This week I had my third of four interviews. It feels so strange to be in a position where I have four interviews, considering in the past two cycles I received zero. I feel blessed to be at the final hurdle for the maximum numbers of universities, now I just need those offer emails to come through.
My third interview was at Swansea, and was the most important interview so far for me. It feels a bit hopeless to set your heart on any specific university for medicine due to the low chance of it becoming a reality. Yet, Swansea appeals to me on so many levels. The staff and students are so enthusiastic about the university and feel so genuine and welcoming. There is early and consistent clinical exposure, I think it’s so important to have the same pair(s) of eyes seeing your development over a longer period, rather than hopping from GP practice to practice, or ward to ward where doctors and other teaching staff don’t get to know you well enough to either care, or truly see your progression. CBL and the Spiral curriculum seem like such a better fit for me when compared to PBL, it seems like a great way to retain knowledge by slowly revisiting topics and building upon them over time. Finally, Swansea is beautiful, the city centre won’t win any awards for eccentricity but the beaches, bays, walks, and other countryside will make for a real breath of fresh air during difficult times.
Swansea was also the only non-MMI interview out of the four. It was nice to spend some time and have a bit of back and forth with the interviewers and to receive good follow up questions to some of my answers. Whilst the interview wasn’t as laid back as some people had shared (and one of the interviewers I had was rather grilling) it still felt a lot more comfortable than the MMI interviews I have had so far. When I started this process I loved the idea of MMI interviews, I thought that the opportunity to set multiple first impressions and to meet various interviewers would be a great experience and a good way to conduct an interview. However, in reality, the time constraints are just at the forefront of the whole process. When you have 6-8 minutes to answer one or more questions, or tackle a scenario, you have to work very quickly which leaves very little time to build any rapport with the interviewer and to elaborate further on any interesting points. Whilst this may allow for a more detached way of interviewing, sometimes this can feel a bit robotic. This was the case with St George’s where the interviewers don’t respond to your answers, or really follow anything up (although some of them are quite kind with their body language, lots of nodding and smiling, etc). Although, I didn’t feel the St George’s interview was the ‘horrorshow’ that others have described online or in person.
Now it is time to focus on the final interview, which is at Nottingham. The first year I applied my heart was set on Nottingham (Swansea and Warwick were not viable options then), but since I have looked more into the differences between CBL and PBL I feel as though I would much rather prefer a CBL university. Alongside this, both Swansea and Warwick are graduate only courses, which means no mingling with a group of undergraduates. As a more mature student this appeals to me greatly, whilst there is lots to learn from younger students, there is also a level of naivety from younger students who have yet to step out into the working world, which can sometimes be unbearable.
Regardless, the downsides to any of these courses are only incredibly minor. The level and quantity of work will most likely overshadow many of the small differences between these universities, yet being in the most comfortable and appropriate environment as possible can help make a big difference to your mental health and personal well being.
Ultimately, beggars can’t be choosers, and if any of these universities give me an offer I will gladly bite their hand off at the opportunity.