I just got back from an interviewing workshop held by the BYU Career Center. It's interesting to me that I feel kind of pumped up and energized right now. In fact, when the instructor was talking about how important posture and eye contact and attitude are in an interview, I chuckled to myself when I realized that I was starting to sit up straighter and trying to look like I was paying better attention and like I was excited about what I was hearing. It must be a good sign if I'm getting excited about having interviews.
The best part, though, is just how far I think I've come in this regard. I will never be a businesswoman or an entrepreneur, but as long as I have adequate preparation, I actually kind of enjoy things like interview situations. Also, I love giving presentations, as long as I know the subject material thoroughly (this is why I kind of bombed my presentations in the last biochemistry class I took . . .).
I used to do my best to slip into situations unobserved, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible and hoping especially that people wouldn't get annoyed with me. It all started coming to a head when I was interviewing for graduate schools. With a little help from Becca, I began shifting my attitude from someone who was apologizing for taking up the application committee's time to someone who was an excellent candidate and would grace any program I applied to.
Even more, while I was in Minneapolis, interviewing at the University of Minnesota, things started clicking in my mind. We had a dinner with some faculty members and all the potential students, and as we began the meal, I suddenly realized that I am a completely different person when I am with people I don't know- and I didn't especially like that person. Not that I was rude or condescending or anything, but I was rather quiet and blah, and I didn't think I would come across as very memorable if I acted that way.
So, in a flash, I decided to just act like Maria. It's one of those things that you can hear a hundred times but that you will never believe until a moment like that happens to you. So I was myself. I let my eyes sparkle and I asked the other students questions and I laughed (when appropriate). And it was great. In fact, I think it really saved me on that trip, because a lot of really stressful things happened with regards to my family while I was out there, and giving myself the liberty to be myself eliminated a lot of the stress from my heart.
So, here I am again, poised for more interviews- with the possibility of a lot more next year if I do get a PhD. And sometimes it's daunting and thinking about it is exhausting, but at moments like these, it's just exhilarating. I don't know that the weakness has completely become a strength, but it's a lot stronger than it was.
That bend in the river is getting closer.