Welcome to my five-part blog series on my tips and tricks for the residency interview season!
Interview season is in full swing, and these are the 3-4 months that I have been looking forward to since I applied for residency. It is an exciting and fun process, but also exhausting and repetitive. Along the way, I have made plenty of mistakes and collected many tips for surviving this unique time in med school.
I have divided this blog into several sections:
Part I – for days before and between interviews
Part II – for traveling by air
Part III – for traveling by car
Part IV – for things to bring/wear on interview day
Part V – for things to do/avoid on interview day
So without further ado – here are some of my tips for surviving the travel by car:
- Download some audiobooks
I have had to drive to several of my interviews – and there is nothing I find more mind numbing than driving (watching paint dry is a close second). After the first few hours, I feel like I have already memorized every song on the radio, and there are only so many times you can count lamp-posts or try to make anagrams of license plate numbers before you go crazy. Luckily, I’ve recently discovered the wonderful world of audio books – I just download a book before I leave, connect my phone to my car’s auxiliary cable, and let someone read my favorite stories to me. It has been lifesaving.
- Use cruise control
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but seriously – USE CRUISE CONTROL. Not only does it let you relax your poor right foot, but it also forces you to drive at the speed limit. It’s easy to start speeding up and zooming past everyone on the highway after your 4th hour on the same straight stretch of road. But, tickets are not worth it, especially while on the way to an interview– save yourself the money, stress, and time.
- Get there early
This is another one that might seem obvious – but the equation I like to use is this: calculate whatever time it takes to get to the interview (google maps is probably the greatest invention of the 21st century) PLUS 15 minutes for unexpected delays PLUS another 30 min – 1hr. Why the additional 30-60min you ask? Well if you are anything like me, you will get lost, get stuck in traffic, forget something at home, go to the wrong address, get directed to go to the wrong meeting area, not be able to convince security that you are allowed to enter, spill coffee all over yourself, etc. Making it to the interview on time, with some semblance of composure is just as important as the interview itself. So don’t be afraid to just be ridiculously early – If I end up having way too much extra time, I’ll take a nap in the car, look up the program details, answer emails, chug coffee, or check out the hospital cafeteria.