I am a miracle made up of particles and in this existence I'll stay persistent and I'll make a difference and I will have lived it - Medicine for the People

Interview Day At The University of Vermont College of Medicine

Friday, January 3, 2014

I'm sure many of my poor readers have lost hope that I would ever actually post this but GUESS WHAT, YOU WERE WRONG! And that's good news for everyone :)

Unfortunately I underestimated how incredibly busy I would be for the holidays with work and a very much needed trip to Boston to visit friends during which I did not get anything productive done (unless you count R&R which I think is pretty important!). I finally arrived home yesterday after a very long and convoluted return journey that included an unplanned stopover in Minneapolis due to a mad storm buffeting Chicago and although there's about a foot of snow outside I'm really glad to be back.

Mostly though, I'm glad that I finally have time to sit down and write about my UVM interview! I know it's been a long time in coming but better late than never I suppose.

I have to admit that I was incredibly nervous for this interview for several reasons. One being that I had to travel to get there and during the winter flying, especially to tiny airports in New England, can be very unreliable. Also, the disappointing news I had recently received from Rush had really been quite a blow to my self-confidence. Having a school reject you outright (as opposed to just putting you on a waitlist or, ideally, accepting you) is akin to having someone important that you like and respect very much tell you point blank that you aren't good enough to fraternize with and it's more than a little tough to get over. I know that's not the truth of it but that's just how it feels. With that in mind, I'm sure you can imagine my anxiety at the thought of going through the same process of interviewing at a school that I was really interested in and then facing the possibility of being rejected again. 

Early on in the day, my experience at UVM quickly dissipated all of those feelings. I had arrived in Vermont quite late so I didn't attend the optional class with a medical student that was offered and instead got to campus around 8:45 AM. I checked in at the admissions office and then had a few minutes to wait and mingle with other students who were also slightly early. There was an M2 (I think?) that several students had attended class with around to answer questions and I just hopped right into the discussion which didn't faze her a bit.

At about 9:30 AM the group of us (which had grown to about 16, maybe?) were ushered into a small conference room where we were greeted by a representative from the admissions office. I have to say here that Liz was without a doubt the friendliest person I have ever encountered during this application cycle. I had emailed with her previously regarding a question I had about my application and her prompt and helpful response was very much appreciated. It was very clear during her introduction that she was genuinely interested in making the process as stress-free for us as possible and I appreciated her attitude so much. It was truly refreshing. She immediately put everyone at ease and the relief in the room was palpable when she explained that UVM was really looking to make the day a positive experience for everyone.

The rest of the morning proceeded much like it had at the Rush interview. There were talks with a representative from financial aid, the dean of medical education, and (most interestingly) someone from technology services. This is where I got hooked. Not only does UVM have an amazing and unique curriculum that they are incredibly proud of, they have a history of utilizing technology to assist students in learning as effectively as possible. I won't go into details of the VIC - Vermont Integrated Curriculum - except to say that they are constantly working to improve it (you can take a peek at some info here) and that while some of their practices and scheduling may be unusual when compared to other schools, UVM's results, scores, and satisfaction rate among students are impressive to say the least. Most of all though I was impressed by the opportunities and encouragement for research and assisted learning. When we heard from a woman who worked with the office of technology I was excited to see that the medical school was intent on taking advantage of the latest and greatest in modern tech for learning as well as for research. I'm interested in informatics research so I especially liked that they heavily focus on use of electronic medical records, meaningful use etc. As a bonus, they provide laptops to every student free of charge, a fact that I particularly appreciated since they offer full service for your laptop throughout your four years at the school and I am notoriously terrible with electronics!

After the talks and a lot of sitting we were taken on a tour of the college of medicine which was probably my favorite part of the whole day. UVM boasts a high-tech sim lab as well as state of the art classrooms and I was undeniably impressed by the facilities. It was so comforting to look out the windows and see such beautiful and familiar territory - Fletcher Allen, Lake Champlain, the mountains. I felt like I was home. The best part of the tour came right at the end when we were introduced to the MAP (Mindful Awareness and Practice) room in the student lounge aka the napping room. I think it was then that I fell in love.

This post is getting pretty long so I'm going to cut it off here and pick up with the rest of the day starting at lunch with an awesome group of M2 students. As always, feel free to comment!

UVM, University of Vermont, College of Medicine
Did I mention the campus is beautiful?


Anonymous said...

I'm happy you had a really nice interview experience! Just reading this post brought back all of the feelings I had during several of my interviews. I remember feeling nervous as I sat amongst the other interviewees, the awkward silence that mingled among us, occasionally broken by conversation starters that either garnered a few laughs for carried out for a bit before falling flat. The description of being ushered into a small conference room is especially accurate. It appears much of the day goes similarly at many many schools. I ended up choosing the school where I felt the most comfortable throughout the interview day. There's something about feeling like you're home that helps you make the right decision. Also, don't feel bad about Rush. I applied their my first time around and was basically told I would be rejected even if I sent in the secondary and paid the fee. They didn't even go so far as to try to know me as a person before telling me I didn't have a chance. When schools emphasize scores over the individual and their success, it's probably safe to say that you won't feel valued at their program anyway. I look forward to the coming months to hear about receiving your acceptance!

Unknown said...

Thanks for your kind words! They are really encouraging to hear. Also, I'm surprised at your experience with Rush because they really seemed to emphasize getting to know the individual (although I was definitely rejected so I'm not sure if they really follow through on that). I noticed that you mentioned applying your "first time around" - did you apply to med school twice? I'm curious because I'm considering the possibility that I will need to do that and would love some advice!

Unknown said...

Please keep sharing.

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