This week, I did something I told myself over and over again I was too afraid to do––I went on my first interview. It was an interview for a position as a teaching assistant for my school’s English department grad program, and I remember the day I went to pick up the forms. It took me FOREVER to get up to that office just to look at the application, and took me even longer to fill it out and hand it in. I went to professor after professor, filled with anxiety every morning, dreading the due date for the paper apps. The day I finally handed the entire application in, I went out to celebrate. There was nothing really to celebrate, only the fact that I had filled out multiple forms, handed in a resume, a sample writing piece, a transcript. Still, I overcame the first step, and I had a week to hear back about an interview.
That next week, I got the interview call. I sat down on my couch, closed my eyes and took deep, deep breathes. The interview I had spoken about with my professors, the interview I had deemed “The Big Scary Interview” for about three months––that was finally going down, next week. It didn’t feel real but at the same time, it was all I could think about. I wrote it down on my calendar, I comforted myself with the fact that five boxes laid between today and the interview, four boxes, three boxes, two boxes.
The morning of the interview––still in denial. I had my answers ready, had listed out possible questions, bought my outfit the weekend before. I stood in my room and practiced. I practiced my answers, practiced my tone of voice, practiced my facial expressions. But over and over again I told myself, “Sure, I can do this in my room, but there is no way I’ll speak this eloquently in the interview. I’m going to be too nervous, too choked up. I’m going to forget everything I wanted to say.”
The interview. I sat down and realized, I got this. I was shaking at first but was able to push past that. The interviewers were friendly and encouraging, they were interested in my answers. I had built up the interview to exactly what I had originally named it: “The Big Scary Interview.” But it wasn’t that, and I surprised myself. I felt good about my answers. They told me they’d get back to me in two weeks.
I analyzed, like most people post-interview. I thought back to all the “um’s” that I said, the stutters, the lack of questions I asked at the end. I thought about the chances of me getting the position, but decided it was most likely not going to happen. I decided to take the next two weeks to relax, to FINALLY put the TA stuff out of my head after months and months of thinking about it.
Two days later, I got the call. I got the position. I asked him how long I had to decide if I wanted to take it or not. He sounded confused. He expected me to take it right away, I guess. It was unexpected, can you blame me? I have until the 15th to decide if I want to dedicate the next two years of my life to this program. To spend the next two years in the place I have already spent four. I have five days to decide.
For now, I don’t know. But I’m happy. I’m happy they deem me qualified. I don’t know how many people applied, but I’m happy. I did something that seemed scary, something I hesitated to do, something I was so close to deciding against. I did it all the way up to acceptance and for now, that’s all I need to think about.