How cherubs gave me confidence

Will she reject me?

Will she just ignore me and walk away?

I struggled and practiced my introduction tons of times by murmuring to myself. Surprisingly, when I finally asked her for an interview, she quickly agreed and patiently talked to me for a few minutes.

I’m not shy in daily life. But yes, I’m different from most of the other cherubs. I’m an international student from China, and I’m not a native English speaker.

After my first interview, I knew I couldn’t keep using the excuses I had been making for myself as a way to avoid talking to strangers.

I started to chat with my roommate and friends as much as possible to get rid of my Chinese accent. I hoped practicing with them might help people understand me better during interviews, so I tried to say things as slowly and clearly as possible.

As the program went on, I became much more confident in myself. After being encouraged by Roger Boye, our program director, I even interviewed Evanston’s police and fire chiefs at the Fourth of July parade.

For my feature story, I needed to get sources from dog owners around Lake Michigan. Wandering around the lake, I found four women picnicking on the grass with their dog.

I hesitated for a second, as usual, but then decided to go up to them. They agreed to speak with me and invited me to sit with them — I even played with their dog during the interview.

It was an unforgettable 40-minute chat.

Now, I’m no longer afraid to talk during interviews.

Yes, I might still have a Chinese accent and sometimes I still stumble over words, but now I believe in myself.

I know as long as I have courage and confidence, I will go out and interview more people and use every conversation as a new opportunity to improve.