Tell Me Something Good

H: Humans of William & Mary, P: Peter, K: Kathy

H: What is your favorite part about being a senior interviewer?

K: Hearing people’s stories, which I guess is exactly what you do. I just met so many people over the summer interviewing and the people I work with that are constant reminders that there are people who are infinitely cooler than I am. To be surrounded by such inspiring people is really fun.

P: Just being able to discover those tiny little things that make these rad high schoolers tick, whether it be them being really passionate about Jewish History or being able to do a great Christopher Walkin impression or loving horses – but just really being able to see someone’s passion and the way that they talk about it, and seeing the sparkle in someone’s eyes.

H: What is the most meaningful conversation that you’ve had with a prospective student?

P: I think the most meaningful one that I had was a student who was very adamant about the fact that her and her parents did not have the same dreams for her…they wanted her to go into like cooperate finance or pre-med and she was like “I just love music, and I want to play music” and she ended up crying in the middle of the interview which ended up making me really sad as well because I was like “you shouldn’t have to conform to your parents way of thinking because that isn’t what’s going to make you happy in the long run.”

K: I guess one guy that I met was talking about how he loves staying up into all hours of the evening working on computer science projects in his basement, and he’s a high school senior and I was like “Wow I don’t have that drive”. And he was saying that he would much rather be doing that than sitting in a hospital, because he overcame a really rare type of bone cancer and so just like his desire to learn and work really hard after something I can’t imagine going through was really inspiring, and he definitely had that fire lit under him that I think so many William and Mary people have.

H: I hear a lot of people wondering where you guys come up with the super funky interview questions- are you guys involved with that at all?

P: Yeah, just like the weirdest train of thoughts spur the weirdest, most fun questions.

K: Backstory, yes, out interviews are completely unscripted. So we come up with the questions entirely by ourselves. The Deans don’t assign us any questions.

P: The Deans during training give us questions that we should maybe think about asking, such as “tell me about your high school experience and passions” or “what’s your favorite thing about your least favorite class”. My favorite section is the “fun section” is what I like to call it, and its just like asking these quirky questions. And I’m not going to judge anyone based off of what they say, like I won’t judge someone based off of what ice cream flavor they think they are – but I like to see if they are able to talk about themselves and go with the flow and think on their feet a little bit.

H: What is your favorite question to ask?

K: My favorite question is what I always start my interviews with, I just say “Tell me something good”, and that could be something about your day, your week, your summer, because it really puts the ball in the other person’s court and the interviewee really gets to decide where the conversation goes. And sometimes its something like “I spent the summer lifeguarding at the pool and it was awesome”, and that’s great, but some people have things to day like “This summer I started my own business using different models taking pictures of parking lots to see how much cement you need to fill the parking lot” and I’m like “You’re 17, how are you doing that”. So I really enjoy that. I always lead it with “I love to start everything off on a good note, so just tell me something good”.

P: I love to give a hypothetical situation, so my favorite is saying “Image that you had to give a Ted Talk, and it had to be like 15-20 minutes long, up to you how long it may be, but you have absolutely no time to prepare for it…and at this point their eyes are usually like “oh no”… what would you give your Ted talk on? And its mainly to see like what is this person an expert on…because a lot of times people will be like “the values of friendship” and things like that, but every now and again people will say things like “Olympic scandals” and I’ll be like “Ooo tell me more”. I also really love this one that I overheard my friend Josh asking, that’s “imagine that its just you and me in this room, and I start unloading puppies, breed of your choice. At what number of puppies would you start feeling uncomfortable?” And guaranteed everyone is like “UNLIMITED amount of puppies! No amount would make me uncomfortable!” and I’m like “Really? A tower of puppies? Dying by death of suffocation by puppies?” but then every now and then a kid will say something like “4” and I’ll be like “thank you”.

K: A realist!

H: I know the students are probably often really nervous coming in, but do you guys ever get nervous to DO an interview?

K: I don’t usually get nervous, but sometimes I think that maybe I won’t be my best self in the interview room, I mean we work in the office 8 to 5 over the summer at least. And then over the semester, every student has a laundry list of things that they have to be doing and we all walk around campus exhausted- so sometimes I get nervous that I’m not giving the person the full opportunity to share their story with me. And sometimes I’m thinking about a test that I really need to study for tomorrow, but I still need to leave all of my baggage at the door so that this person as my undivided attention for the next 30 minutes. So sometimes I get nervous about that- not fully having my heart in it. We’ve each interviewed definitely over 100 people, so I get nervous that sometimes I’m not giving each one the shot that they deserve.

P: I don’t get nervous before an interview or during it, but its after when I’m thinking if I really took the best notes on this person, or fully encapsulated in my notes the best way to evaluate this person for their evaluations, because I really want every student to have equal opportunity to be represented in the light that they gave to me, but if its on me for not doing the best note taking during the interview then I’d hope that that wouldn’t negatively impact them.

H: What do you guys hope to get out of your last interviews in these next weeks?

K: I think this is not just my goal for the next couple of months, but my goal kind of for senior year is to leave this place better than I found it. And something that is really weird about interviewing is that we will never be on campus with them at the same time because they will be entering as freshmen once we’ve graduated, and so I think that is really interesting. But I want to know that the legacy that I’m leaving behind at William and Mary is better than I found it- that there are more caring people, that they’re just as passionate as the role models that I’ve had during my time here….so I know that’s kind of a lofty goal, but that’s something that I want to do through all of my involvements senior year, to just leave it in a better place than I found it so I can be proud of the legacy that I’ve left behind.

P: I guess a goal of mine would be to just keep that level of zeal that I have in each interview, and use that knowledge and skill that I’ve developed to further develop and benefit relationships in the future. I feel like after interviewing so many people, we’ve been able to develop a skill of figuring out what makes people tick and we are really able to, in a sense, make people dive really deep and tell us things, which is really really helpful when you’re getting to meet a person and things like that. So like when I came back to school this year, I wasn’t so much like “tell me about your summer” but instead was like “tell me the top most meaningful moment of your summer” because I don’t think anyone wants to be asked “how was your summer” or “how was abroad” or things like that because that’s just so impossibly difficult to answer. But yeah keeping the same level of verve I have for each interview.

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