Danni Lynn McDonald '19
Alumni Office Internship Blog
In week #4, I enjoyed a number of wonderful interviews and even went out to lunch with the incredibly enthusiastic and accomplished alumna, Michelle Warholic. It was a good week and I have fallen into the pattern of my interviews as I discovered which questions revealed the best stories and which ones only received automatic responses.
During these interviews, I have come to enjoy a seemingly basic question: what are three words to describe yourself? This question, asked so many times has never been simply answered unless the interviewed happened to have a memorized answer prepared! That hasn’t been the case so this question often catches people off guard in a moment of self-reflection. It is easy to answer in sentences but in one summarizing word? Not only one but three individual words? This has always been the most difficult question, making both of us trying to think of synonyms and easy explanations but then after a lot of thought, wonderful descriptors come to light such as: “inquisitive”, “loyal”, “grateful”, “easy-going”, “passionate” and “sincere”. What would one good word for “to take someone under your wing and look out for them” be that is not “caring”, “nurturing” or “guiding”?
Another favorite question of mine is: do you think Hiram prepared you for your future? Every time, our alumni give me the same Hiram-esque answer: yes, because Hiram exposed them to many different people, backgrounds and personalities on campus, made them avid life-long learners, opened their eyes and empowered them as change agents. Hiram’s values shine in our alumni and students, just as much as back then as today.
To conclude this week, I did learn something very important that I will continue to use throughout my time as a writing intern. Sometimes the best questions and conversations flow naturally away from the regimented course of my “Interview Questions for Alumni” list and develop into great topics. This seems obvious looking back at it—of course natural conversation is better but as a beginner, I clung to that sheet of questions like a guiding light. As I grew more comfortable with these conversations, the guidelines soon faded into the background and are now my back up as the wonderful twists and turns of dialogue share natural anecdotes.
Danni Lynn McDonald
Humans of Hiram spotlights a different faculty, staff, student, alumni, or friend each month.