It’s officially 48 hours since a finished my interview at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, WV! That means I’ve replayed all the minute details in my head about 96 times and while I think the interview and situational assessments went well, I keep thinking about how I could have done better. However, at this point, all I can do is say C’est la vie and pray that in 2 weeks I receive news of my acceptance.
For those interested in WVSOM or looking for advice on how an interview goes, I hope this article helps!
I’ll be honest, this was my first time to West Virginia and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. After visiting my grandpa in Arkansas and adventures to many corners of the world, I was ready for anything. I was up at 3am and off to the airport to catch my flight!
As the plane lowered through the dense cloud cover, my eyes are glued to the window as I take in the beautiful hills laced with low lying clouds
that hugged their curves. I noticed that the towns residing in the valley were small and for that I was grateful. “I think I’m going to love this” was my first thought as I sat there with a big grin on my face. I landed in the small Charleston, WV airport and proceeded with a 2-hour drive through some heavy rain, thick fog banks, and pitch black highways until I reached the small town of Lewisburg. It must have been about 730pm and I was starving!
My dad, with one week left before he starts work after his medical leave from his heart attack, was super excited to see the school that I’ve haven’t stopped talking about for the past 2 months. I will say, as a 23-year-old future med student, I felt a little childish having my dad come with me, but I love my dad and was so glad to have shared this trip with him. He had fun exploring and now only has 3 states left to check off before he can say he’s seen ‘em all!
Anyway, we asked the hotel reception lady the best places to eat and we were off to Food and Friends downtown. (HIGHLY recommend eating here, the bread…. OhMyGoodness THE BREAD IS AMAZING!!) Now 9pm and starting to rain again, we drove over to scope out the campus. I’ve watched just about every YouTube video and read a good handful of personal accounts of the campus and I was still blown away at how beautiful, welcoming, and safe it all felt. (I mention “safe” because I was there late on a dark stormy night and the campus was well lit and there were a few people around. Mothers like to know these things.)
As I mentioned in my last article HERE, I won’t be able to tell you what went on behind closed doors, but here’s the general layout.
7:30 – Doors Open at the Admissions Building and I enter with shaky hands and a mixture of excitement and nerves
8-10am – The 6 of us interview individually with a small panel of doctors and admission admin.
10-11:40am – We walk over as a group to the Clinical Eval Center, have a quick tour, and start our way through the SAEs.
11:40-2pm – Now with the hard part done, we tour the rest of the campus to see the lecture halls, anatomy lab, and a few other main buildings. We also have lunch with a few 2nd year med students where we picked their brains for a solid 50mins. At the end, we all had our pictures taken for our ID cards if we get accepted.
It was a long day, but I think it all went by so quickly!! The president of WVSOM was under the weather so sadly we didn’t get to meet him, but he sounds like such an amazing guy. Apparently not only is he a physician and president of a med school, but he is a lawyer and a magician that stars in a PBS kids show where he does magic tricks to teach kids how to eat healthily. #toocool
Traditional Interview Setting:
Ok back to the nitty gritty. The interview with the panel was very traditional. I had prepared by reviewing and collecting my thoughts on some major issues, both political and personal, such as “Why do you want to be a DO” and thoughts about the Affordable Care Act, vaccinations, etc. As nervous as I was, I think it went well. There were some things I wish I could have talked about more, such as how I want to use my love of aviation to fly to rural areas in need of medical care, more about my life altering experiences at Camp Korey, or my travels. Sadly, I think my nerves got to me and for some reason or another, I didn’t talk about these like I wanted to. Overall, the interview was more like a conversation/”get to know you” environment. There were some more serious questions and one that kind of threw me off. Like I said earlier though, I’ve reviewed this in my head about 96 times and though it might not have been my best interview ever, I think I did well and hope that conveyed my passion for people and medicine.
After getting to know the school, its opportunities, the area, and the people, I LOVE this school and would be crazy not to want to go there. I still chuckle at how surprised the interview panel was when I told them Lewisburg had a bigger downtown than my small town in CA. (Goes to show that a bigger population doesn’t mean everything.) #ruralmedicinerocks #inlovewithsmalltowns
SAE = Standardized Applicant Encounters:
This is similar to an MMI. Since we had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, I can’t share what exactly happened. If you’re the type of person, like me, who likes to be prepared for everything, you can review other articles about MMI’s or ethical scenarios. Overall, the best thing you can do is be yourself and if you’re a half decent person, you’ll be ok. I promise! 🙂
The SAE’s took place in the Clinical Evaluation Center which is my new FAVORITE thing! WVSOM has 24 robotic training patients that they can program to have certain symptoms. There is an infant, 2 children of varying ages, several adult models, and 2 that simulate birth! My favorite was a military grade patient that they take out side to practice wilderness triage to be prepared for lost limbs, tourniquets, and general rescue procedures as they will sometimes have this one lost in a cave or by a river.
For the rest of the tour, you get to see there two lecture halls and proceed to their anatomy lab. The anatomy lab was another awesome building where you can see how much WVSOM cares for their students. There are 50 tables with 4 students per donor. Though it might sound crowded and smelly, WVSOM has a TV monitor at every table so the instructor can show you what to look at and how to do things without everyone crowding one table. There are also personal vents at each table that clear out the lovely formaldehyde smell. I really liked that there also windows so it doesn’t feel like you’re stuck in a basement for hours on end.
I definitely also have to mention the Admissions Program Coordinator who was giving us the tour is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met! All throughout the tour we were talking about the area, the weather (which was in the mid 30’s, overcast, and breezy), and how much I loved the campus. In fact, everyone I met at the school, students and faculty were very welcoming.
Once the tour was over, I met up with my dad who had explored the whole town and we went off to see Carnegie Hall, the North House museum, a few antique stores, the Wild
Bean (great coffee shop where all the med students go! I saw some in white coats and felt like I just saw a celebrity!), a Confederate grave yard, and further down the road, the Greenbrier River Trail and a house made out of 30 tons of West Virginian coal. Since our plane left at 2:30pm the following day, we had time to check out The Greenbrier (something I recommend to any history buff). The massive white resort is the spot where past “Gone with the Wind” era high society and modern society go to relax. There is also a declassified cold war bunker hidden below!!!
The Greenbriar and sulfur spring gazebo sought for its “healing powers”
Since this was my first interview, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was completely blown away by how amazing this school is and would love to go here if I got accepted. It takes about 2 weeks to hear a decision so we will see what happens! 🙂
Alright, now that you’ve read through one of my longest blog posts yet and I could keep on writing, I want to thank you all for keeping up with my journey and encourage you to tell your friends to follow my blog! I hope this info helped you in some way, if not to at least book a ticket to Lewisburg, WV which by the way was rated the #1 coolest small town in America in 2011.
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