I realized I haven’t touched on the real-world tactics, planning, and strategy of packing. After a gauntlet round of 7 interviews over 11 days, with each interview in a different state, I’m in a great place right now to do so.
Here are the main tips I’ve accumulated over the years. This is after attending dozens of medical school interviews and now close to a dozen residency interviews, with more to come. If you have additional tips or tricks you would like to share, please leave a comment below or contact me and I will be happy to pass on the advice!
1. Make a List
You’ve been studying, taking exams, generally dealing with the many stresses of being a pre-med or medical student. The last thing you want to do is miss a flight to an important interview, or be disorganized and throw your beautiful clothes helter-skelter into a bag. So do yourself a massive favor by making a list. By doing so, you won’t forget items while you’re rushing to pack and make your flight. Making a list is the single biggest factor in being more efficient while packing. You can find a link to my packing list here
2. Do NOT Check In Bags
You should be able to travel to all your interviews with one carry-on and personal item. I have been able to last 2 weeks on a round of interviews and did laundry once halfway through. The reason I advise so vehemently against checking a bag is the possibility of it getting lost or misplaced – landing you in a world of frustration and stress that you could surely do without.
There is a subtle and beautiful art to packing. In the one carry-on you are taking, it is absolutely possible to pack in a suit, dress shoes, gym clothes, and have plenty of additional space. How? Roll your clothes, don’t just fold them. This will be the sole reason you will be able to place your dress shoes and suit (both large, bulky items) along with your travel-sized toiletries, socks, underwear, etc.