A common interview question is “Why do you want to be a doctor?”. Easy enough right? However, interviewers are looking for something that is going to last longer than “my parents are doctors”. They are looking for something that you need to have in common with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus… resilience.
A key to introspection on why you want to be a doctor is do you have the motivation to go the distance; to see you through the long hours, the sleepless nights, the studying, the stress, the pressure, the emotion. This is your chance to show your stuff to the interviewers!
So how do you show you have the grit? Most of the answers are in the application you sent:
- Your grades will provide evidence of how serious you were about your goal. It follows that someone who wants to go to medical school bad enough will prioritise their education in hopes of getting that coveted place on the course.
- If you didn’t have the medical epiphany until later in your academic career, your work experience is a great way to show your resilience. Have you tried being a carer? Walking into a room covered in fecal matter with empathy for the individual and assuring them that it is and will be okay? We don’t go through the experience to come up with these horrendous stories to use at an interview for five minutes. We go through them to experience what others in the healthcare profession deal with on a regular basis and to see if we are capable of handling it, and most importantly, get joy out of helping.
- It may seem like a cheat for those of us who did, but being a graduate can be used to your advantage. I’m not suggesting you complete one degree then go back and apply for medical school to show you went through the trenches on another degree to get back to medicine. But if you took the long route to your profession, you should be able to use the process to your advantage (i.e. you think about medicine, do another degree, and then apply to medical school after).
- Research is a great way to show tenacity and dedication to a topic. Odds are you will work on one project for quite a long time with research, as is the case with medicine. Reach out to your local university and see if there is a topic that does or could interest you, then get in and do the work. Not only do you gain experience, but you get to show that you were dedicated to a particular project.
There are other ways to show your resilience. The most important part is to know that you want it. Go back to the drawing board if you begin to think to yourself, “I don’t know that I want to do this forever” and dig deep for the answer. Once you have it, go out and spread that idea to your interviewers like the plague!