Crossing fingers.

Next Tuesday, I’ll be going for another university admissions interview. It is for the Philosophy major, a new degree they’re offering. With a small starting intake, it’s gonna be more difficult than I can imagine.

Interviews scare me. Actually, speaking too much do. The last one I went to got me feeling alittle traumatized still. I googled information about the course and the university’s culture of interviewing its candidates. I don’t know if doing this sort of prior research does help. It only gets me feeling more panicky than ever. Yesterday afternoon when I received the call from the university, I was elated they called back afterall. They have made quite a number of calls for the past few weeks but I was on an overseas vacation and I didn’t return the call when I was back. They asked whether I was still interested and I said “Yes! Definitely, I’m interested!” and immediately agreed to go for it. They told me there is gonna be a written test and an interview with one of the professors.

Writing for any official purpose is not something I enjoy. I like to write for leisure, for fun. I don’t have a good command of English – not good grammar, neither do I have a range of vocabulary to exploit when I write. And I don’t speak the language very fluently as well! I say I’m open to people critiquing my writing, but getting a rejection for bad writing… there isn’t anything good to feel about that. Stephen King was good at it (ref: Stephen King’s On Writing), taking in every bit of criticism and rejection but he still continue to write and send his writings back to the same magazines.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to do some last-minute preparations, especially reading. General idea of Philosophy, what each branch of the subject encompasses, articles, etc. There’s gonna be alot of reading to do for a kind of subject like this.  But I still know little about what renown philosophers, like Socrates, Plato, Confucius, stand for to comment about their principles. Like the previous time I prepared for my first admissions interview, I’ve been rehearsing my replies to the interviewers in the bathroom, if any of the questions I’ve predicted were asked on that day!

But it helped just alittle for the last interview because the rest of my thoughts just scuffle away when I’m nervous. I can’t contain myself! This afternoon, I was just thinking about this quote from the movie, Frozen (I don’t obsess myself with it religiously, but I came across the quote somewhere in the Internet). Tell myself that there’s something more important than my fear, tell myself that there’s something more important than my fear, tell myself that there’s something more important than my fear!

 

University interview.

Today, I went for the interview for one of the universities I applied for. I’ve heard it’s best to go in the interview without any intensive preparation, just be yourself – that’s what they say. I suppose if I did prepare anything, it would barely help. Like an oral exam, the candidates are given 15-20 minutes to read an article and scribble notes of our thoughts. The article talks about the art of busyness; something about time management and how we’re really less busy than we claimed to be.

I panicked. My hands were cold and shaking. No specific questions asked, so it really depends on how far one’s thinking can go. I feel like I’m just reiterating the points of the article. Afterwards, we were ushered to this meeting room with two interviewers, who were professors of the respective majors in the faculty. There were 8 of us, split into two groups of 4. We spent some time introducing ourselves and explaining the why-s (why we chose to major in Social Sciences and why this university).

This part went alright because it was easy to point out how that university stands out from the rest. The discussion that comes next was the real killer. The minimum discussion time was 15 minutes to present our notes and discuss. It was clear I didn’t do well but I guess I got over it by now. I need to get over it, there’s little I can do to savage the situation. I am certain that I really said my piece. The candidates in my group did some proper discussion and raised some interesting points which spur further discussing from the professors themselves. They speak very eloquently and responded in a matured manner, precise and to the point. I was impressed and so were the professors, very much!

In fact, I am aware I did the worst in the group. For a moment, the interviewers and the fellow candidates all turned to me when I didn’t speak. I spoke little and what comes out of my mouth, for sure, aren’t golden. Quantity and quality, I lost them both. It was a real fright. Nothing comforts me more than the end of the interview. It is not that I’m not taking this seriously, I’m aware that I want this and really did everything I could to focus and not let fear get in the way.

High expectations.

At any point of our lives, we’ve had expectations for ourselves. Then, the next time you try to spin up another expectation for yourself, you either feel more hopeful than the previous time you expect that you can do something OR the disappointment from the previous expectation calls out to you to lower your expectations and refrain getting your hopes high on them.

Are errors really stepping stones to where you want to be in the future? Of course I’m aware that everyone of us makes mistakes, it’s a universal logic. But the thing is, some of the many mistakes we commit are the ones we’ve tried to prevent ourselves from making it, just to only make it worst in the end.

Sometimes, I think there isn’t a need to make exceptional efforts to do that. And it is possible to see ourselves overcoming obstacles at unexpected times without marking it down officially. These days, I’ve been reminding myself that tomorrow is another day and there’s always this possibility (even if it’s like a brief, short-lived fizz in a soda drink) and an opportunity to change for the better. Although I realize that it’s easier said than done, perhaps I could experiment it out whether constantly reminding yourself of something positive would help to overcome the obstacles I created for myself from the beginning.

Ref: Discussions on Youth by Daisaku Ikeda