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Some lessons are unexpected

A few weeks ago, I got to be part of something pretty special that I would consider to be one of my “Top 5” experiences since becoming a journalist.

In my line of work, I am constantly meeting new people, which is one of the perks of being a reporter. You are able to get out from behind your desk and interact with all kinds of interesting folks from all different walks of life who all have a story to tell.

In these situations, I’m used to being the interviewer. I have questions in my head (or written on my notepad) and I ask these questions and find out as much as possible about a person or a particular situation so I can then come back to my office and put those words into some sort of coherent order and turn it into a story people will want to read.

But a few weeks ago, before school let out for the summer, I had the tables turned and I became the interviewee.

I was contacted by my high school Spanish teacher, a very sweet lady who still works with the school system and impacts hundreds of students by the work she does.

Mrs. Evans is one of those teachers who truly believes in her students and pushes them to do their best and live up to their full potential.

She had a high school student in her class this past semester who showed great potential for becoming a writer and she talked to him about the possibility of pursuing a career in writing. He wanted to know more about what it would take to be a journalist, so this is where I came into the picture.

Mrs. Evans called me to see if I would be willing to let this student interview me, and I hesitated at first, mainly out of shock since this was the first time I would be the one having to answer all the questions and I wasn’t quite sure what to think about that.

I eventually agreed to the interview and we got a time worked out for me to come to the school and let this student ask me all the ins and outs of being in the newspaper business.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the interview. I chose writing because I can sometimes be a spazz when I have to speak. My mouth can run a lot faster than my brain, and I knew quite earlier on in my life that public speaking was not my calling. And my penchant for being a spazz wasn’t limited to public speaking engagements. I could trip over my words just having a one-on-one conversation if I was nervous or not sure what to say.

So this is how I found myself the morning of the interview: nervous and dreading what I had to go do.

But isn’t it funny how some of the situations we dread the most end up being some of the best experiences?

The student was very smart ad he was very interested in being a writer. He asked me everything under the sun about college, my career, what I did, what I liked about the job, what I didn’t like, and how he could one day have a similar career.

He talked about wanting to make a positive impact through his writing and bring about change in certain areas through the stories he might cover.

By the end of the interview, I was actually inspired by HIM. He was so focused and driven. And on top of all that, I was touched that he was so appreciative of the fact I had taken the time to sit down with him and let him interview me. He thanked me multiple times and told me how helpful it had been.

I left the interview with a smile on my face, and as I walked to my car, I considered how that is the exact same way I hope people leave after I interview them – with a smile on their face.

If that one interview is any indication on the kind of future this kid has in store for him, he’s going to really do a great job once he steps into the “real world.”