Walking into the University of Vermont College of Medicine on a snowy Vermont winter morning as a medical school applicant, I was instantly overwhelmed by the sea of interviewees. I had already been to a number of medical school interviews, but none of them had as many applicants. Everyone I met during the pre-interview day breakfast seemed so friendly and impressive. How was I ever going to stand out? A simple ice breaker game in smaller groups, combined with meeting a very personable first-year student ambassador, thankfully began to lessen my anxiety, and it soon began to feel more like the tight-knit community that I have grown to realize is intrinsic to UVM.
The teamwork activity put me completely at ease prior to beginning the multiple mini interview, or MMI, portion of my interview day. I recall sitting down with my team and saying, “let’s get all of us into medical school” with a big grin across my face. I felt an instant connection with my team, and a sense of community. Before entering the Larner classroom for our teamwork activity, we even did a team cheer! Looking back, the teamwork activity has transcended interview day, and really spoke to the collaborative nature that UVM strives to instill in its medical students.
During the MMI portion of the day, all of the interviewers were personable and made me feel at ease amid the seemingly high stress situation. I still remember animatedly discussing my research with Dr. Jaworski at one of the stations, and thinking how lucky I would be to have the opportunity to learn from the professors at UVM. I was stunned at how comfortable I felt during the entirety of the interview process, and how I left the MMI feeling that I was truly myself in my conversations.
With the evaluation portion of the day completed, I was able to further relax and talk with current medical students about their experiences at UVM. I recall being impressed with all of medical students I met, and feeling that I could really fit in here. That afternoon we listened to a talk from the senior associate dean of medical education, and attended a session on technology and its role in medicine at UVM, in addition to many other sessions. One of the more memorable and powerful sessions of the day was the presentation on diversity and inclusion. Addressing this topic on an interview day was completely unexpected but highlighted the values of UVM. Discussing the health care disparities faced by the LGBTQ community struck a cord with me, as my previous medical volunteering experiences serving underserved communities had shaped my decision to pursue a career in medicine. As a wrap up to the day, all of the interviewees were treated to a genuine taste of Vermont: warm apple cider and cider donuts.
Driving home from my interview day, I remember grinning ear to ear the whole way. It was an odd sensation, but I left feeling that I had actually had fun at my interview, a feeling I would have never associated with the medical school admissions process. I felt like the UVM College of Medicine was a great fit for me, and I hoped I’d be lucky enough to gain admission. As a result of what a positive experience I had on my interview day here, I have been determined to be involved in admissions to help new interviewees have the same experience that I was fortunate enough to have. I think that my interview day at UVM was the perfect first impression of the type of medical education I would receive, and thus far, my experiences here have far exceeded anything I could have imagined.