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I naively expected that interviewing for medical school would be a cross between the PBS science series "Nova" and the Phil Donahue show. I had no idea I was to make a special appearance on the "Twilight Zone."
"You're Jewish, aren't you?" asked one of my student hosts as we sped along the highway. "Because we have a lot of Jews here. And they sure stick together, those Jews. They say we exclude them, but let me tell you something. They exclude us!"
"Let me ask you a relaxing question," said another interviewer with a perverted smile peeking across his lips. "You win a lottery. But it's no ordinary lottery. As a winner, you get to choose to eat dinner with two people from all of history. Who would you choose? Why do you choose them? And what would you serve?"
Me, puzzled: "Can I invite them on different nights?"
Him, screaming: "Not in this type of lottery!"
"So what do you think about Yale Medical School?" demanded one interviewer. A reasonable question, except that he was not from Yale Medical School. For 30 harrowing minutes, I tried to explain my ignorance of my interviewer's beloved alma mater. Finally, he asked me if I had any questions. I asked him what he thought about the medical campus I was visiting.
"Not up to par," he whispered. "The students are second-rate."
Truly surreal are the organized tours of medical school campuses. Expecting to find bubbly hosts who "couldn't imagine themselves anywhere else," I've encountered nothing short of the living dead at some schools. One med student--so overworked from classes and labs--stood the group in the center of campus, pointed in various directions and narrated: "Hospital...library...student center...okay? I need some #&"**"! rest."
Another tour consisted of a fiendish second-year bringing us into an anatomy lab and throwing body parts at us. "Kidney!... [whack]... Heart... [whack]... What are you? A little squeamish?
There was only one question I had after living through an interview at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning in which a hungover ophthalmologist asked me to whisper. Only one thing nagged my mind after a doctor lectured me for 45 minutes on why he would never let his son enter medicine. (Every time I tried to say anything, he just raised his voice to drown me out.)
If this is just applying... what's medical school like?
Joshua M. Sharfstein '91, The Crimson's editorial chair, is looking forward to medical school.
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