Not So Bad

Prior to the peer interview experience the position I was most worried about was the interviewer position.  I was afraid that I would run out of questions 10 minutes in and have to scramble to fill 30 more minutes.  I was also not quite sure where the interview would go because it’s not like I could have googled my partners to find out where they went to school and what they have done for the majority of their lives because we are still pretty young.  I was also aware of the equipment that I would be using during the interview and that seemed to make it much more of a formal thing than a simple conversation.

I volunteered to interview first and was surprised at how comfortable I was with the recorders and the microphone.  It was much easier than I imagined to think in the moment and ask follow up questions or write new questions to ask about later.  It was definitely more formal than a normal conversation because I still had the thought in my mind that the interview did need to last a certain amount of time, but there were lots of topics to discuss once I learned more about Meagan.  Most of the interview was about her project and I also asked about how she became interested in teaching and education.  I took an interest in her topic and her work as a private tutor, so I was genuinely curious about her possible research which made it easy to think of more questions to ask.

I tought indexing would be the easiest position, which it sort of was, but I found myself starting to forget that I had to take notes and I just started listening to the interview.  Lindsey had a lot of information about the history of fife and drum so I kind of sat and listened, but then I remembered I was supposed to be actively involved too.  With indexing in class for the first interview I found myself doing the same thing; I became an audience member rather than a member of the interviewing team.  I really need to work on engaging more when indexing and focusing on the topics.

Being interviewed was also something I was nervous about, which is strange because I’ve had many interviews, some of which were very important.  I feel like I’ve always done well in interviews but this was different because this one was not going to determine if I got a job or scholarship, it was purely to get information.  Also, the recording equipment was on my mind the entire time, I was more conscious of it when being interviewed than when I was the interviewer.  Lindsey was good about asking follow up questions to most of the things I talked about.  Meagan was also good about thinking of questions to ask after Lindsey was done.  I mostly talked about living on the West Coast and how swimming has influenced me.  Some of the questions Lindsey asked I hadn’t really given a thought to before, so when I paused to think of an answer I felt awkward because I knew the recorder was running.

I enjoyed interviewing the most out of all the positions because I felt more in control and I didn’t feel like I had anything important to say when I was interviewed.  I’m assuming this interview is going to be different from future ones though, because we are all peers and we are all girls.  Interviewing someone older could be intimidating and I might feel inexperienced as an interviewer.  I think it is usually easier to connect initially with someone your own age and gender so the first part of the interview is more comfortable.  As you get to know your interviewee I’m sure the interview will get better, but I’m still a bit nervous about interviewing someone I’ve never met.


About

The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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