Wow, it’s day two of the new semester and I’m already behind on my resolutions. It’s been well over a week since I’ve updated. How embarrassing.

My first day back included the age-old ritual of taking prospective postbac applicants out to lunch. For anyone who might not have gone through the whole “interviewing at an academic institution” deal (for my own part I missed out on it when applying to undergrad), most of the day is generally devoted to touring the campus, sitting in on a class and having lunch with a few members of the current class before or after the actual interviews.

I am not really a fan of the process and managed to go through it only once when applying to postbac programs (at a school I ultimately chose not to attend.) I found myself seated across from a second applicant; a financier from New York dressed in a sharp suit who spoke extensively about his volunteer work in the Emergency Department of a hospital near his home. I, on the other hand, having grossly underestimated the caliber of program to which I was applying, was dressed in my work clothes, having driven straight from teaching a class, and was acutely aware that my lack of volunteer experience was the biggest hole in my application.

We were then herded to a “sample” class. This turned out to be organic chemistry. If you don’t know anything about organic chemistry, as I didn’t at the time, it is not a subject easily entered mid-topic, even with a decent understanding of general chemistry. For someone who hadn’t taken a science class in over seven years, it was akin to watching an incredibly boring movie in Japanese – without a bathroom break. “It’s okay if you don’t understand anything,” our student ambassadors told us before we sat down. Well sure, great, no pressure. But what exactly am I supposed to be learning about the school sitting on my butt for an hour and fifteen minutes listening to gibberish? It certainly didn’t help that the students seemed only marginally more confidant with the material.

And so by the time I reached the actual interview portion of my “interview day,” I was utterly relieved to just sit down and answer questions. I’m good at talking about myself, I’m passionate about wanting to be a doctor, and, all evidence of the day to the contrary, I was really sure that I would make this program proud if they let me in.

Needless to say, it was not a disappointment when my schedule prevented me from repeating the experience with the other programs. (Although one was a phone interview, a different but equally awkward experience.)

As it turns out, I don’t mind the experience nearly so much from the other side of things. First of all, you get a free lunch out of the deal. As a student living off loans, free food always seems like a good idea. Second, as previously noted, I don’t have any problem talking about myself or reflecting on my experience in the program. I’m at my most optimistic when answering questions about classes, shadowing and applying to medical school. And none of this has to be done solo, because they always ask two postbacs to go to lunch together. Everyone wins!

It was actually rather nice way to ease back into the semester; a break in the midst of trying to fit back into a now unfamiliar schedule. I suppose I should enjoy it while it lasts. By spring I will become a prospective student again and a few months after that it will be back to enduring the interview day all over again.

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