Friday, July 25, 2003

What I Hate About Student Interviews

When students request for some of my time for an interview, whether it be for a term paper, a thesis, or the school paper, I’m always too happy to oblige. I accommodate students as much as I can because I know what it’s like being in their shoes, and I want to give them an easy time, by being comprehensive with my answers, adjusting a bit to their schedules, and being as friendly to them as possible.

It was early last year, I think, when I had one such interview with a couple of seniors (high school), and they were thankful that I didn’t give them a tough time. They ‘complained’ about some other interviewee who was giving them the runaround in settling on a venue.

At first I was appalled at this interviewee’s behavior, but now I’m beginning to understand where he’s coming from.

I’ve accommodated a few interviews over the past two years, whether in person or via email, and I can safely say that there are students who need to learn some common courtesy when requesting for interviews. We help you with your schoolwork and make ourselves as accessible as possible, even going out of our way at times just to meet with you, so it’s only fair that you display behavior that won’t irk us or give us a negative impression of you.

Case in point: A student from DLSU-CSB emailed me over a year ago, requesting that I answer some questions for his paper on the local comics scene. Wanting to help him out, I answered all his questions as comprehensively as possible. These were not simple ‘yes’ and ‘no’ inquiries but more of the how’s and why’s, so I had to exert a bit of mental effort in composing my answers.

Along with the answers, I asked him rather nicely if he had read my work (then One Night In Purgatory) and, if he did, to give me some honest feedback. I also asked him for a copy of his paper when he was done with it. Simple, right?

His answer came in a simple thank-you-for-your-time sentiment, all of two sentences.

The gall.

As far as I was concerned, I wouldn’t be offended if he said that he didn’t read my work, but to completely ignore my simple requests can only be described in one word: bastos. I mentally shredded his liver.

Case #2 in point: Presumably young teener belonging to a group of comics enthusiasts emails me with a list of questions about how I do the comics thing yada yada yada. There were at least 15 questions there. I took the time to, again, answer as completely and candidly as I could.

I sent the answers out, but never heard from him again.


Among the few interviews I’ve had, only one stands out as the incomparable best. It was for the Guidon. And it saddens me that the way that interview turned out is more an exception than a rule.

I’m not asking to be treated like some authority figure or comics guru because I will stab myself in the eye before I could even begin to think of myself as such. It’s simple quid pro quo, give and take. Common courtesy. I’ll do my best to give you guys an easy time, even go out of my way schedule and location-wise, and I’ll deal with your questions with as much professionalism as I can muster, so it would help a great deal if you start off that way, too.

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