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Staying Calm and Confident During an Interview

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I love meeting new people, and making new friends and getting to know others. But when it comes to an interview, I just shut down. Especially when it’s something important and can determine where I end up in my future, I can feel the pressure. The butterflies churn away, the palms are drenched, and I start rambling and smiling  like I’ve taken a few shots (*note, I’ve never taken shots before an interview, nor do I encourage you to do so before one. But if you do or have done so before, I would love to hear your stories). Regardless, when it comes to interviews, the best advice I’ve gotten is be yourself and enjoy the moment. Practically speaking, it’s really hard to “be yourself” when you’re trying to sell yourself so what I mean by  “be yourself” is don’t lie. It makes you look silly, and they can tell when you’re lying.  Talk about your strengths, and spin your weaknesses into something that makes you still look strong and confident. It’s okay to be nervous during an interview. At the same time, be proud of yourself. You’ve made it this far, that’s an important achievement. So here’s are some tricks to try before an interview. Sometimes it works for me, and sometimes I’m still left with a bunch of butterflies:

1. Eat a good breakfast. And by this I mean like a real meal, not some yogurt and cheesestick and a banana. These med interviews run long, and they don’t feed you till late or if at all. And they may or may not have snacks. So plan accordingly. Bring snacks, and gum or breath mints.

2. Burn off excessive stress by going for a run before the interview or fitting in a quick crossfit WOD.

3. Listen to peppy/ upbeat music. (some people choose jazz, and country, and other soothing music. Choose what feeds your soul, and makes you confident and calm. I prefer my Backstreet Boys and N’sync, but to each his own 😀  )

4. Call your mom, dad, significant other, best friend or someone whom you love before the day starts. They feed your ego, and make you feel important.

5. Girls: wear your sexiest undergarment; Boys: wear your lucky underoos or charm bracelet or watch or whatever; but take that extra 15 or 45 minutes to look good. When you feel confident, you exude confidence. And confidence = power to success.

6. Right before an interview starts, step into the bathroom, and give yourself a pep talk. Builder statements: absolutely nothing negative. You’ve worked hard, you know you deserve this. Sounds cheesy, but truly effective.

7. Do your research about the school/program. What makes you a perfect fit for that school. What draws you to their program? Let your passion shine through. It’s okay to not know an answer, you can always change the direction of the conversation.

8. Make friends with the other interviewees. Get to know them. This distracts me from my nervousness, and like I said, I really do like getting to know people.

9. Smile. even if you have to fake it. Keep smiling. It releases endorphins…those happy molecules that zaps cortisol (the pesky stress molecules) .

10. Plan something fun for post-interview. Whether it is celebratory shots or  dinner at a nice restaurant or doing something extreme like skydiving; have something fun to look forward to after a long and stressful day.

Facing my fear of heights.

Facing my fear of heights. (*note: this was not done after any of my interviews. Though I would like to do this again soon)

Lastly, take it from me,  it’s probably not wise to drink 4 cups of coffee and a huge bottle of water right before an interview. I don’t know about you, but that coffee just makes me all jittery, and do the bathroom dance. like I said before, “Be yourself”, and have fun! Ask lots of questions to the current students, and get to know the school. See if it really is the right match for you, and whether you’ll be happy there for the next 4 years. You’re the one paying for that hefty price tag, make it worth your money and time! Here’s a great video to motivate you to feel confident, even if you have fake it: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc)

And enough of this med school talk. I’ll be back with more healthy choices soon. Good luck. And take care! 🙂

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