Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Little Ant (Psychiatry Residency Interview Thoughts)

Like an ant under a magnifying lens, scrutinized…waiting to be burned off, piece by piece…

That's how it felt like for me, my residency application interview, I mean.

Normally, I love interviews (I love being asked to talk), and the exchange of information up close that I get, but for some reason, this was different.

The day before the interview, I received a text message from the department telling me that I was scheduled for an interview the next day, at 10 AM. I was surprised, because the last time I heard, I was supposed to do it later in the week. As it turned out, the consultants who composed the panel were free on that day, thus the rescheduling. It made me a little nervous, but hey, I figured I'd hoof it the next day, because the interview was inevitable anyway. 

The hospital where I did the interview is a short walk from where I lived, so walking there in a dressy blouse, pencil skirt and 3 inch heels wasn't too much of a chore. I took a trusty tote along, stuffed with some make-up, breath mints, paper, a pen, Andre Agassi's autobiography, and…a diagnostic set (don't ask me

I met one of the applicants on the way inside, a guy from UP Manila. He was dressed all in black; slacks, long-sleeved shirt and shoes. Across his chest was the strap of a sling bag, also black. He was friendly enough and smiled at me, as we silently made our way up the office. He had just come from Laguna, which is quite a long way away from the hospital. 

There were only two of us scheduled to be interviewed that day, and the chief resident said he was the one to go first because my essay still had to be printed out. We waited for about an hour before we started. I got a phone call which I had to take outside because Globe's signal wasn't especially good inside the hospital. Anyway, by the time I got back, the other guy was already in the chief's office, being interviewed. 

For some reason, I had the weird kind of butterflies…they were uncertain, of different sizes, monarchs/little ones, all in different colors, different moods it seemed. I tried to play it cool by reading Andre Agassi, which calmed me somewhat, but I still had a strange feeling. I was nervous as hell, starting to sweat and my heart was starting to race, and stutter in its beats, and I tried to soothe it, and calm myself by telling myself how much I loved interviews. 

(Did it work? Lol. Nah.)

Presently, he came out, all smiles, grinning from ear to ear. LOL. Gee thanks, Man. 
He said they were cool, and mabait. Well, we'll have to see about that, I said, smiling nervously. I still had to wait a while longer because they still deliberated.

They called me in a few minutes later. I was thinking of a good theme song as a picker-upper while I walked towards the office, but rats, all I could come up was "Too Much Love Can Kill You" going over and over in my head. Hay dipuga. Tabang. Salamat na lang. 
The panel was composed of two consultants and the chief resident, all female. Normally ok, but I would have preferred if there was a male member. I can charm male panelists to a certain extent. Haha. Ok, kidding aside, I'm just comfortable with having different perspectives, that's all.

Speaking of perspectives, I felt like an ant under a magnifying lens, at noon. Everything about me had been laid bare. My grades, my personal information, my psychological test results, heck, even that 700 word autobiography that I started with a line about being a broken man (Freddy Mercury's "Too Much Love Can Kill You". )These were psychiatrists…experts in…people. (And BS.)

But there was no BS'ing bone in my body that morning. As the interview went on, I hoped I made a good impression and convinced them somewhat that I wanted to be a part of their team (so badly, I could have done Puss-in-Boot's look in Shrek if I was allowed to. Haha). Who wouldn't at least try to get into the country's best training program in Psychiatry, now, right? Afterwards, they told me they'll let me know.

(It wasn't very reassuring, I'll give you that.)

Afterwards, I walked back home, quite distraught. I was talking to my ma on the phone bemoaning the fact that perhaps I may not be good enough for them. I was fraught with insecurity. (i.e. Where did I go wrong? I knew I did ok in the exam… is violet the wrong color? Did I sweat too much? What? What?) And didn't feel at all like going out to lunch with anyone. (except… :-p)

Anyway, I slept it off and then I got a call from Sherry Mae, one of the old housemates at DB Ledesma in Iloilo. They were having lunch at the mall nearby, and wanted to see if I was free. Eeek! It was perfect! I needed familiar faces! J

I ended up going to lunch with them AND attending a Pediatrics lecture series with them at the same hospital…where I took notes, and even asked questions. ß Pettie: (on hearing me ask: Aba, si Steph yun…!) one of my seatmates asked me if I was going to be part of the first or second batch of Pedia pre-residents. And I went, "Nah, I'm applying for Psych, I just like kids, that's why I'm sitting in."


Here's something that I still think about… :-p

(One of the panelists reads off part of my essay, " I'm just pieces of the man I used to be…", so tell me, how is your love life? She asks. Uhh…I pause. Maybe she read it out of context, so…How do I go about explaining the current state of my love life? :-p 

So, I said it like it was, in the most practical way I could muster. I wasn't in a relationship currently, and had gotten over a phase, but if anything should happen, then it would. (Oh, I have a boring love life, if you only knew, Ma'am. :-p)


And Ma'am, just in case you wander into this blog anytime soon. I so badly want to be picked. You totally won't regret it. ;-)


  1. I only love job interviews for the same reason you stated, Sonia :P

    The very best of luck to you on this one.

  2. I don't know the other applicants, but I have a feeling you will be their top choice.

  3. Sonia,

    I was surprised they actually ask about a lovelife pala. If I was the one being interviewed, that would have caught me off-guard.

    I hope you get it. =)


  4. @rudeboy: right, eh? interviews are fun. i made it! thanks! :-) <-- i got a text message earlier.

    @Ric: Thanks, i don't know about being "top choice", but i did make it. :-)

    @Kane: Aww, thanks. And yes, they DO ask love life questions...i think it's just 'cause they want to know more about you, or if they want to know if there's a probability that you'll drop out just in case "something" happens in the middle of training. stuff like that. they even ask that in first year med school. :-0



Popular Posts