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Interview questions on marriages etc.

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by BrainOnFire, 02.10.12.

  1. BrainOnFire

    BrainOnFire The plural of Jew is Argument

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    Can some non-trads discuss what sorts of questions they've been asked about their personal lives by the interviewers? How many women were asked (either directly or indirectly) whether they'd stop being doctors to make babies? How many tries did it take them to believe your answer? Did you need to reassure the ADCOM that your spouse was going to move with you and/or was supportive?

    A bit more targeted: is it worth it for me to try and swap gender pronouns, or at least swallow my pronouns, if I'm asked anything like this? If I don't altogether pretend my wife is a man, should I not use the word "wife"? We're legally married and that is what I call her. However, that might be too charged of a word. Do I use partner instead?
  2. dmf2682

    dmf2682

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    IIRC you're still taking classes, and are either applying this coming cycle or the next. So it's not really an issue right now because you have no interviews in the near future. And it probably won't be an issue. 99% sure that they won't ask if you will stop being a doc to make babies. And if they did I doubt they'd ask or care about your female-female legal marriage, let alone if you're using the right pronouns. I suspect you know this too and are trying to get attention.
  3. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016

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    :thumbup:

    you see a lot of homosexuals chastise people about heterosexism, but you don't see a lot of homosexuals perpetuating heterosexism.
  4. Northwesterly

    Northwesterly

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    Don't under any circumstances (well, maybe if you're interviewing at Loma Linda? :laugh:) swap pronouns. You'll probably stumble, or at least sound awkward and weird. As long as you don't start talking about your *wives*, you should be fine.
  5. BrainOnFire

    BrainOnFire The plural of Jew is Argument

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    I like to plan ahead! I'm even writing my personal statements because writing is more fun than studying for ochem. :(

    Also, assume for a moment that the pre-allos aren't all compulsive liars. Then, do a search for "personal interview questions" and see what comes up. In this thread, for example

    I'm trying to figure out if that is common, somewhat uncommon, or an outlier.

    As for the gay and attention thing: Ever been in a circle of people chatting about what they did this weekend?
    Person 1: Oh, my husband and I went to this great restaurant, (whatever).
    Me: Really? I've been waiting to take my wife there! Is it good?
    Person 1: *uncomfortable pause*

    I have! It's not actually fun for me to watch people get slightly twitchy when I refer to my spouse in an appropriate social frame. I'm hardly out and proud in the workplace, but I like to refer to my spouse as much as other people do. Apparently, though, that's "looking for attention". There's a large contingent of people who believe in gay marriage but don't want it called that; using the word wife could trigger their annoyance. There have been rumors that ADCOMs are conservative. Please feel free to disprove any of these!
  6. dmf2682

    dmf2682

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    If it's not fun for you to watch people get twitchy about it and you think adcoms are conservative I don't really see any question here.

    When I said you were looking for attention I didn't mean that the act of referring to your partner as your wife is, but I was referring to your question. You bring up several points (most of which I agree with, by the way) that all favor one side of an argument with a seemingly obvious conclusion. Then ask an obvious question that anyone who can put 2+2 could answer. Why?
  7. BrainOnFire

    BrainOnFire The plural of Jew is Argument

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    Mostly because I'd like some stories from others who have been in my future position about how they handled it. Did they use "partner" instead of husband? Were there any weird follow-up questions? Was there the feeling that the interview was going great until then? I should have worded the question better.
  8. wholeheartedly

    wholeheartedly Moderator

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    I guess I didn't really see that as a question to get attention, just looking for people's experiences with this. The answer might seem obvious based on how she feels but she might just be looking for experiences that confirm or refute that so she'll feel more comfortable when the time comes for interviews. I still come across posts about people getting asked about whether they'll stop practicing medicine to have kids and so on. Just because they shouldn't ask doesn't mean they don't.

    Anyway, OP, there used to be groups on SDN and in the GLBT group there was a discussion about GLBT friendly schools and some stuff came up about interviews. Unfortunately I think those are gone now. I think it's all going to depend on the individual interviewer and climate where you're interviewing. Some of the posts indicated it was seen as very positive when the interview found out, like 'oooh diversity' and others didn't really matter one way or another. It seemed the students were selective about where they felt comfortable mentioning partners and what not. I think the few awkward moments that came up were more like the student mentioned a relationship, the interviewer assumed opposite gender and said something like, "oh, does he like cycling too?" and then the student felt awkward and clarified because they didn't want to be dishonest. I think the interviewer's responses varied from "oh, sorry, does she like cycling?" to some awkwardness on the interviewers part.

