Earlier this month, I was accepted into the Pre-Medical Applicant Pathway program (First blog post-Accepted) or P-MAP, a twelve month master’s program whereupon completion, I will receive a Master’s of Science in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and matriculate into UofA’s medical school.
The application process was rigorous. It took me about a month to complete my application, not because the essay questions were particularly difficult but because it was hard to comb through my life and pick out the events I should discuss. Out of all the applicants, only thirty-three were selected for the interview stage, so when I got an invite, I was ecstatic!
The interview was a stress fest. It was one hour and forty minutes long. There were ten rooms with an interviewer in each room (one room was a break station). We had nine minutes at each station–two minutes to read over a prompt that posed an ethical dilemma or scenario, or personal question and prepare an answer. Then, we would enter the room with the interviewer and over the next seven minutes, we would answer the prompt with a logical explanation. The interviewer then asked follow-up questions, forcing you to defend your position or they would add a twist to the scenario and ask what you would now do.
It sounds simple but having to figure out an intelligent, well-rationalized answer in minutes was not easy. I’m not allowed to disclose the prompts that were used in the interview but I can say that some were straightforward while others were intentionally ambiguous so to test your ability to think quickly under stress. At some stations, those seven minutes just stretched out to eternity, and I would start to think someone forgot to check the time. In other rooms, the seven minutes flashed by and I’d find myself still talking when the bell chimed to let us know time was up.
In addition to the application, I was required to have three letters of reference. Honestly, I think these letters played a huge role in my selection as a candidate. I ended up with five references: Kase, who I have known all my life and whom I have volunteered under for our annual Tongan youth camp programs, Julia, my A&P teacher who asked me to become a tutor for the course, Dr. Dinsdale, the first person to challeng me to dream bigger and consider becoming a physician, Dr. McNulty, a fantastic ED doctor I currently work with and Dr. Kay, another ED doctor who has become my mentor.
Overall, I strongly feel that God’s hand was leading me throughout this process… but I will share that story another time.