EL PASO – I have always had a fear of that word, for myself or to interview others. My major is multimedia journalism, so I knew that I would have to learn to love interviews, one-way or another.
I guess the reason you could say that I picked that major is because I have always been fascinated with sports and I would love to be involved with the company ESPN. My best friend Sean Sida always told me when I was growing up, “do something that takes you out of your comfort zone.” He always pushed me to go to new places or talk to new girls, although I was terrified.
So this past fall semester when I was taking the Digital Video and Audio production course at The University of Texas at El Paso with professor Lourdes Cueva Chacón, I had to get out of my comfort zone almost every week.
All of the class assignments needed quotes. Therefore I needed to conduct interviews. I was nervous and extremely afraid of approaching people and asking them questions. I didn’t care if it was for a grade or simply just for pleasure.
I can vividly remember the first interview like it was yesterday. It was during Christmas, the professor issued a group project that consisted of a print story, multiple pictures and yes, of course, multiple interviews.
My group included Cristina Esquivel and Luis Barrio, fellow multi-media majors who also lacked interview experience. Our subject was the holiday festivities that take place in downtown El Paso.
As I drove toward the annual Christmas Tree Lighting, the thought of having to approach random people began to make me nauseous. I tried focusing on the fact that I would count with the support of my partners, Cristina and Luis, but I knew they were also anxious about interviews.
This was it. No more procrastinating or hiding. It was finally time to face my fear.
My first interview was with an electrical technician working at El Paso Electric. I introduced myself and didn’t get further than that. I just froze! There was complete silence for a good minute or two. Cristina and Luis were recording video and audio of my interview. I turned around and gave them a hopeless look of panic and they quickly jumped to my rescue.
All of sudden my first solo interview turned into a group interview. I was embarrassed. I felt unprepared and unprofessional, and this man could probably tell this was my first attempt at an interview.
Once we were done, we walked away and sat down to review our notes. It only took one look at each other for all of us to start laughing uncontrollably at how I froze like a deer in the headlights.
After this first failed attempt, I began gaining more confidence in myself and was able to interview a couple of people here and there. I now use that first interview experience to help me with all my other interviews. I think of it and start laughing at myself, which makes me feel comfortable.
Now I feel that interviewing is almost second nature to me, very easy and actually fun. I get to meet new people who let me into their personal lives for five or 10 minutes before we go our separate ways. Interviewing is not the “Big Bad Monster” that I thought it was.