Dear Doctors,

What support systems are out there for medical students preparing for interviews and going through the match? I am an Afro-Caribbean woman and I don’t want to lose myself during this process. I’ve read many books and articles and they always say “be yourself”…. but in the same way, they say to dress a certain way and don’t say certain things. My first interview is Wednesday and i really want to stay true to myself but i don’t know if that will be enough. Do you have advice?

Confused


Hi Confused,

First of all, welcome to the Med Like Me community! Thank you so much for submitting your question.

Many articles have been written about the “right way” to interview. If you read enough of them, it’s easy to feel like you have to be a different person in order to succeed on the interview trail.

There are some things that are clear cut: don’t wear low cut or revealing clothes, be on time, be polite… Everyone can agree that these things are important.

But you are asking about something much more nuanced. To what extent can we be ourselves during interviews when we don’t fit the mold of a “typical” doctor?

My advice is to be you, and let the chips fall where they may. Rock your natural hair (if you’re natural and you choose to wear it that way). Talk about the things that actually matter to you- not just what you think interviewers what to hear. Let all your afro- Caribbean goodness shine, whatever that means for you.

Will some stuffy programs/ interviewers not like it? Maybe. But TRUST ME when we tell you, you don’t want to end up at a program like that anyway.

It’s a risk to go through medical training and be your authentic self. Especially when you are in training. You risk standing out. You risk being judged. But you also get to sleep a hell of a lot better at night.

In the long run, it’s better not to compromise your integrity. For anyone or anything. 

And it gets easier. Now that I’m an attending, I see clearly that I wasted too much time in training worrying about how my blackness would be perceived

The fact is, you have a unique perspective that will only make you a better doctor. You belong in medicine.

Be you. And be proud! We’re certainly proud of you!


Best,

– Dr. Brandi

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