or message asking how things are going with my applications, MCAT etc. and I just love it. I feel like I have a whole cheer-leading squad behind me. And that same squad will be there when my MCAT results come out, they will be there if I get invited for interviews and they will be there if I get accepted. They will ultimately be there whatever the outcome. I do not have to handle this long, painstaking process on my own. Even though I still have a long road left in this application cycle, I am not dreading it. I don’t feel as impatient as before and I am just thankful that no matter the outcome, I still have amazing blessings in my life.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers who were envious of him and it took many years of hardship and imprisonment before he rose to a position of great eminence in Egypt. Through all this time, he conducted himself with excellence and never complained about his circumstances. I love his example because it reminds me that even though I have many steps to go through to get to my goal, I can still conduct myself with excellence in the interim. I can still be at my best in whatever I am doing as I wait to find out the future of my medical school dream, be it raising my children, doing chores, volunteering etc. This perspective has made me feel so much more at peace knowing that each day matters and each day deserves my best effort. I will eventually get where I want to go!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net