The 37th season of the CBS show "Survivor" premieres this Wednesday, Sept. 26, and Alison Raybould, chief resident at the UNC Department of Medicine, is one of the 20 castaways contending for the $1 million reward. The competition was filmed earlier this year in the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji. The Daily Tar Heel spoke with Raybould about her preparation for the show and the difficulties she experienced while competing on the island.
The Daily Tar Heel: Can you talk a little bit about how you arrived at this opportunity?
Alison Raybould: It wasn’t until my third year of residency in the fall. I came home from a 30-hour shift, and rather than passing out and just going straight to bed, I stayed up and watched an old episode of "Survivor." In that moment, when I was sleep deprived and clearly not lucid, I said “I need to do this.”
DTH: Speaking of your medical experience, how do you think your life experiences and medical training prepared you for "Survivor?"
AR: I interact with people from all different walks of life, and I have to adapt to each situation and read what my patient needs from me and be able to deliver. And that’s exactly how it is on the island — you have to connect with people instantly and get them to trust you.
DTH: Do you have any secret strengths, talents or survival skills?
AR: It’s so funny that you mention that because I don’t. The moment I decided I was going to apply, I started treating it as my second job. I was studying the game; I was sort of trying to prepare for the survival aspect. I started practicing how to make fire with flint and sometimes a machete, but more often a striker. That was really what I focused on. Gutting a fish? Not into it. Killing a chicken if we win one? I don’t know how to do that. But I do know that I’m tough, and I can endure a lot.
DTH: Any weaknesses or fears?
AR: I think that my weakness is that I do like to — when called upon — I do like to lead. I’m the chief resident in the medicine department now, and I always like to be able to step up to the occasion and prove to myself that I can do something and to prove to others that I’m capable of whatever the task is. But in "Survivor," you don’t want to stand out in front.