    I'd say if you're not comfortable, don't bring it up. If they ask maybe just try being brief. Just say you don't see it interfering, or that you've been married for awhile and have a really good support system if you did decide to have kids, etc. Then try to steer the topic elsewhere. While you might get asked, I don't think you'll get grilled on it. I think switching pronouns is a bad idea, swallowing them is still tricky.

    edit: there are some threads if you use the google search. this one gets into it just a tad and is recent: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/archive/index.php/t-788747.html
    Last edited: 02.11.12
  9. thlaxer

    thlaxer Passable Paperweight

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    Hi OP, I applied this past cycle and came out in many of my secondaries (mostly in the ones that asked about diversity). I didn't make a huge deal out of it, mainly just stated I was proud to be part of the LGBTQ community and that was it. Like you, I was told that medicine is still a very conservative profession. Because of this, I was unsure of how adcoms would react to my being gay. Luckily, from my experiences at least, my coming out has been received very positively by many schools (note: I applied mostly to schools in the Midwest and Northeast).

    Several interviewers took the initiative and asked me about when I knew I was gay, why I decided to come out to my family, etc. I don't believe they were asking these questions with a malicious intent, I felt that they genuinely wanted to get to know who I am as a person. I'm very comfortable with who I am and most of my interviewers really appreciated my honesty during our discussion.

    I wouldn't purposely emphasize your sexuality on your application (unless you are heavily involved in the LGBT community), because you might give off the impression that you're playing the 'gay card.' At the same time, I don't feel that you should hide who you are if asked about it by an interviewer. I completely agree with wholeheartedly that you shouldn't try to swap pronouns. It might make you seem insecure and not genuine, which definitely aren't impressions you want to give off. Use "partner" if that would make you feel more comfortable (I used "boyfriend" and "partner" interchangeably and my interviewers didn't seem to mind).

    Hope this helps a bit. Unfortunately, I don't have the capacity to bear children, so I can't answer the other concern you had :), hopefully others can come in with their (positive or negative) experiences.
  10. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016

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    I guess what surprises me is the fact that the LGBT community fights so hard to get equal rights (and I personally fight very hard), yet the OP is asking if she should call her wife her husband. I understand that medicine is conservative, but broadcasting something is different and so is decieving. It just seems to me that, being married, you are likely "out," but this post seemed (to me) either attention getting or slightly ashamed about it.

    I am not trying to offend at all, but homosexuality is a "hot button" issue for me and I fight hard on my own fronts to bring acceptance. I fight for gay marriage in any way I can. But when I see a gay couple trying to hide it, I think of a minority trying to hide who he is. Bums me out I guess.

    But, as I said, it is an issue for me and I am straight, so I don't live it everyday. So maybe I am way off base. Sorry about that.
  11. TriagePreMed

    TriagePreMed Removed

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    Some doctors may be really conservative, but the truth is you'll be interviewing with people that are academics, who have a very good reputation for being pro-LGBTQII. Don't mess around with pronouns and genders. If you play that card wrong at some point during the interview, your honesty will be question, which is actually something of importance as compared to who you go home to at night.
  12. thlaxer

    thlaxer Passable Paperweight

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    Not every homosexual person is proud to be LGBT unfortunately. Most of my friends who are gay accept it but do sometimes wish they were straight since that would make things so much easier. I also know dating couples who wouldn't feel comfortable coming out to even their family because they are afraid it'll hurt their relationship with their parents. It's unfortunate, but at the same time I can understand why they would want to do this. Sadly, I'm not sure all of these problems would go away even with equal rights :(, but it is a step in the right direction imo. Glad to hear you are so passionate about LGBT rights though!
  13. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016

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    And I can appreciate this point of view. As I said, I am a straight male. Holding hands with my wife doesn't bring a look of hatred whereever I go. Kissing her doesn't cause people be outspoken against my actions. And having a conversation with a member of the same sex doesn't have that "is he gonna make me gay" bullcrap stigma attached to it. It is easy for me to say, "stand up together," but I am a man concerned with gay rights in the eyes of society, not a gay man. Unfortunately, these are treated WAY different.

    It sucks we live in a way that people aren't proud of who they are. I don't blame people for feeling this way, and I fight for equality for all, but many don't. I wish people weren't hated for the way they love. Shame on us.
  14. clausewitz2

    clausewitz2

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    I am a straight cis-gendered male and I was asked point blank if I would take paternity leave during med school after I mentioned I was married. I didn't get in there (a school in Chicago). I hope this was a coincidence.
  15. LupaCupcake

    LupaCupcake

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    should we tell them our fave sexual positions as well? would they like to inspect my birth control?

    just be honest with them and if they discriminate then let someone know
  16. montessori2md

    montessori2md Member

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    I had a similar concern (I'm hetero, but it was a personal thing which could be viewed as either strength or weakness, depending on your lens) and got wildly variable advice from academic physician mentors I deeply respect.
    Here are your choices:

    1) Put your personal life in your personal statement, and use it as a part of why you'll be a great physician. Then your interviewer and schools will know ahead of time, no surprises/awkwardness.

    2) Don't put ANYTHING in your application, and don't say anything about it in interviews, even if asked directly. It's none of their business, has no bearing on you as an applicant.

    I chose #2, and have no regrets. I wanted to be chosen because of my academics and work ethic, and didn't want my personal life to be a distraction to those. But #1 is not a wrong or worse choice, just different.

