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Editor's Note: View ACP's residency resources for more
information on finding information residency programs, preparing
for interviews, and commonly asked interview questions.
Walking briskly—quite analogous to a slow run—from my research
laboratory to the imminent radiology lecture, I was acknowledged by
a chipper first-year medical student leaving the first day of
orientation. With one mere glance at her, I knew all too well that
she had accumulated eight hours of blissful sleep; had ample time
to assemble herself into a clean, matching ensemble; and had a gym
bag thrown over her shoulder packed with the necessary calisthenics
Frankly, I was embarrassed by my baseline fast operating speed
during this time of the year and lack of similar nonchalant
disposition. It's like I should have a sign on my forehead that
reads "Applying for the Electronic Residency Application Services:
Do Not Disturb." Regardless of my hasty demeanor, she politely
asked me how fourth year was going. Furthermore, she told me how
delighted I must feel to have almost completed 4 years of such
strict mental diligence and numerous clinical clerkships.
Somewhere in the middle of the "conversation," I realized that I
had been going over a list in my head of my day's tasks: Check on
the writer of my final letter of recommendation, put the finishing
touches on my personal statement, examine the Fellowship and
Residency Electronic Interactive Database for the 536th time to
make sure that I wasn't missing a significant statistic, and the
endless list forges ahead. Halting the brakes on this
anxiety-provoking wheel, I engaged her once again and focused.
Luckily, she changed subjects and I was back in the game. I
couldn't believe how preoccupied I had become over the past few
Wrapping up our conversation, I glided into my seat within the
radiology classroom and took advantage of the dim lighting before
the professor arrived. I calmly reflected on what I had caught in
our passing conversation. Although I initially had the expectation
of making small talk on my hurried way to class, I couldn't help
but remember what this first-year medical student had told me. She
was undeniably correct about her candid acknowledgment that the
completion of medical school is a remarkable feat.
Ruminating over this approaching accomplishment, I admitted to
myself that I had surmounted a multitude of medical school
examinations and clinical simulation tests to reach my current
position in the medical arena. I vowed to myself that, to reach my
next status in the medical field, I was going to revel in the
process. It was long overdue to turn off my inherent panic alarms
and appreciate the diversity of people, places, and experiences
that will soon be incorporated into my residency pathway. How am I
going to accomplish a successful and fulfilling interview season?
Well, like most medical students faced with a novel undertaking, I
delighted in the formation of a list that I will hopefully put
mental checkmarks next to as I march through the forthcoming
1. Research the city before arrival. What will
be my goal? I want to find one city landmark to visit before the
interview. This is the fun part. If you need to wear a fanny pack,
a whimsical hat, sunscreen, and camera thrown over your shoulder
like the classical tourist, then do it. Enjoy yourself. Whether it
is an eclectic restaurant featuring food that you couldn't imagine
eating or simply an area known for its beautiful landscape and
walking trails, find these havens for yourself. Your interviewers
may also be delighted to talk about their city with you, and it
never hurts to be able to add to this conversation.
2. Research the current faculty members and
residents. This may seem like a no-brainer. Having already
executed one rotating elective away from my home school where I
knew not one of the faculty members, I personally believe that this
advice is highly beneficial. I found it crucial to be knowledgeable
about the people whom I was engaging with to further discuss their
personal areas of interest. Having the skill to open up a
conversation about a topic of their distinctive interest gives you
the chance to not only expand your current knowledge base but also
see what inspired this particular faculty member or resident to
choose his or her unique pathway. Most program Web sites readily
offer this information, and I plan on using it to my benefit!
3. Stay healthy while traveling. I have heard
from many current interns how convenient it is to thoroughly
indulge oneself during the interview trail because of the vast
number of dinners and plethora of food at each interview station.
How to avoid such gluttonous habits? No need for heroic measures. I
plan to ensure that I pack tennis shoes and a gym outfit for each
interview, because most hotels feature a fitness center. In
addition, if the trek is within driving distance, I will plan on
packing a few fresh foods to accompany my journey to avoid
nutritional pitfalls that are advertised, and appropriately
enticing, every few miles on the highway. Staying healthy does not
require an additional list and measures to stress out about.
Simplicity is, truly, the best means of accomplishing
How refreshing to have such a short and simple list on my agenda
ahead! I have only three tasks to accomplish this fall so that I
can reduce my anxiety and relish in my travels and networking
opportunities. What will be your three goals this fall?
Indiana University School of Medicine, Class of 2014
October 2013 Issue of IMpact
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