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Of Interviews and Extra-Curricular Involvements
What can be Gained from Interviews?
This afternoon, I was interviewed for Graduation Special Awards by the University Honors and Awards Committee. I really look forward to interviews such as these for I often find these insightful.
I remember one instance when I was interviewed for an award for leadership. It was then when I was asked how my involvement in a university-wide umbrella council of student organizations relates to my field of study, chemical engineering. Taken aback, I told the panel that there was no relationship between my extra-curricular involvement and my degree program, but that I do get involve myself in departmental activities and projects such as re-accreditation. Then, I silently told myself how lucky presidents of professional student organizations and students of the College of Business and Economics are for being able to relate their involvements with their fields of study.
It was only during my internship in an energy company when I was able to realize the real answer to the question raised during the said interview. During my internship in an engineering department of the said firm, I had the opportunity to handle a project, and it was then when I realized that not only managers need to know how to manage people; even engineers do. It was only then when it struck me how I took some activity planning tools for granted when I was preparing these for an organization’s activity. It was then when I realized that De La Salle University had indeed trained me to be a good engineer not only academically but also in dealing with people.
It is quite true that De La Salle University has an atmosphere that is able to encourage students to become active in student organizations. I, for one, can be said to be just a student with limited involvement when I was in high school. Yes, I was active in one club and was the news editor of our school paper, but other than that, I would often shy away from big time involvements. Yet here in this University, I was able to maximize the opportunities given to me to be involved. I was able to join an organization, be an officer of that and, eventually, be an officer and the head of a University-wide umbrella organization.
I believe that such a change does not happen overnight. It requires a lot from the student and from the academic community; however, it was possible. Just look at me. I was able to involve myself actively in campus activities in spite of the fact that the University follows a trimestral system with classes compressed to four days a week. This goes to show that, in spite of the University’s rigorous academic trainings, one is still able to squeeze in his/her time these extra-curricular involvements. And he/she becomes a better person for that because time management and being able to work under stress is something that companies really look for.
The best suggestion that I can give is perhaps to apply for awards at the end of your term of office especially when you are nominated. It is indeed a good chance to know how much you have done and how much you have forgotten to do. Do not remember to reflect after each phase for it gives you more chance to know yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses and your limitations.