If you identify as an introvert, you probably spend a huge portion of your life explaining to other people why being introverted isn’t just shyness. It’s a daily struggle, and if you’re also on route to medical school, you probably find yourself defending your position with greater frequency. Being introverted means that you’re probably dreading being the centre of attention during your med school interviews. Fear not, as you’re definitely not alone.

As an introvert, I also faced the challenge of trying to impress in several med school interviews while also wishing the floor would just swallow me up. After one particularly gruelling interview, I asked for feedback and was able to change my mindset and approach to the process. I was told I needed to find a way to come out of my shell and talk about my motivations. This seemed impossible because I generally hate talking about myself and feel very fake when I try to act any other way.

In a med school interview, you’re being tested on your ability to listen and respond to questions rather than your ability to reel off as much information as possible. Being introverted can actually help you to give more considered answers than some of your more extroverted counterparts. So if you’re dreading the med school interview, follow these steps for making sure your personality shines through.

Remember, it’s just a conversation

If you’re en route to med school, chances are it’s because you’re pretty passionate about medicine and helping people. You’ve probably talked to your friends and family about this, so now it’s time to talk to a stranger about it. Although they will be doing most of the asking, it’s really just a conversation, so there’s no reason to worry. If you’ve got to the interview, stage, it’s a good sign and it means that they like you on paper –  now you just have to show them that you’ve got enough enthusiasm to back it up.

Don’t be afraid to tell stories

The easiest way to get across how excited you are to be studying medicine is by telling stories about your journey towards med school. Think about the key characters and locations that helped and inspired you. If you completed any medical internships or helped in a remote community healthcare centre, now is the time to share your stories! It can be difficult to talk about yourself, but if you have a few stories to share this will become much easier.

Prepare some questions

If you’ve reached the end of the interview and don’t have any questions to ask, you probably haven’t researched the med school thoroughly enough. One of the things that med school interview panels often want to know is how well you understand and engage with the wider medical community. By preparing a few questions you will let them know that, even if you might be a little shy, you are just as excited about the opportunity as the next person.