Taxes, inflation, death, and pre-interview anxiety; a few certainties in life it often seems, but despite how confident a persona you tout on the outside, you can almost always count on feeling butterflies in your stomach when it comes to thinking about having to contend with medical school interviews. Especially when you harbor a frenzied passion for the field. After all, nothing compares to the excitement of receiving an invitation to interview for your coveted medical university after months of mind-numbingly grueling applications.
However, those initial flutters of excitement soon turn into nail-biting bouts of dread as the interview date looms over the horizon, making you fret endlessly over the prospect of messing up, failing to impress your interviewer, arriving late and feeling yourself drowning in a flux of judgmental gazes, saying all the wrong things or stuttering to no end perhaps. Even though you have sold them on paper, the interviewers still need to scrutinize you in person and gauge if you are cut out for the field. After all, not everybody gets to cinch that prestigious white coat. If you are fazed by pre-interview anxiety, here is how you can reign in your jumble of trepidations and head in for the interview with your chin up.
You must have heard inspirational stories about sportspersons who visualize themselves before an important race or event. Usain Bolt for instance, the world’s fastest man it is said, prepares his mind and body for optimal performance through the visualization technique. When we envisage something intensely, like getting an admission in a medical school, our body and mind start behaving as if they are already facing the situation.
Before an interview with the panel, you can visualize yourself answering all the questions confidently and expressing your opinions with your head held high. See the interviewers nodding in acknowledgement in your mind’s eye, their faces lit up with approval. You can practice this for several days prior to the interview, so that on the big day, you are already poised for success and already see yourself persuading the panel about your suitability.
Mindfulness can be construed as retracting to that happy place in your mind for a while. On the other hand, some say it’s all about facing your anxiety head-on and looking it in the face. Regardless, we say that medical schools perfectly epitomize those “mind over matter” cases, which a few mindfulness strategies can help you tackle. For instance, you can make micro-meditation your best friend. It entails 1-3 minutes of absolute stillness, where you stop short in your tracks and take deep breaths. While you nervously wait for the interviewer to call you in, try utilizing the S.B.N.R.R technique to calm your nerves:
This helps you tame your inner voice and stop that disastrous inner monologue before it takes over your thoughts. That panicked voice is hardly ever supportive. You need to interrupt consciously every time it rears its ugly head and replace it with optimistic, happy thoughts that instill in you a renewed sense of confidence and can-do attitude.
A sizeable chunk of students become extremely nervous and tensed during interviews. This makes their self-confidence plummet sharply to the ground. This can be a result of long held negative beliefs about oneself. Over the course of time, such beliefs can become deeply ingrained in our sub consciousness, and eventually start dictating our demeanor.
Treat a med school interview as an important one and you can do so much through listening to subliminal messages, which can reshape your paradigm to get rid of interview anxiety and negative beliefs which have taken roots in your mind. They do this by rewiring your mind to think like an individual who enjoys the very same things that leave you anxious and rather find joy in them. This can make you more confident and allow your natural personality to shine through and impress the members of the panel to no end.
One strategy that can help you cope with a panic attack is to look at what you are feeling with a distant, third person perspective. If you walk into your medical school interview and find yourself breaking out in a sweat, step back a notch from those feelings and take stock of what is happening to your body and mind. Instead of suppressing or subduing it, observe each adverse thought that pops up into your mind, but make sure that you don’t latch on to it. Appreciate those thoughts as transient and distance yourself from them. You will soon realize that they are nothing but thoughts and can do you no harm.
At Windsor University School of Medicine (WUSOM), we hope that you will perform due diligence in preparing for your interview and bid adieu to those panic attacks, since our cordial interviewers are not FBI interrogators. We always welcome your questions, and are happy to address any concerns that you may have regarding the process.