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Should I discuss this hobby in my Interview?

NeuroRed

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Hey all,

I love to study history / politics in my free time, which includes reading books and watching documentaries. However, I also really enjoy playing certain strategy games (such as EU IV, Civilization, etc). Is it okay to mention this in my interview if asked about my hobbies? I know there is a stigma against video games ... but I see it more like a digital chess than a GTA-like sandbox or shooter.
 
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viralhiker

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Take my advice with a (heavy) grain of salt, I'm just starting the application process, too.

I am always surprised by how many people ask a variation of this question. Heck, I like video games as much as the next person, but it just seems like such a high-risk, low-reward topic to bring up in an application/interview. At best you come off as somewhat unoriginal - everyone likes video games! I love Civ and other turn-based strategies but that's not in the top 10 things I want people to know about me. At worst you risk a negative reaction (for the same reasons you're making this post).

I feel like you still could expound on your interest in history and politics. For example, talk about how you might have taken a class just for the fun of it, had a really engaging discussion with a professor, attended seminars, went to WW2 reenactments (speaking from experience here). Show you have interests outside of medicine! But boiling it down to "I like playing Civ, and no it's not a first-person shooter" is doing yourself a disservice, IMO.
 
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Hey all,

I love to study history / politics in my free time, which includes reading books and watching documentaries. However, I also really enjoy playing certain strategy games (such as EU IV, Civilization, etc). Is it okay to mention this in my interview if asked about my hobbies? I know there is a stigma against video games ... but I see it more like a digital chess than a GTA-like sandbox or shooter.
Not only should you discuss it, I'd accept you immediately!

If anyone gets pissy, call the "conflict simulations".
 
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BunnyMan17

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I mean I talked about raising rabbits and they loved it sooooo.........

Edit: I had one interviewer tell us after the fact that he low key looks for people he'd want to get a beer with. Once you're at the interview, they are probably reasonably confident you won't flunk out. They want to make sure there are no red flags, you have a good attitude, good match, etc. If it comes up naturally and paints you in a good light I say go for it.
 
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yogglo

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I talked about video games bc I played competitively in college and it came up at like 3 interviews. Pretty sure most adcoms want to know your at least a person outside of medicine...
 
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jhmmd

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BunnyMan17 said:
I mean I talked about raising rabbits and they loved it sooooo.........

Edit: I had one interviewer tell us after the fact that he low key looks for people he'd want to get a beer with. Once you're at the interview, they are probably reasonably confident you won't flunk out. They want to make sure there are no red flags, you have a good attitude, good match, etc. If it comes up naturally and paints you in a good light I say go for it.
Right and for residency interviews....you know what they say...have a beer with the other applicants/residents/faculty; no one trusts a teetotaler :laugh:
 

BunnyMan17

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Right and for residency interviews....you know what they say...have a beer with the other applicants/residents/faculty; no one trusts a teetotaler :laugh:
But actually.
Besides, at least in my experience , the residents know where all the places are so you're really missing out if you dont. Some of my favorite evenings during clerkship were at these hidden backyard bbq joints the residents in San Antonio frequent eating brisket and drinking borderline annoyingly local beer.
 

jhmmd

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BunnyMan17 said:
But actually.
Besides, at least in my experience , the residents know where all the places are so you're really missing out if you dont. Some of my favorite evenings during clerkship were at these hidden backyard bbq joints the residents in San Antonio frequent eating brisket and drinking borderline annoyingly local beer.
:laugh: :thumbup:

San Antonio is a lovely town, btw. Have you decided on a specialty yet?
 

Andrew Baines Bernard

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I have a friend that talked about his favorite sandwich during an interview and got an A on the first possible day afterwards. Strategic video games are probably fine topics of conversation. Especially if it's a student. Good chance you'll run into at least one Catan nerd who understands haha
 

cubsfan95

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Look at it this way, if you are talking about playing "games" well I just think that means you are not doing enough with your time. I would reject immediately.

Try and get more shadowing hours or do some meaningful volunteer work to better utilize your time.
 
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BunnyMan17

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Look at it this way, if you are talking about playing "games" well I just think that means you are not doing enough with your time. I would reject immediately.

