Dad and I drove down to Miami on Thursday for my FIU interview. We drove down together so we could go diving together on Saturday in the Keys (more on that in the subsequent post). The FIU interview started later in the day at 10:30. The overall batch of applicants were much more talkative and friendly than the group I interviewed with at USF. Right off the bat, I saw someone who looked familiar. Turns out we went to the same HS, although he is 2 years younger than me. After we made that connection, I saw a girl who looked very familiar too. When we did group introductions, I found out she is (currently) also a Duke student!
FIU started the day with a comprehensive overview of their curriculum and their school. They tout that they are very interested in a diverse student body that wants to work in a diverse, Southern-FL community. They emphasize community service through their NeighborhoodHELP program where medical students are paired with a Miami family to follow over they medical school career. Lunch with med students followed the introduction. Because we were a large group of 20 students, they split us into Group A and Group B. Group A went on a tour before having our two 30-minute interviews. Group B had their interviews first. As a Group A student, I first went on a tour of the medical campus (new facilities so everything is ‘shiny’). My first interview was with a surgeon who trained as a biomedical engineer. This one was OK–the interviewer rubbed me the wrong way (think self-important surgeon kind of guy), and I disagreed with him on some things, which I told him. Not sure how that will turn out. My second interview was with a very sweet family medicine physician. This one went more ‘conversation-style’ rather than interview-style.
Ok so run down of the things I liked followed by things I didn’t like. Things I like include that the campus is newer and therefore has nicer facilities, students are split into one of four communities to lend the program a ‘family-style’ environment, and the administration emphasizes student wellness by organizing yoga, meditation, psychological services and the like. Things I didn’t like include that students take the usmle step 1 (first part of the medical boards) after their third year instead of after their second year (the traditional way) which makes it harder to get external rotations, pre-clinical years are graded rather than pass/fail, they don’t use cadavers to teach anatomy, the surrounding Miami traffic is rather daunting, and there is no main teaching hospital so students have to shuffle all around Miami to get to their rotations (sometimes resulting in a 45 min-1 hour commute, which is something I’m really trying to avoid).