What did they tell me?
-They told me to be 'Out of the Odd' when I sit for an interview,
-They told me to show the 'spark' that I have which makes me different,
-They also told be to be original, no matter how many interview experiences I listen to or how many times I rehearse the best possible answers, I was NOT TO COPY; I was to get the idea, let it sink in and learn from the interviews of others.
Well, that's what they told me and I am telling the same to you. Read the interviews posted at The AKU Challenge but do not, for even a fraction of second, think about copying the answers because those answers won't be you, they'll be us (Sohaib, Alizeh and I)...
P.S. I won't be going into the lengthy details of the interview, will be writing the prominent questions down only. Despite that, I know this is going to be a VERY long blogpost.
First Interviewer: A Paediatric Cardiologist
Level of Nerves: Not Very High
Thoughts: I can do this!
Duration of this interview: 45-50 minutes
Lubaina, this is a different name. What does it mean?
It means Strong (The interviewer looked up for explanation)
I continued: Like a tiny strong brick that supports the other bricks to keep the wall strong and standing.
I was then asked about the jobs of my parents.
I answered accordingly. (Yes, you should know about the qualifications and professional specifics of your parents)
What do you like to do in your free time?
I doodle. I blog. I read. I write.
My interviewer took the lead from my 'doodling' and went ahead to ask me about my religious opinion of figure sketching and the likes.
(See, our answers lead to the upcoming question)
Me: Well, I'm not an Islamic Scholar to be able to answer that. (This is the safest answer when it comes to religious questions)
Interviewer: Putting the scholars aside. Do you draw figures or not?
Me: I do draw figures at times but I'm rather an expert of 'doodles' that are not proper sketches and neither am I good at drawing human expressions. So, uptil now I haven't been in a field where I would have to draw figures or carve statues, if that happens I'll contact my religious scholar and ask about the extent of figure drawing that is allowed in my religion.
He seemed satisfied with my answer. So, we moved on...
You also mentioned that you write. What kind of writings do you write?
Me: I don't usually stick to a specific genre. I wrote serious essays at school. Humorous posts for my blog. Any kinds of articles that I need to write. And, stories too.
Interviewer: Could you tell me more about the serious essays you wrote?
Me: They were usually for General Paper that we appear for in A Levels. It has three different portions; the first is for Politics and related topics, the second is for Science and related topics while the third is for Arts and Literature and related topics. We have to select a topic from any two of the portions in the exam.
Interviewer: Oh, Arts and Literature in what sense?
Me: Well, it could be anything ranging from the museums that exist these days to the importance of culture.
Interviewer picked up the 'culture' from my previous answer and went ahead to ask me about the Culture of Pakistan and in what ways are Pakistanis driftng away from cultural values.
(It's good to prepare one self for questions related to cultural and health issues in Pakistan)
I gave a set of answers that I can't recall but they were general, nothing much out of the ordinary which at that moment made me feel more alert. I'm glad Dr. Babar didn't pursue this question further because I didn't have much to say regarding it. But, the upcoming question was no piece of cake either.
Picture this. A woman's ultrasound just arrived, she is pregnant with a baby which will be of 24 weeks in a few days. The ultrasound shows that the baby's heart has not developed properly and it will take three surgeries, which will cost 25 lac overall, after birth to stabilise the child. Even then there has been no case where a child has survived with such a problem for more than 10 to 12 years. The mother can't cough up the expenses. She has three other children to support.
Interviewer: I am the mother. How are you going to break the news to me and advise me?
(From here onwards it was like a mini theatrical performance till I gave in my Doctor's Report)
Me: I have just received the ultrasound reports, the baby is just fine. There is a minor problem in the heart but that too is treatable.
Interviewer: NO! NO! DOCTOR! I just talked to the other doctor and he said that treating my child is almost impossible! WHAT WILL I DO? This breaks my heart!
Me: Calm Down. Now, tell me, do you love your child?
Interviewer: Yes, I do. I live for my children.
Me: Then, stay strong for the baby and just know that it is going to be okay.
Interviewer (being an interviewer and not acting as the mother): BUT YOU'RE LYING! The chances of the baby's survival are 10% only! It is not going to be okay. The mother does not have the money! Why are you lying to the mother?
Me: HOPE. That's how I'm dealing with the mother. Giving her HOPE.
Interviewer: Useless hope? Why are you not telling the mother to abort the child?
Me: Because, there's still hope. We're not willing to operate the child for 25 lac to so that the child dies! We're operating so that the child lives! There is hope. Even if it's 10% of hope.
Interviewer: This child will have needles poking in his body, will experience trips to the hospital and will see his three siblings suffer as his mother takes care of him since the moment he is born.
Me: Sufferings do not always mean that life has come to an end. The ones who go through a lot are the ones who have the most experience and contribute the most to this world with their great minds. There is Nick Vujicic, no arms and no legs and he's done much more than I.
Interviewer: That's true but you're still forgetting the fact that this child will die before he is 12.
Me: We can't determine life and death. If there is a 10% chance of survival then the chance and the HOPE along with it stays. When Blood Cancer patients can be cured than this child can be too.
Interviewer: So, you're going to keep the mother from knowing that she has an option of abortion?
Me: She can discuss that with the Gynaecologist.
Interviewer: *laughs* Don't throw your burden on the Gynaecologist. Tell me what you would write in your Doctor's Report for the patient.
Me: 75% of my report will list down the treatment available and the HOPE that is present. 20% will be the possible financial measures the mother can take. 5% will be the mention of abortion since as a dotor it will be my duty not to with hold a possible option from the patient.
We left the above question at that but it bothers me to this day that what actually happened since Dr. Babar mentioned that he did not make up this mother or her situation, rather it was real and he was to break the news to her the following day...
(What do you learn from the above abortion question? Not every question has a black and white answer, the way we think is what is checked in an interview. What I kept in mind while answering the above: I am a Doctor, I SAVE lives.)
I was asked why I wanted to be a doctor. And, what else I knew about AKU apart from their MBBS program?
Be prepared for questions like these. They are VERY common. Read more about answering the 'Why I want to be a doctor' question here since 'saving humanity' gets cliched. I gave this website a read too before my interview. As for knowing more about AKU's programmes, I had skimmed through this website before the interview which proved to be helpful.
Any leadership posts that you took care of at school that you think were worth it?
I mentioned quite a few out of which he picked up this one: ' I was the head of the Blogging Society and started an initiative called 'Featured Pafians' after the Arfa Karim and Malala happenings in order to appreciate the talented ones in our school rather than making them heroes after a certain casualty strikes them; as was the case with Arfa and Malala.'
From the above, my interviewer asked me about Malala, then Aafia Siqqiqui and then about the news of Syria and Egypt. (The fact about our answers affecting the upcoming question we are asked played out really well here)
You mentioned reading too? What kind of books?
I listed down quite a few. We had a discussion about fiction and non-fiction books. A discussion about Malcolm Galdwell and John Grisham too.
You studied in a Co-Ed school, right?
Yes, I did
Didn't people judge based on your attire? (I wear a hijaab. Thus, this question)
Their judgements are not I'm concerned about. I am who I am and I wear what I wear.
AKU has diversity, will that affect you?
Of course not, I've travelled to so many places and have friends from all kinds of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. It hasn't affected me uptil now and I don't reckon it will affect me later on.
I was asked if I had any questions, I did ask a question about AKU's branches.
That's a wrap, folks!
This first interview was a caboo-ey one.
I'll be posting the second interview in another blogpost very soon.
P.S. The second interview went way more smooth than this one, just by the way.