Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Yale Interview and My Encounter with a Cockroach

Hello again! Here's my recap of my past two days here at Yale:

On Tuesday, I had my interview at 9:00 am. Though I did not have to go to the lecture (since it started at 9:00) I still woke up bright and early to think about what I would say and what questions I would ask. Of course, another thing I had to do was to look up how to get to the interview place from our residential college. Google Map came in great use for that.

When I arrived, there were many people all around the room. I realized that they were all waiting for a tour of the campus. When 9:00 came around, someone called my name. His name is Joshua Levin, a senior interviewer at Yale. We introduced ourselves as we went upstairs for the interview. Only after a few minutes of questions, the fire alarm began to ring and everyone in the building had to evacuate. He apologized many times but I was really fine with it. We talked outside for another 10 minutes or so before we were able to go back inside. The first question he asked me was to describe my high school. He was also curious to see what kinds of classes I had taken this past year. That did not last too long, but something that did was when I mentioned my involvement with Interact. I talked about my position in both ECHS's club and my new role in the District Council, and mentioned some activities that I was involved with. He assured me that Yale had many volunteer opportunities and that definitely sparked my interests. Of course, I also mentioned my hobbies, such as playing the piano, swimming, and crocheting. Overall, this interview went pretty well and I actually learned a lot from him in such a short amount of time.

The question I asked (and the only one I had time for because we were already over 30 minutes) was about what active extracurricular clubs were offered at Yale. He spoke really fast but I picked up a lot of information. It was also really helpful because I never got a chance to take a campus tour of Yale. He mentioned the many residential colleges and how they all had the same amount of students in specific majors. I found that quite interesting.

After the interview, I quickly went back to Rosenfeld Hall where we have our lectures. We then had around 4 hours to work on our Marshall Brief Presentation, and I am glad because we were way behind then.

I enjoyed the lecture we had from Dr. Luong that night because it was something that I could well relate to. It involved tips about recovering from setbacks, failures, and catastrophes. I am always afraid about failing and this lecture helped me realize that there are no guarantees in life, and if I do fail, there are many options that I can take to reassure myself. Other topics covered include being regretful. There are so many times where I feel that I regret not doing something else; but I have learned to move forward and learn from the lesson, rather than thinking about making a mistake.

That night, I found something in my room. Specifically, it was a cockroach. I was horrified and tried my best to get help from my friends. My roommates were not back yet, but I finally got help from one of the instructors/mentors. He bravely knocked the cockroach from the ceiling but then scared me when he said that he did not know where it went. Not wanting to enter the room, I told him that I had a flashlight right on my bed. I finally spotted the cockroach as it ran across my pillow. He saw it too and snatched it using a plastic sheet. (Luckily, I had extra pillow cases with me).

That day was full of excitement and terror; it was one that I will probably remember here at Yale. Yesterday (Wednesday), we had more lectures and at night, we had a "Town Hall Discussion and Debate" with Dean Nick Coburn-Palo. He lectured for half of the time, and for 45 minutes, some students were called on to defend their position on the Speluncean case. (The essay that we had to write about on Sunday about manslaughter). I was really scared because it was uncertain who he was going to call on, but luckily, it was not me. Though, it was really close because one of my friends/classmates was also named Jessica (Jessica Xiao) and she was called on. Whew.

It is 7:30 A.M. right now (Thursday). We still have much to do for our Marshall Policy and still behind. We have a mock presentation later on tonight and our final will be tomorrow. I will keep you updated when I have a chance. Thanks for reading!


  1. Jessica,

    What an exciting few days you have had! How did you feel overall about your interview? Do you feel like you did well? What areas do you feel you need to improve on? Remember that the interview is not weighed too heavily in the application process. While it is taken into consideration, it is certainly not everything. It sounds like you feel pretty good about it despite the evacuation.

    As far as cockroaches go, I hear you! Prior to traveling overseas and pre-Peace Corps, I was deathly afraid of them. It was something I quickly had to get over if I was going to survive my time living in a 3rd world country for two years! At night, they would come out in masses in my bathroom while living in my little hut on a small island in the Pacific. It's strange but, over time, I ralized that they are just creatures of the earth just as we are and I began to look at them differently. Before I knew it, I was no longer afraid of them.

    Good luck with your Marshall Policy! I know you will do great. I am so proud of all you guys have done. I have truly seen you grow in the two weeks we have been here.

  2. Jessica,

    Fear of rejection and fear of failure can be our nemesis if we allow them to. If you think about it, what is there really to be afraid of?

    All through your life you’re going to be handed setbacks. It’s not the setback that you should be concerned with but how you deal with it. That’s what really defines you.

    As we’re faced with situations we also have to keep in mind that there will always be factors out of our control. We should only be concerned with the things we have a say in and just deal with whatever else is thrown our way.

    When you apply for that job you may be the best qualified but the interviewer has a nephew who needs a job, the interviewer may not like the color of your outfit, the interviewer woke up that morning hating the world—how do you control those things? You can’t so quit worrying about them and get over them.

    Whether it’s a speech, an interview or anything else in life, ask yourself whether the sun will rise and set with your success in that arena. If you don’t get that job, don’t get into that college or get turned out by that guy you just proposed to, ask yourself whether there are other colleges just as good, other jobs just as rewarding and other guys that might rock your world. You may feel rotten at the moment but that, too, will pass.

    The point I’m trying to make, Jessica, is that you can’t allow your fears to control your life. You’re bigger and better than that. Do the best you can—nobody can ask more of you.

    Now that cockroach, on the other hand, is something completely different. Ms. Larson is right in that there’s nothing about them to fear. That doesn’t mean that you have to feel comfortable around them or embrace them as a part of your life.

    I was living in an apartment many years back sitting in the living room watching the TV when out of the corner of my eye I saw a mouse scurry across the hallway and into my spare bedroom. I immediately shut the door on him trapping him. After the TV show ended I planned to go in there and deal with the little sucker. In the mean time, though, I sat in my living room with my .22 rifle at the ready in case he got out.

    Sadly, a few minutes later I saw him slip under the door, scurry across the hall and go into my own bedroom. In a perfect world I would have been able to go in there and spot him right away. Being the young guy that I was, though, my floors were covered with clothes and even the bed linens on my unmade bed were all over. That damned mouse could have been anywhere. I ended up sleeping in the living room the next three nights.

    Without hesitation I would have gone right up to the nastiest bad guy in town to whup his rear but that mouse bothered the bejeesus out of me. In my heart of hearts I knew there was nothing that mouse could do to me but I allowed myself to be bothered by the fact that he was in my space. Go figure…