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tryingtoohard

Scared about Interviews

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I am applying for medical school in two years, and I am beyond terrified. I have a stellar GPA and amazing extracurriculars, but I do not have a great personality at all. I am not sure what it is about me but no one ever really pays attention to me. I personally don't think I am an awful person in any way, I am just boring and plain. I have always been ignored for no reason, and I feel like people hate me for no reason at all. I could never keep friends for too long and have never been in a relationship or had many guys ask me out. I am also a minority and feel unheard and out of place most of the time. Due to all of these reasons, I feel like I will definitely tank my interviews and not do well at all. I may have worked my butt off my whole life and have a 4.0 GPA in Biochem, with 10-20 hours of ECs every week, but no one will like my personality during interviews and I would not stand out. I am not sure why I am like this. It could be due to the fact that I have self-esteem issues, no confidence, and no sense of self. I have always barely been good enough to fit the "normal" criteria, much less stand out amongst people. I am not even unhappy or depressed, or "weird" in any way, I just didn't belong. Sorry if this sounds like I am just complaining and feeling bad about myself, but I am not. I am simply stating facts, such that people generally never really liked me and I have no idea why. If anyone has any advice, please let me know.

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Hey there. It is good to recognize there could be an issue needing to be addressed. Getting to the interviews and displaying a defeated attitude will not be helpful, I think. It seems like you have a rather low view of yourself and in my opinion, if you are not able to fully appreciate and love yourself for what you are, why and how do you expect others to?  I was once told we emit “waves” of energy and if you constantly emit “unpleasant” waves because of the way you feel about yourself, people “sense” it subconsciously and distance themselves. 

Plus, why do you think people hate you? have you been told that or do you think people hate you? 

I might be wrong, but you seem to be on the younger side. Trust me, with maturity and having more life experience, you’ll learn more about yourself and be able to form meaningful relationships with people.

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All of those aspects about your personality do not matter. Interviews, just like every other aspect of the admissions process, is a game that requires specific practice. You just have to learn the rules and prepare accordingly.

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I have noticed in your post that you use a lot of extremes to describe your situation: eg. “I have always been I ignored”, “I could never keep friends...”, “I will definitely tank my interview...”, “no confidence, no sense of self”. Maybe that is truly how you feel right now, but I would find it unlikely that everyone has always ignored you and that you have never maintained any relationships. So I would recommend reflecting on some things that you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be anything big, it could be the support of family, the understanding of professors, or your amazing dedication to school and extracurriculars.


Second, perhaps you can consider appraising your situation with more balance. This can be as simple as avoiding the use of extremes, like “never, always, none, everyone.” Although it may feel horrible sometimes, there is likely a silver lining and you can appraise the situation by trying to see both sides. Maybe no one noticed you in class in the morning, but you worked with some friendly people in your ECs in the afternoon. So acknowledge when good things happen and avoid seeing a situation as “always“ like this, or “never“ like that. 

Third, if things don’t turn out how you hope, then take things into your own hands! As I’m sure you’ve learned in psychology, people with an internal locus if control uphold the belief that they have control over their lives and subsequently they show greater resilience when faced with challenges. So if no guy seems to ask you out, then why not ask them out instead? If you don’t feel like you belong, then maybe try exploring another group. If people are not taking the initiative to get to know you first, then why not take the initiative to make the first move? 

At the end of the day, the interviewers will be looking to understand how you overcome challenges and that you are capable of working cordially with others. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone and you don’t have to be the life of the party.
So this might be a good opportunity for you to re-appraise your situation, reflect, and take the initiative to make changes for the future. Because as a doctor, you will likely face countless other challenges and the interviewers will want to see that you have the ability to question your own beliefs and to take the initiative to improve for your future patients.

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Dear op, I can relate. I used to be terrified of applying to medical school and terrified of interviews back in the day when I was in undergrad. Despite having near a perfect GPA and other great stats, I never believed I had what it took to be a medstudent. And for many years, I sucked at making friends and keeping them, as well as dating. 

For me, these aspects of of my personality were extremely difficult to hide during an interview. I always created negative scenarios of how things would go poorly and how much people would judge me/hate me. I doubted my ability so much that it sabotaged me. My feelings of inadequacy led to increased anxiety and reduced confidence. My communication skills went down the gutter every time this had happened. 

I still haven't been able to get into medical school for many years (6+) now, but growing older has somehow helped me overcome my low self-esteem issues. So it is possible to change. It is possible to lose those negative thought patterns. 

