Reflecting on my Interview at the University of Rochester

Published on
October 22, 2020
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A year ago today I interviewed at the University of Rochester!  

I remember being so excited. It was my first medical school interview and Rochester was easily my first choice. Leading up to the interview, I emailed as many people on the UR contact list that I might share some connection with - someone from Arizona, someone who’d gone to Smith. I even asked my Postbacc advisor to help me track down students who'd completed my program. I set up times to meet with them while I was in Rochester. I wanted to know everything I could, from every angle.

I took 3 days off of work and took the 8 hour bus ride from the city (which, in hindsight, I would NOT recommend). On the way up, I re-listened to a conversation with the dean of admissions about what brought her to Rochester and the values of the school. I prepared my questions and looked over the interview materials. I arranged to stay with second year students. When I arrived, they had just finished a big exam and had some friends over for a bonfire celebration. The morning of my interview, I woke up to the smell of cinnamon rolls - in honor of my host’s birthday.

I knew that UR was the place for me right away. During Dr. Nobay’s welcome address, she recalled a particularly difficult ER shift, and the various roles she played on a daily basis - doctor, social worker, educator. Her story gave me chills. Less than a week earlier, I’d submitted my responses to interview questions. I discussed my experiences as a teacher, saying: “On any given day, I played social worker, counselor, nurse, and advocate to the kids in my class.”  It was uncanny and reaffirming. It made me feel like I belonged here. It set the tone for the day.

I also had wonderful conversations with my interviewers. During my first interview, I spoke with a pediatric hematologist about working with kids and their families. Then, I was able to speak with a 4th year medical student who’d become involved in teaching and mentorship. Both were Rochester natives and were eager to answer my questions about the city. I don’t know if it was planned, but it felt as if these interviewers had  been chosen specifically for me, to speak to interests and my hesitations.

Looking back, the whole day felt so surreal. Long days in unfamiliar places, being shuffled around the hospital. The future is so unclear. Even still, I have such a fond memory of that day.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe I made it. Today, we finished Block 3 of Human Structure & Function. More than halfway done with this “defining period” of our medical careers. The exams are long and always take a lot out of me. I’m exhausted and my current headache very accurately reflects the feeling that more information has been stuffed into my brain than it can possibly retain.

It’s really easy to forget that initial excitement when you’re in the thick of it. Yet, somehow, even when it’s difficult, I still have that feeling of belonging  I had on that first day. In fact, I’m more confident about what I’m doing now than I have been about anything else in (probably) my entire life. I truly believe this is where I’m meant to be and  I’m so grateful to have come this far.