Dudes and Dudettes! 🙂
It’s like…like…I kinda, like, had my first formal PhD interview yesterday. I’ve heard it’s pretty good news when you get an interview. They probably select an average of 20 interviewees out of 120 or so applicants! Wow!
By far, one of the most nerve wrecking interviews I’ve had in my life so far! I’ve only been thinking and deciding to go for a PhD over the past 2 years.
Over the last 6 months it’s been back to back craziness from preparing for the GRE, taking the GRE, completing applications galore, going through major internal journeys as I wrote statements of purpose for the programs, lots of money in application fees, meeting professors, researchers, stakeholders…while travelling like crazy for work.
I am just a bit exhausted…but so energized! Is that possible?
The interview went really well. Two professors, including the director of the program, interviewed me. Yin and Yang forces. I identified more with one of them, definitely an alpha personality, very intelligent, but personable. But I guess my affinity was more because of her approach to health policy research and its practical application. The other one…hummm…let’s just say he is the embodiment of what a PhD program is. An academic, a scholar, undoubtedly brilliant, and whose role was to make me seriously question myself! <he actually didn’t shake my hand because he was getting over a cold>.
He was mostly quiet, but had a skeptical and inquisitive stance to him. He must have asked the same questions in different ways several times as if he were looking for a very specific answer… “What do you think the PhD program can offer you? Be specific! I’m not sure this will be your best fit. I want to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.”
Meanwhile, his complementary force respectfully rolled her eyes playfully, in a big sister way, as if she had seen that several times before. In the same time, she probably understood what I was thinking as he vehemently insisted that the Doctor of Public Health program might be a better fit because of my practice-based approach.
After some back and forth, during a very pleasant triangular interaction, I said something that finally helped him understand why the PhD. Ok…now we could move on.
We comfortably talked a bit more…
…then the fully-bearded, white haired, wearing small frame glasses, very intelligent man turned to me, very seriously, looked into my eyes and said (something like this) “Great! You’ve explained better what you think the PhD can add to your skills, but…what’s your experience writing grant proposals? You know…the COMMUNITY is not going to write your grants! The COMMUNITY is not going to help you with proposals!” As he intently started into my eyes.
I looked at him just as intently, respectfully, and a graceful “little sister” smile suddenly flooded my face. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if he was serious or joking…or stating the obvious, all I knew is that I was not about to get Ms. Smarty Pants with him. I mean, the man is the director of the program! I respect all the work he put in to be there.
I’m not sure exactly what I said to follow up. But it was something that impacted the man. In a very positive way. And his “big sister” just smiled as if she was seeing a younger version of herself.
Ok! The interview was over. They told me I had to write 1 to 2 paragraphs in 15 minutes just to prove that I could actually write.
We did the usual “thanks for meeting with me. I really appreciate your time. I really hope to hear from you soon.” Shook hands…
As they were stepping out of the room, the MAN 🙂 left first, and his “big sister” quickly followed behind him. When she knew she was out of his peripheral sight she turned around to her “little sister”, and in a very hush hush tone said “Don’t worry! You’re good you are all set.”