I planned to open this blog post with ‘A sigh of relief’, but decided that connotes negativity. So I’ve settled with:
A sigh of satisfaction. After a fleeting visit to Oxford, I am home. In the space of 26 hours, I had four interviews; two with Worcester College and two with St Anne’s College. Despite its intensity, I can’t deny that I had an awesome time. Living the life of an Oxford student, with my own room, the quaint city at my doorstep and the opportunity to discuss what I love best with experts in their field, I probably enjoyed myself more than I ought!
After enduring the Piccadilly line with very ‘severe delays’, the Victoria line, Bakerloo Line and a national rail train all the time with a broken-handled suitcase trailing awkwardly behind me, my welcome was warm. I was promptly shown to my room by a student helper at Worcester. Throughout my stay friendliness oozed from every student helper and fellow interviewee I spoke to, debunking the myth that all those who go to Oxford are ‘toffs’. Yes, I’m sure there are some pompous kids amongst the cohort who need their shoe shoved up their bottom, but the majority were and are great people. Fellow candidates and I even set up a Facebook group!
I was slightly dreading the interviews, with peers’ horror stories at the forefront of my mind…
“They asked me why the sea is blue,” Vivien told me.
“They gave me a molecule and asked me what it was,” my own doctor told me.
Rumour had it they ask how you can measure the weight of your head… is it even possible?!!
Surprisingly my wonky expectations were set straight. The questions were tricky, yes, but not impossible. I wasn’t grilled by petrifying professors- they were all incredibly welcoming! And so were the plump, velvet armchairs! Forget the flimsy plastic seats you get in MMIs…
For those unfamiliar with medical school interviews, MMIs (multiple mini interviews) are the newer, more popular style of interviews. Think speed-dating, but rather than circulating through potential partners, you circulate through a series of interviewers, who ask different questions or propose tasks for you. Each station lasts about 7 minutes.
With traditional interviews you have roughly 20 minutes with a panel of one or more interviewers. This is the preferred style by Oxford (and me too!). 20 minutes gives you time to build a rapport with the interviewer; both parties can assess each other. Quite frankly, I feel MMIs are a bit rude; once your seven minutes are up, you are practically told to shut up and move on!! Speed-dating or speedy break-up?
Sorry, I digressed. Back to Oxford…
The city was beautiful. Dotted with ancient architecture, retro cinemas and playhouses, modern restaurants and funky pop-up shops, you can wander to one’s heart’s content. Carol singers entertained at the corner of the street to collect money for the homeless. Their christmas joy was contagious and so was passersby’s generosity.
Part of me hates the fact I got an interview. Rejection is highly likely, given the competition and my disastrous first interview. I fell in love with Oxford and was on cloud ninety-nine, but keep reminding myself that the higher I get, the further I have to fall. I suppose the experience was good enough in itself. I met inspiring people, tasted independence and ultimately had the best time ever! I might not get an offer, but no one can take away my interview experience!