What do all of these incredibly random things have in common? Well, usually nothing, but this week these are all topics I have researched for various reasons. I feel like I have gained some newfound knowledge and, in the case of Uganda, an appreciation for my good fortune. While all were for professional reasons, I still had very personal reactions to some of this.
I feel like I should share my experiences this week and try to give everyone a better understanding of what I’ve learned in the process. That said, it’s still really difficult for me to write about my personal life. That’s precisely the point of a blog, isn’t it? Afterall, it would be quite awkward blogging about what happens to other people. You could seriously make them mad in the process. So, in the interest of not alienating all of my friends, that brings me back to writing about me.
Personal narrative is what I have always struggled with in my writing. It’s like exposing part of your soul for the world to see and sometimes it’s tough to open up. There is a permanence to writing that doesn’t exist with spoken word. I can write research papers and business documents all day long — just don’t ask me to write about myself. Then again, I have difficulty writing about others too when I have to interview them.
I spoke to some communication majors last week about my experiences with graduate school (among other things) and I brought up the fact that I hate interviewing people. Yes, that’s right, I have a degree in communication and I despise interviewing. How did that happen? How on earth did I manage to get through a program that prides itself on pragmatic learning without actually gaining that skill? Well, I honestly think it’s because interviewing isn’t a skill you can develop. You sort of just do it and hope you ask the right questions. And, the trickiest part, there are no “right” questions.
What took me almost six years to figure out is interviewing is not really that difficult — especially for someone like me who loves to talk to people and learn all about them. It’s simply having a conversation. Of course, this kind of conversation does have that distinction of being probably one of the few discussions that you have to remember, or even take notes on. Regardless, it’s merely getting to know the person.
This week, I got to know a few alumnae who I interviewed for Flagler’s alumni magazine. And I realized there are some great people out there. You just have to take the time to get to know them. Thankfully for me I was asked to write about these ladies, or I would have missed out.