Interviews are always scary in any form. I used to hate interviews in my college days specially since I had given enough of those IT interviews in India. In-spite of giving best of your answers there is a luck factor that plays in the interview. Also, I was very shy at that time since I used to have a fear that the interviewer knows everything. I knocked down all the offers I got from the IT companies and decided to go ahead in pursuit of higher studies in the United States. I kept on preparing for my student visa interview like hell. I had this nightmare where a woman with large eyes took my interview and punished me for not presenting few documents. After this everyday I ran from home to bank, to office, to college registrar to make sure all my documents are in order.
When I read past experiences of few folks whose visas were rejected I got scared. Specially, when I noted that they all said one thing in common - "The interviewer was arrogant. Didn't really gave time for any explanation." So, there were two factors involved - Time factor, arrogant interviewer. I went through minute details of USA like hows weather in california, what is the game played over there, does it snow in california? etc. I had prepared a big draft of possible visa interview questions for a student. After attending a seminar and mock interview I gained some self confidence in me. But I knew that I am shy and that might make me loose my confidence. My Mom knew this and told me one thing - "Be confident and nothing can deter your determination for further studies". With all these experiences in my mind I went to the U.S. consulate for giving my visa interview.
I was sitting in the waiting area where my token number was called and I was asked to wait in a line. When my turn came I saw the interviewer was a native american with strong american accent. Due to nervousness I was somehow not following his words. I tried to show some documents to him when he signaled me not to do that. Things were going good till he asked me about a project I did in my bachelors. That was a cryogenic project in a govt. institute that was getting funds from Russia. So, he mentioned this point and from then he became skeptical. He told me I will be interviewed again by another interviewer. I was totally panicking and can you imagine I missed taking autographs from Shaan and Kavita krishnamurthy who were sitting behind me for the visa interview!
Round 2 - The battle started again. This time as I saw in my dreams there was a lady interviewer with big eyes and strong personality. She asked me only about my project and if it was funded by Russia. I tried to be polite with her but she was rude and arrogant. She made me to wait and went inside to talk to other folks along with my project documents. Now, I had two choices either I behave like a goat and keep mum or raise my voice and not care about the outcome. I decided to choose the latter. This was the first fiery moment of my life when I raised my voice in a consulate and still being polite I asked them "How does it matter to you if my project was funded by Russia or not? Let me clarify you its not my individual project and I don't have any ties with Russian government. So, if you want you can call my supervisor there and ask him the details but don't screw my chances of further studies because of one silly reason." I was really angry and I wide opened my eyes and this time she was quiet and without any further comments she said "I was going to say that you will get your visa in the mail within next two days!"
Well, I don't know if this was the outcome of my strong speech or she was anyway going to grant me a visa, but this incident improved my attitude towards interviews. The lesson I learnt was - 'Stand up for yourself'
P.S. This post is written for Indiblogger's Fiery Grilled contest.