I tried many things to improve my self-esteem. Here's few

1) Try journalling: identify negative patterns and what triggers them. Ask how and why your self-esteem developed. For me personally, it had to do with many limiting beliefs that arose due to my troubled past. The more you know what makes you, you can become more comfortable in your own shoes and start to accept yourself more. 

2) Slowly do the things you fear the most. Develop the skills you need to be successful. For me, public speaking was a huge fear. With practice in good environments, you can improve whatever skill you feel like you are lacking. It is extremely uncomfortable in the beginning, and your mind will tell you to go back to your comfort zone, but you have to slowly keep pushing it. 

3) Speak to your loved ones. Be honest about how you feel to your close family and friends. Sometimes getting things off our chest to people we care about really helps, especially if that person is supportive towards you. 

Low-esteem follows a very vicious cycle, and you should try to change it, not just for medschool but for your quality of life. It's all about developing self-love (being nice to yourself at all times/be your own best friend) and aprroaching life with curiosity (instead of negativity). I could probably write an entire essay on this topic, but you can PM me if you like. I can give you more insight on specifics.

All the best. 

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This is called catastrophizing. If you can't get a handle on it by yourself, then I suggest you seek help. Also keep in mind that interviews are trainable to a certain extent. Even the most awkward, socially inept person can practice and come across as a well-adjusted human being for 30 minutes. 

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You should 100% be practicing and training before your interviews. I've had lots of shy, quiet friends get in because they practiced for months, learned about relevant topics, and aced their interviews. I've also seen very socially competent and eloquent people get rejected because they didn't put in the work before their interviews. Ofc, med interviews aside, everyone's comments about working on your self-esteem are super relevant, not just for med school but for yourself and your happiness. 

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You need to do things out of your comfort zoning, in effect, challenging yourself to do what you believe you can not This will give you tremendous self-confidence. For example, if you are a sympathetic listener, work on a telephone suicide call in line; when the economy returns to normal, find a job in retail in the complaints or return dept, where you need tact, diplomacy, skill to deal with angry customers. Your very best friend whom can help you the most is YOURSELF! Go to Toastmasters or Dale Carnegie and do public speaking. Notwithstanding your fears, you will learn so much about yourself and gain immensely in confidence. I used to be very, very shy and could not imagine speaking to any audience. As long as I know the material, I am able now to speak before large audiences comfortably. You need to unlock the door to discover your own hidden capabilities. Communication skills, being able to get along with others, is so very important in life and in medicine, effective come;cation with patients, their families and colleagues is essential. I used to be an ugly duckling and over time, I turned into a beautiful swan, I am aware of my surroundings, my environment, I am confident, capable, a good communicator, and stand my ground when I know I am right. This comes with increasing maturity and with life experiences. Go into the world and find your life experiences that challenge your comfort. You are a special person who needs to discover your own unique special ness. You can be kind, humble, confident. Only you can get there.

As for the eventual interview, I found the key was to treat it as « a practice session » and to treat the interviewer as an inquisitive, highly intelligent 12 year old child who asked me a question and I wanted to do my best to answer him completely. This takes the edge off so there is no performance anxiety. It literally became a fun experience! I wish you every success in this marathon journey!

With respect to the above poster’s comments, I did the exact opposite for the MMI. I considered that my life experiences were my preparation for the interview. I had been in so many difficult situations that I had resolved successfully, that I was confident that I was prepared. My strategy worked for me.

Welcome to the Forum!  :P

 

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Hey there, I am an interview coach and I've been a panelist at med schools in the past. Interviewing at the med school level is actually a very systematic process. I tell my students that if they prepare properly, they will actually be able to answer any interview question that's thrown at them and there won't be any surprises. You're already ahead of the game by thinking about interviews this early. Here are some general tips for how to prepare:

1) Think of each question as a mini essay with the thesis being "I will be a good doctor/med student." This should be the bottom line of all of your answers. For example, if an interviewer asks, "tell me about a time you had to solve a conflict," this is because doctors need to be able to solve conflicts. Prove that you will be a good doctor by using your past experience (ie. stuff on your CV) to prove that you have the ability to solve conflicts and therefore be a good doctor.

2) Go through your CV and assign qualities to each activity (there can be more than one quality per activity). By qualities I mean CANMED roles and any other qualities you think a good doctor should have. 

