Common Medical School Interview Question #1
"Tell me about yourself"
I grew up in the small south-western town of Leamington, Ontario in a large Dutch family. Not only did my parents have 5 kids, with me being the oldest, we were always surrounded by our cousins, aunts, grandparents, so it was never a dull moment. Ito this day, I love being sociable and find it easy to connect with all sorts of people.
My family are farmers, so my childhood was spent in greenhouses and fields, surrounded by produce and flowers. Since then, I have had an affinity for nature. My large family and I took the boat out to Peele Island a few times a month to bike around the beaches, the orchards and bakeries, and to study the unique flora and fauna of the island. It was then that I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to the study of living things – their world was my world, and I never separated the two.
Not surprisingly, my love of flowers, critters, snakes, and bugs led to my great love of biology as a discipline. I excelled in my science studies in high school and attended Biology Olympiads across Ontario. My teachers encouraged me to attend university and dedicate my life to science. I was accepted to every university I applied to but decided to pursue a biology major at the University of Toronto, where I received a generous entrance scholarship.
I did not have one of these “eureka” moments people speak about when they tell the story of why they decided to become a doctor, but the more I studied my favorite discipline at UofT, the more I turned my outlook inward. The complexity of human organism fascinated me and led me to enroll more and more in courses related to human anatomy. My love and dedication to the subject resulted in A+ in Human Anatomy and Histology, as well as in Human Embryology and Anatomy Dissection. My professor in two of these courses, Dr. Amin Kroll, invited me to become his lab assistant in 3rd year of my undergrad. Since then, I have become a senior research and lab assistant for Dr. Kroll.
My research articles on oncology in children in the Journal of Modern Medicine and the Journal of Medical Cases demonstrate that I am curious, meticulous, and dedicated to this career path. But what inspires me, and why I spent my time on research, is the people I will be serving. My oncology research was greatly influenced by my experiences working as a clinical assistant at Sick Kid’s hospital, where I tended to multiple young patients with oncology. Their experiences ignited a flame in me that cannot be diminished.
So, I think if I had to characterize myself in one word, it would be passionate. I will be a dedicated and attentive medical professional, finding joy and meaning in my work. Just like my 10-year-old self, who did not separate myself from the world outside of me, I will find wonder and joy in making the lives of my patients healthier and happier.