Try and get more shadowing hours or do some meaningful volunteer work to better utilize your time.
Orrrr..... the interviewer realizes OP is a human being with a life and hobbies rather than machine fated to a depression bound spiral when he hits 40.... If a school frowns on doing something you enjoy in your free time then it's probably not a place you want to be.
I might have the "do more with your time thought" if OP had poor grades then mentioned he loved to play COD for hours on end, but that is not the case. It is an interesting activity that involves learning outside of medicine (trust me the like this) and critical reasoning/thinking (self explanatory).
 
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cubsfan95

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Orrrr..... the interviewer realizes OP is a human being with a life and hobbies rather than machine fated to a depression bound spiral when he hits 40.... If a school frowns on doing something you enjoy in your free time then it's probably not a place you want to be.
I might have the "do more with your time thought" if OP had poor grades then mentioned he loved to play COD for hours on end, but that is not the case. It is an interesting activity that involves learning outside of medicine (trust me the like this) and critical reasoning/thinking (self explanatory).

We can't assume anything. I would go with the more conservative approach which is to maximize your hours and minimize your distractions.
 
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BlackMathMajor

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You have adcoms saying it's OK to discuss hobbies. If you're devoted to medicine and serving others like a monk or something and that makes you happy, OK. But if you've got solid EC hours and decent stats and you like to play video games, there is no harm in talking about it. It makes you look less like a robot. I'd go with the adcom's advice.
 
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BunnyMan17

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We can't assume anything. I would go with the more conservative approach which is to maximize your hours and minimize your distractions.
It's not an assumption, it's an accumulation of info from multiple interviews, observation, conversations with everyone from admin officers to residents to attendings to BYOB w/ my schools dean of admissions, and 3 years of medical school across 7 states and 2 countries. Don't get me wrong, I know where you're coming from and you need to have the grades and boxes checked... but at the interview they are looking for more than that. They want to see your personality. They want to know if you'll get along with your classmates after the 3rd all nighter and 24+4 shifts. If they ask you questions trying to get to know you better (and they will), and all you can answer is "um well I spent every weekend shadowing 5 different docs plus 25 hours of volunteering each thursday", that's gonna raise some red flags. Not to mention a lot of medical schools are really focusing on resiliency in medicine and they like to see you have mechinisms for that, i.e. doing things you enjoy.
 

cubsfan95

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It's not an assumption, it's an accumulation of info from multiple interviews, observation, conversations with everyone from admin officers to residents to attendings to BYOB w/ my schools dean of admissions, and 3 years of medical school across 7 states and 2 countries. Don't get me wrong, I know where you're coming from and you need to have the grades and boxes checked... but at the interview they are looking for more than that. They want to see your personality. They want to know if you'll get along with your classmates after the 3rd all nighter and 24+4 shifts. If they ask you questions trying to get to know you better (and they will), and all you can answer is "um well I spent every weekend shadowing 5 different docs plus 25 hours of volunteering each thursday", that's gonna raise some red flags. Not to mention a lot of medical schools are really focusing on resiliency in medicine and they like to see you have mechinisms for that, i.e. doing things you enjoy.

I know what you're saying and I agree that as human we should be well-rounded but all the advice we are getting here is anecdotal. That is why I am saying go with the conservative approach to be safe. Better safe than sorry.
 

cubsfan95

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You have adcoms saying it's OK to discuss hobbies. If you're devoted to medicine and serving others like a monk or something and that makes you happy, OK. But if you've got solid EC hours and decent stats and you like to play video games, there is no harm in talking about it. It makes you look less like a robot. I'd go with the adcom's advice.

Which adcom gave that advice?
 

BunnyMan17

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I know what you're saying and I agree that as human we should be well-rounded but all the advice we are getting here is anecdotal. That is why I am saying go with the conservative approach to be safe. Better safe than sorry.
I see your status says pre-med, is that still accurate?
Better safe than sorry is a false assumption here, you are most certainly not safer with overkill at the expense of activities that you give your application flavor or variety. Anecodal or not it's better evidence than an unsupported assertion. Don't be like a blind man arguing with his seeing eye dog.

Which adcom gave that advice?
That was Goro.

Edit: Ya know I didn't even realize there was a dislike button... that's very mature.
 
