I was talking with my senior resident that I'd like to go into academic medicine, but I'm not all that smart. His words: well, I'd take issue with that. You're pretty intelligent, and you could do academics.
That was kind of surprising, since I really didn't think I was making all that much of a positive impression. Also, his followup comment is that academic medicine is full of people that couldn't cut it in private practice, so he did manage to stick it to me. Ha ha ha. Seriously though, I'm not one who thinks much of myself. I just know that I have certain strengths and I have to play to them.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is something that is more powerful than you might imagine. And I'm not talking about that interview garbage. In interviews, everyone's weakness is "I try to take too much responsibility on myself," or crap like, "I work too damn hard!" That's all lies.
I do remember one interview I did for med school. The interviewer asked me what my weaknesses are. So, I told him that I'm not the smartest student he would interview, not even close. I'm nervous and get easily flustered. I have to remind myself to do the most basic things. I like a high level of supervision. I seek reassurance constantly. But here's the deal.
I got strengths. I'm conscientious. I do what I'm supposed to do. I try my hardest. I don't give up easily. I try to talk to my patients, get to know them, because when you care about a patient, your level of care goes up like a rocket. You actually give a damn about how things are going to turn out. I take my responsibilities seriously. I try to perfect everything I do. I try to understand what I'm doing rather than just blindly doing it. I have an inquisitive mind and I'm eager to learn and be taught.
My interviewer's reply was that they were looking for people who were eager and receptive, and had the qualities that make internal medicine doctors great, and those qualities aren't just smarts. The qualities of a good doctor are ubiquitous. People want a doctor who is dedicated, conscientious, caring, compassionate. That's what people want in a doctor, and that was what this program wanted in a resident.
So of course, I didn't rank their program.