Yesterday I went to my first university interview and it was an experience.
Just for reference, I am applying to study midwifery. Because of the nature of the course, there are a lot of aspects of the application process that are very different to your standard course so if you’re reading the following post thinking HOLY FUCK THIS SOUNDS HORRENDOUS IM NEVER PUTTING MYSELF THROUGHT THIS AGGHH then don’t worry, you will probably get a very different experience if you're applying to study geography or English!
I arrived at the university of Manchester 20 minutes before the allocated start time of 9:30am. The whole process ran until 4pm which made for a pretty exhausting day but I didn’t let it deter me. There were a few talks, a few breaks giving us a chance to chat to one another and ask any questions to the student midwives milling about, and then the afternoon came which was basically when the proper interviewing began. There were 2 short written tasks, one asking us to discuss an article or book we had recently read on midwifery and the other requiring us to explain how we would cope with the pressures of the training process, both of which were fine actually. We also had to sit a maths test which at first glance gave be horrific GCSE maths flashbacks but it was fine. Just basic mental arithmetic really. Then the big boy interviews began.
The first was a group interview, consisting on many us crammed into a waiting room, nervously chattering about the distance travelled, is this our first interview etc. I have to say, the waiting was one of the most torturous and terrifying experiences of my life. Being sat in a room knowing that the next 5 minutes may well shape the rest of your life is horrendous. Your group is called and a group of 7 or 8 of you follow into the next room and sit in a circle in front of 3 really very lovely women. After the group interview, it’s back to the waiting room to be called for 1 on 1 interviews. I personally preferred this to the group as you are not only interviewed again by the same women making you feel much more confortable, but you don’t feel under as much pressure and you can take your time in putting your application forward.
Overall I actually think I did quite well. I was red and hot all day with a strange sensation of being in a bubble where my brain was 5 seconds behind my tongue, but apart from that I did my best to not be overly intimidated by the DofE girl with maternity experience in 4 different African countries and put my best case forward. My tongue struggled not to stick to the roof of my mouth growing dryer and stickier as I spoke, but at least I remembered to breath!
The feeling of being in that waiting room is almost indescribable. As a 17 year old, you suddenly become very aware that you have genuinely never wanted something so much in your entire life. This revelation can be hard to cope with, but you have just grip onto it and use it as fuel in your interview.
All in all it’s pretty terrifying but the feeling of coming out is like being on acid. The adrenaline carried me (almost) weightlessly on the 20 minute walk to the station where I then proceed to collapse in an emotional, exhausted heap on my train home.
I can’t really give you many tips in keeping calm apart from take deep breaths, walk around if you can instead of sitting, keep your mouth moving so it’s not a surprise in the interview when you open it up and word manage to fall out and don’t drink too much water no matter how dry your mouth is because you’ll just get more and more desperate for the toilet!
Good look to anyone with an interview coming up. When it’s over it’s over – don’t panic!