3) The STAR method is a good one to use when formulating stories (Situation, Task, Action, Result). This is not a hard and fast rule, but it's a good place to start and it will help you turn your experiences into coherent narratives. 

4) Connect all of your answers to medicine and more specifically, yourself in medicine. Tell me when you will use the quality you just illustrated in your medical career. 

 

Charisma matters, but charisma can be learned, especially in this limited setting where you know exactly what to expect and what is required of you. As far as confidence goes, fake it till you make it. Faking confidence is just as good as the real thing. You'll find that you might even start to feel more confident as a result. Feel free to reach out to me privately if you want to book a call or discuss your situation in more detail. The interview doesn't need to be the reason you don't get into med school. I've seen people who literally can't speak without their voice shaking turn into expert interviewers. You can definitely do this. 

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I think the negative thinking definitely comes from some self-esteem issues in your life. I can absolutely relate, I have similar struggles of my own. If it's any consolation, I can definitely tell you from my own experience that with time and some practical help, it definitely gets better! As for some advice I have to offer, first I want to say that you should definitely work on tackling that negative thinking when it arises. A therapist told me that words are powerful, and she is totally right. So watch what you think and say to yourself, and fight back when you can. Don't let your brain convince you of things that simply aren't true. This comes with practice though, it won't happen overnight! But it's definitely an important thing to work on. Second, if it would be possible for you to get some professional help and see a therapist, I would highly recommend it. I think having a professional work with you on your self-esteem issues would be very beneficial, and will give you a much-needed outside perspective on things. Finally, just remember to focus on your good aspects and love yourself for who you are! You don't need to be the center of attention, or the most popular, or the funniest person in the room, or whatever. If that's not who you are, then don't worry about it! You can't make yourself into someone you're not, so don't try to and don't feel like you need to. I don't know you, but I can promise you that there are so many wonderful things about you! So take the time to reflect, figure out who you are as a person, and embrace those things that make you who you are. Everybody has different gifts, and they come in so many different forms! The world needs you exactly as you are, so don't let anybody, even yourself, convince you that who you are isn't enough. 

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As someone who also used to find small talk etc. a bit nervewracking, I think building social skills or "personality" really just comes with practice and exposure to different situations. As you've stated you're in a bunch of extracurriculars, maybe try joining a more social-orientated club where you can meet new people! Or if you're in a lab or something, make the effort to get to know your lab mates and attending lab socials, things like that. Putting yourself in situations out of your comfort zone can really bring you out of your shell and give you confidence to tackle more situations like that. 

Something else that comes to mind is maybe non-verbal language? Maybe smiling more often, laughing, things like that can also make you a more approachable person. 

I'm sure with time, experience, and some confidence (and you seem like a driven, hardworking person) you can definitely work on your communication/interpersonal skills and you'll slowly start to come out of your shell and feel more comfortable in yourself and around others :)

(Also, try not to look down on yourself too much! Change will start from the inside and your thoughts - it's hard, but slowly retraining yourself to believe and love yourself is really important)

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I've been that person. I was that awkward girl that doesn't have much friends. I used to spend most of my time alone and I was comfortable in that position. Socially, I felt invisible. Now, ironically, I'm perceived as an extrovert... and honestly, I feel like one. Crazy, right? Sometimes I wonder what happened to me. For sure, it didn't happen overnight, and the change didn't really happen consciously or willingly. I couldn't say exactly when my self-esteem improved significantly, or why and how it happened.

But I still can give one advice to you : STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Seize every opportunity. Go to that social event, even if you don't really feel like it. Go talk to those people. Get that customer service job. It's not that you don't have a great personality, it's that you can't express it properly. How do you improve in something? Practice, practice, practice! Your ''personnality'' will develop by exposing you to lots of different situations.

Why do you want to become a doctor? What are you passionate about? Whatever your reasons, if they are sincere and genuine (anything else than ''I want to make a lot of money'' and ''my parents want me to do that'', really), I am sure that this decision makes you a good person. So stop doubting. Try to do introspective exercises, get to know yourself, and love yourself for who you are. You can do it!!

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Your GPA is stellar. 

You need to ask yourself some philosophical questions. Why do you have a low self-esteem? Where are these thoughts coming from? Search up "cognitive behavioural therapy" and see if you can identify the undesirable thoughts that lead to emotions that lead to actions. 

The interviews are a matter of practice. I have been in your shoes. I believe you can do it if you muster the courage to do it. 

Best of luck.

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