The fun begins at Wordsmith’s Cafe

Today was my first official meeting with Zarese, my Pilot 7 partner! Before this meeting, I emailed Zarese a copy of my rough weekly schedule (literally my whole life - sorry Zarese!). So therefore, when Zarese and I met at Wordsmith’s Cafe, it was easier to establish how I would work to achieve 100 hours. In the end, we arrived at working four hours in the office, and two and a half hours on the weekend each week, until November. We also exchanged numbers and agreed to notify one another should anything clash with our plan, such as sickness.

Throughout the meeting, I noticed Zarese’s driven, yet understanding personality. To my mind, this is an invaluable quality when working in partnership. We both have different lives - fixed working hours vs. demanding student hours. So, I felt at ease to know that Zarese was willing to be flexible if ever my workload became too much. We also discussed and bounced around ideas in regards to the spotlight stories I was to create, and decided I would additionally document the progress of all other Pilot programs on an online blog! And so, here we are!

Welcome to the experiences of all Students as Partners (SaP) pilot program participants. I can’t wait to see what we achieve!



The tricks of the interview trade

This week, I interviewed my first ‘talent’ (some nifty slang I picked up from Matt, the Media Production Manager at UQx-ITaLI, which basically means: I interviewed my first person on camera). Although it was a challenge, it was also my biggest highlight. Initially, I was quite nervous. I wanted my talent feeling as comfortable and relaxed as possible (au naturel) on camera. I also wanted my talent to enjoy the experience. But, I soon realized my talent was significantly more nervous than I was. I quickly learned that as soon as a talent locks eyes with the camera, their whole persona can change - for better, or for worse.

Zarese came along to this first interview, to guide and support me. We set up the camera equipment at the UQx studio filming room, and took our places. I was the interviewer. But, once the camera started rolling, the talent’s anxiety increased, and so; the language barrier present also increased. This limited the talent’s articulation of said mentoring experiences, and frequent prompts or suggested appropriate phrases were required. It was a huge help having Zarese there. The tips and tricks she shared made me feel more confident. By simply observing Zarese’s own confident and expert communication with the talent, I also felt more at ease and inspired to do the same. Zarese was incredibly patient and encouraging when the talent’s nerves kicked in. For instance, at one point, the talent was expressing disappointment in regards to the numerous retakes, and looked defeated. Zarese didn’t once negatively criticize the talent. Instead, she made kind suggestions, and was generous with her positive feedback (e.g. “That was perfect!”). This positive feedback reflected on the talent’s face with a smile, the talent’s body language became more self-assured, and the talent then spoke more confidently. This was amazing to see. Who said compliments won’t get you anywhere? They will get you everywhere!

In essence, this interview experience was challenging but fun, and I know I will learn and grow from this. In future, I aim to build up my talent’s confidence, and ensure that I myself am confident in my body language. If my body language is confident, then I expect my talent’s body language will be also, or more at ease at least, much like my own boosted confidence from merely observing Zarese.
I am grateful for this experience.

My take away lesson: go where you grow!


“In the fortnight prior to conducting this interview, I invited Sophie to attend a short ‘interview skills’ training session with me, conducted by Matt Peterson from the UQx team. This was an invaluable starting point for Sophie to learn how to set up a camera and the important features of interviews - but was only an insight into some of the challenges that can occur while filming. As Sophie describes above, when people are placed in front of a camera, they can freeze up, which makes the task of ensuring they look natural and relaxed on camera quite difficult. It was great to see Sophie adapt in this situation; she didn’t give up or become frustrated but instead encouraged the talent with positive support. I think Sophie took away a few key learnings for the way she’ll structure her interviews in the future, but more importantly she demonstrated the interpersonal skills and adaptability required when working in a communications role.”