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NeuroRed

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Orrrr..... the interviewer realizes OP is a human being with a life and hobbies rather than machine fated to a depression bound spiral when he hits 40.... If a school frowns on doing something you enjoy in your free time then it's probably not a place you want to be.
I might have the "do more with your time thought" if OP had poor grades then mentioned he loved to play COD for hours on end, but that is not the case. It is an interesting activity that involves learning outside of medicine (trust me the like this) and critical reasoning/thinking (self explanatory).
I should chime in ... I have substantial EC hours, work experience, stellar GPA, etc. It's not like a I screw around on my computer 24/7. However, if I have a few hours to myself, I love to study / interact with topics and platforms related to history; the games are one component of that, books and videos are another. If I ever brought this up in an interview, it would be quite subtle as to not overshadow activities that relate to my application process.

I appreciate everyone's advice nevertheless!
 
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xMikeyDay

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OP, I'm putting that I play Yu-Gi-Oh! competitively and collect rare Yugioh cards on my app. I think it'd be a great conversation/ice breaker for interviewers since pretty much everyone knows what is Yugioh or heard of it.

Although I don't think enjoying video games is something unique, it is something about you completely unrelated to medicine, and I think that's important to show a bit of yourself outside of medicine. I think if you can tie it into like being a potential "de-stressor" or something, that'd be good since medical school is difficult, having ways to re-center I would imagine are looked at positively.
 
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OP, I'm putting that I play Yu-Gi-Oh! competitively and collect rare Yugioh cards on my app. I think it'd be a great conversation/ice breaker for interviewers since pretty much everyone knows what is Yugioh or heard of it.

Although I don't think enjoying video games is something unique, it is something about you completely unrelated to medicine, and I think that's important to show a bit of yourself outside of medicine. I think if you can tie it into like being a potential "de-stressor" or something, that'd be good since medical school is difficult, having ways to re-center I would imagine are looked at positively.
Does everyone know though? In my experience most people know what Pokemon is but Yugioh is another ball game.
 
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Hey all,

I love to study history / politics in my free time, which includes reading books and watching documentaries. However, I also really enjoy playing certain strategy games (such as EU IV, Civilization, etc). Is it okay to mention this in my interview if asked about my hobbies? I know there is a stigma against video games ... but I see it more like a digital chess than a GTA-like sandbox or shooter.
For sure. If you like it and it's important to you, talk about it during your interview.

Find a way to talk about it that emphasizes the history and strategy part of it. There's a big difference between the sentence "I am a big fan of history and this led me to my hobby of simulation software that allows me to explore my interests and challenges me mentally." and the sentence "I really like video games and that's how I spend some of my free time".

Obviously the differences are exaggerated for effect, but it's all on how you sell it.

David D MD - USMLE and MCAT Tutor
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Tyrese

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I think that if you show passion in it, and can somehow extrapolate how your hobby makes for some relatable usefulness (ie. strategy, being a critical thinker, etc.) you can be successful in that being a component of your interview.

Just a reminder that med school app process is still rather formal/conservative. You don't want to let loose on your hobby too much in the interview, since you may not be deemed as a favorable candidate. (this totally depends on your presiding interviewer(s)). Best of luck OP.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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The last dean of admissions at my school is huge into board games. He’d have loved to hear about strategy games and stuff. Don’t hide your interests just because you’re afraid they aren’t the “right” interests. Unless your interest is illegal, they are what makes you who you are and will only help you (unless you can’t talk about them eloquently, but that goes for everything in an interview).
 
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Doctor-S

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Hey all,

I love to study history / politics in my free time, which includes reading books and watching documentaries. However, I also really enjoy playing certain strategy games (such as EU IV, Civilization, etc). Is it okay to mention this in my interview if asked about my hobbies? I know there is a stigma against video games ... but I see it more like a digital chess than a GTA-like sandbox or shooter.
Yes, it's okay.

Many SDNers play strategy, reasoning and logic games to unwind, have fun, and enjoy connections with other people because our lives are stressful, demanding and challenging in real-life. We need things in our lives to remind us we're people and it's OK to play games to relax and have fun with other people.

Have you ever seen the "WW" games in the Pre-Vet Med Forum or in The Lounge?

You can ask plenty of really friendly SDN peeps about strategy games ... yanno ... @Matthews359 @Lawper just to name a few. :)
 
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