    Here's the thing. Interviews are supposed to be boring, a formality, a "just don't screw up" moment. If you shock an interviewer, that's awkward -as astutely pointed out above in the everyday conversation example. You don't want to put an interviewer in that position.

    Part of the problem is that some interviews are done closed application, so even if you did "come out" in your PS, some interviewers still wouldn't know. The other problem is that if you go into interviews anxious about it, that could affect your performance in the interview. Avoiding anxiety is key.

    I had all sorts of totally inappropriate questions in interviews, you can choose to answer them honestly, say something vague and appropriate, or just plain lie. IMHO, if the question is inappropriate, the only inappropriate response is to lose your cool or to seem immature.

    Ex: So, have you given any thought to how you'll balance work and family?
    Possible responses: I don't plan on having children / I have a great support system / my spouse plans to be a stay-at-home parent.

    Note that any mention of a spouse/partner totally invites follow up questioning that will require a pronoun. (They respond, Oh, what does your spouse do now?). And she can come up in a variety of ways -like when they ask about how you'll manage your finances, etc, etc.
  17. BrainOnFire

    BrainOnFire The plural of Jew is Argument

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    I often have the battle of convictions vs. practicality, so I understand where you're coming from. I'd love to be just myself, not "out"; my wife's my wife. She is, in my opinion, the best wife ever for letting me have as many fish tanks as I do. :D However, I also know that we're both sacrificing a lot for me to try to become a doctor. Am I willing to put that on the line to be myself during an interview if there is the chance that it will affect me negatively? Am I going to fight for my rights knowing that it could cost me something that I've been trying to be fore most of my life? You know, I'm willing to put my safety in jeopardy, but I'm less willing to sacrifice my dream of being a doctor. It's backwards.

    I've had several positive interviews for jobs where my sexuality was simply a non-issue, either because the question never came up or because I took the chance and when asked about a spouse, answered in the female. On the other hand, my parents often sit on hiring committees for their jobs and their universal advice is to keep as much of my personal life out of it as possible.

    I really appreciate the input from others; it's sort of clear there's no consensus, but it's nice to hear that a few people were honest and got good follow-up questions. I can speak comfortably about being out and how it affected me personally. I'll keep thinking about it.
  18. LifeTake2

    LifeTake2

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    Since nobody else did, I feel I need to clarify something that will come in handy in medicine.

    It doesn't take time off from class to make babies. In fact, I've known of them being made in cars, offices, classrooms and gasp....bedrooms. Often in as little 2-3 minutes for some unfortunate women :rolleyes:

    Having and raising children is a different story, and not one that is relevant to your medical school application. If you chose to go $200K+ in debt and then stay home that is your choice. I happen to have a friend that did just that (her hubby is a Ortho so I assume he pays both their loans w/o much stress).
  19. BrainOnFire

    BrainOnFire The plural of Jew is Argument

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    Spoken like someone who has never witnessed an infertile couple's struggles to get pregnant. You have to be ready to leave wherever you are RIGHT NOW to go and try to conceive because the hormones are at the right levels and Mars is in retrograde. It can take years!
  20. wholeheartedly

    wholeheartedly Moderator

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    Well, he does have 8 kids..... but it was still a funny comment.
  21. LifeTake2

    LifeTake2

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    Spoken like someone that doesn't get sarcasm.
  22. Summa637

    Summa637 I'm here for comic relief

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    Because this post was about interviews, does anyone else feel that the interview will be their strong point as a non trad? That's how I feel, maybe it's because I am older and have experienced many things that traditional students have not because of my life/work? I'm not trying to be conceited but, even if I get a lower MCAT or lower GPAs, I think if I get an interview that is my time to show the adcom who I really am.
  23. Prncssbuttercup

    Prncssbuttercup Established Member -- OMSIII

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    Was never asked this, was never asked about my personal life other than support systems... I already know that women in the class I was accepted to are in long-term relationships with other women, and it didn't affect their acceptance...
  24. FrkyBgStok

    FrkyBgStok DMU c/o 2016

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    The interview is everyone's time to shine, but as a nontrad who has received a job offer for every interview I have ever had, I did not feel concerned that I wouldn't do well. That being said, after the interview I didn't feel that great. But I know how you feel.
  25. darmalee

    darmalee

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    I applied this past cycle and I personally think that being a nontrad was a big advantage in the interviews. For one thing, I've had a lot more experience with interviews in general, so my nerves were just lower in general than many of the people I know who applied as traditional students. Also, as you suggested, you have a lot more to talk about in your interviews and I think that nontrads tend to have a more clearer picture of "why medicine?" I have no doubt that some of my life experiences helped to offset my 3.38 cGPA.

    More as an anecdote than anything else - in one of my interviews my interviewer actually told me that she suggested that if I wanted kids I should try to get pregnant in my fourth year of medical school because it was the easiest year of the four and a great time to be pregnant. It was somewhat unsolicited advice so it took me a little by surprise, but at the same time she made it clear that, at least in her opinion, the possibility of me getting pregnant during school wasn't an issue.

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