managing stress

That Time I Cried in My Med School Interview…

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.

osu int

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.

And more.

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.

Surviving The Wait: Med School Interview Invites

If there’s one thing I have learned in this process, it is PATIENCE.

For those of you also in this application process, I’m sure you can relate. Last year, a friend warned me that one of the most stressful part of this med school application process was actually AFTER the writing had concluded; it was the wait. Then, I couldn’t really comprehend what she meant. Sure, waiting for interview invites and decisions was bound to be nerve wracking, but it couldn’t be THAT bad right? Right.

Here is where I share my experience.

I was done with majority of my secondaries in mid-August, which was a good thing, BUT also has a downside: The wait. This led to the following things:

  • Checking the updates on each school almost EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Mind you, I have to log on to each portal to do so. This is completely unnecessary considering most schools, if not all will email you an update.
  • Looking at my excel sheet almost everyday. Nothing has changed I know, but MAYBE  if I stare at it hard enough my invite column will have a “yes” on it. Maybe.
  • Checking SDN for updates. Sigh. This site. On the plus side, it feels good knowing okay, other folks are waiting too, the con: well…you know.
  • Being distracted at work due to worry aka less productive.

The point is, there’s little that can be done to speed up the waiting process; You simply have to tough it out. And luckily, there’s a solution to make it less painful.

Distract yourself. Yes, distract yourself.

You’ve done your part and turned in your secondaries; quite frankly, worrying about it day and night won’t do anything. So the best thing to do is find ways to occupy your mind and time. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. That’s essentially what I’ve been doing and I must say it’s going well (check out my gap year adventures). The interview invites are going to come, you won’t miss it, trust me 🙂

Simply wait.

Ciao!

7 Fun Ways To Get Physically Active

Folks, it’s time to get down and dirty with FITNESS! As mentioned in a previous post, working out is one of the strategies I use to manage stress. The benefits are simply POW, out of this world. Not just physically, but mentally. When you exercise you release chemicals called endorphins aka “the feel good” hormones. According to WebMD, studies have shown that “people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.” Yes, exercise has been proven to reduce symptoms of clinical depression, reduce stress, boost self-esteem, and even improve sleep.

Now I know for some, working out is comparable to doing dishes. It’s that chore you just hate to do and if you can avoid it, you would.

However, you shouldn’t. For your own health.

Working out, believe or not, CAN be fun. You just need to find that activity that makes you feel like “Yes! I can’t wait to do this again!” Having tried several fitness classes and exercise programs in the past, I figured I’d speak from my personal experience. Here are 7 fun ways to get physically active (my pictures included):

1. Dancing

Dancing with my old troupe: African Rhythms

This is one of my favorite ways to get physically active. Friends and family can attest to this – I LOVE to dance. The great thing about dancing is that you can do this in the comfort of your room. Simply turn up the music and get to grooving. No one is watching and in as little as 15 minutes, you should start feeling pretty good (endorphins kicking in!). You can also take dance classes – Salsa, Batchata, Hip Hop, West African – the options are endless. Personally, I take West African dance classes when I can and I leave each session extremely sweaty but very excited for the next class.

                                                                  2. Runningphoto (1)

Interesting story here. I initially got into running because at times, I would get so angry that the only thing I felt I could do was run. Just escape it all. It was my way of coping with feelings of anger. It was about the same time I joined cross-country (middle school) and well, the rest is history. It’s an activity I actually like to do. Running is not only a great workout but an awesome way to relieve stress.

                                3. Gym time

photo (2)

If running isn’t your thing. Try hitting up some weights. There are several phone apps that guide beginners into strength training. I personally like Jefit. The benefit? You not only get a good workout but you also improve your muscle tone. Feeling good and looking good – double win!

               4. Home workouts

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If you aren’t into the gym culture or maybe these application fees has you eating ramen for lunch and dinner and well, gym memberships are simply not in the budget, then home workouts are a really great way to get physically active. Just get a resistance band, a jump rope, maybe an Ab rollout wheel or any other equipment you desire, and you’ve got a home gym. I bought these pictured equipments from Marshall’s and the cool thing is being able to use it when I’m bored, don’t feel like going to the gym, or when I feel like trying a workout DVD or a workout on YouTube. The best part? It’s very cheap!

5. Doing fun races

10411100_10154361093935521_7326526804804366260_nI’ll be honest, this isn’t the cheapest way to get physically active but it can definitely motivate you to get moving! By registering for a race – a 5k, mud race, obstacle race, or if you’re feeling daring, a half-marathon or marathon – you set a goal for yourself. Registering in advance means that you’ve already coughed up a certain amount of money that you know you can’t get back. Now since you registered for it, you are well aware that if you don’t train or get in some sort of shape – you’ll end up regretting that. No one likes to be injured. So this is a cool way to get motivated into being physically active. When you do it with friends, it’s even better. Plus you get bragging rights – hollaaaa!

6. Yoga

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All body strength and still a workout. This can be done through yoga classes or in the comforts of your home. For classes, I highly recommend Power Yoga – a form of hot yoga that focuses on strength and flexibility. I tried this a while back and absolutely loved it. I always left feeling like I got a workout! Unfortunately, these classes can get expensive but the cool thing about yoga is that you can do it the comforts of your home. Get to practicing, build up your strength, and in that process de-stress and reduce any anxiety you might have – perfect!

7. Other fitness classes

There are so many interesting fitness classes and often times you can get good deals on them through Groupon or Living Social. There are boxing classes, cross fit, pole fitness, and zumba classes to name a few. I was feeling adventurous once and tried a pole fitness/ dance class. I saw the deal on Groupon and thought “Hey, this would be really cool!” I tried one class and quickly realized this activity required a lot of upper body strength – Ha! Although I didn’t end up using the remaining 4 classes, the two classes I did experience were quite interesting. So again, check out some interesting classes. You never know, you might end up liking it and coming back for more.

Workout. Manage your stress. Release your emotions.

Ciao!