Four weeks ago, I posted the draft of my application essay to a graduate diploma in journalism here on my blog, used your comments to improve it, and sent it off. It was good enough to earn me a Skype interview. And so the countdown to the interview started.
One week to go:
I wonder why they would ever let in a French woman. Right now, they’re probably laughing at my application, laughing at my blog, and laughing at everything I’ve ever written. My chances are like a Canadian winter: below zero.
My friend Aurélie, some of my students, and my dad express their worrying faith in me: “Of course they’re going to accept you! How couldn’t they?” I imagine the look of disappointment on their faces when I’ll have to announce them that they were wrong.
Four days to go:
I fail a Skype interview with Nick’s parents just like I fail now to think of a simile describing how badly I failed. They are more prepared than I am with a list of all the normal questions an interviewer might ask, and play their role perfectly. They get me thinking about questions like: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
Even though these are typical interview questions, I’m not ready at all to answer them. Wendy, Nick’s mum, sends me the list of all the questions she found on the internet, coupled with a few tips on how to answer them.
Three days to go:
One day before the interview:
The universe hasn’t answered yet, so I sit down and answer every question on the list. My strengths are my curiosity, my analytical spirit, and my motivation. My weaknesses are my impatience and my monomania.
Half an hour to go:
Andrew gives me a mock interview by text message and asks me bizarre questions like: “If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?”
“I would jump up and try to climb out of the blender.” I reply.
“Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 how weird you are.”
“8,” I reply. “It’s good to be weird, people remember you.”
It’s so silly that I loosen up and forget to be stressed.
Ten minutes to Go:
The stress is back. I practice saying the word “journalist” walking back and forth in the living room. Nick laughs and says: “Don’t worry, your accent is fine! They’ll like it!”
It would help more if he wasn’t saying it in an outrageous French accent.
It starts well with the head of the program complimenting my “beautiful application” and my “outstanding writing”. A few minutes later, I ruin everything with a pathetic attempt at joking when she asks: ”So, what are your weaknesses?”
I answer: “I don’t type very fast.” It’s a half-joke, because I really don’t type very fast. I thought it was this kind of fake weakness that isn’t really a weakness, like “I’m a perfectionist”. As my interviewer writes this down with a stern disapproving look on her face, I realise that typing fast is an essential skill to my future profession. What have I done?
She doesn’t see the flash of panic on my face because she keeps writing. I can’t see it, but I know she’s writing: “Tries too hard to be funny” as well. I’m doomed.
Three days Later:
Last Friday night:
I know the answer should arrive during the night, so I wake-up every half hour to check my emails. In the morning, still no answer. I hate Canterbury University. I hate the lecturers and their stupid Kiwi faces. I hate journAlism.
Saturday, 2 am:
Following the selection meeting of my Board of Studies yesterday, I am delighted to offer you a place on the 2013 Graduate Diploma in Journalism course.
I wake Nick up and we have a celebratory snuggle. He falls back asleep right away while I lie in bed with my eyes wide open in excitement.
Thanks again to everyone who helped with my application essay. Your compliments made me feel more confident, and I took note of every suggestion of improvement from the comments and private messages.
The course will start in February 2013 and will last about a year. It’s exciting because it mixes theoretical courses and practical training, and I will be writing like crazy the whole year about every possible topic journalism covers: reviews, feature articles, court reports, business stories, and even sports stories including two match reports. I will also have to produce a portfolio of radio and television stories.
Being as inept at sports as a Japanese person eating pizza, I’m a bit nervous about having to write two match reports. Andrew finds it hilarious, though, and already wrote something on his blog called: Cecile writes Sport.
I feel so grateful to have the opportunity and the possibility to go back to school and to attend a course that will lead me to be paid to write. I’m incredibly lucky to have Nick’s support in this new adventure. I can’t wait to get started!