The First Encounter

“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy” – Eminem. It’s like a bomb filled with nervousness that has to be diffused properly otherwise everything will go wrong. There’s no other way to describe that experience; the experience of sending the first email or phone call to the first professional. The more I typed, the more I wanted to erase. I wanted my e-mail to be perfect. I wanted it to show as much personality and respect as possible, while maintaining a proper level of desire, as too much would’ve come off as obsessive and sometimes even facetious. In the end, all I could do was to believe that my email was at its maximum potential, and hope that the professional would respond.

However, the process of getting research interviews doesn’t simply end there; one must send at least another 20 messages in hopes of getting at least 5 interviews scheduled. After sending one email, one cannot rest, rather he must continue to work in order to maintain a quota. There are too many professionals out there in this wide world; however, the majority of them are very busy with their current lives and therefore cannot take any time out of their lives for students. However, the few that can be taken on research interviews are diamonds; one cannot squander the chance of meeting them. Everything must be done in order to maintain a proper relationship with these professionals. Therefore, one cannot pester them too much about having an interview, act intimate when interacting, or come off as flippant, even while dealing with their assistants.

With all that said, I have sent out a total of twenty emails and made two phone calls. Out of these, I have made two interviews and am currently in the process of making three more. To me, these numbers are fascinating; I expected about two to actually reach back to me but was overjoyed with the unexpected news. In fact, I was happy enough when my very first email was responded back to in less than three hours, with an agreement to hold an interview, which will be held on October 6th, the Friday of next week. While I was ecstatic about this interview, I had to proceed to revise my email and mail and call other professionals. Within the next three days, I had sent out another 19 emails and made two phone calls, bringing me to a total of 22 attempts at contacting a professional. Out of those other 21 attempts, one had affirmed an interview and time by phone and three had agreed to an interview.

I have learned much just from emailing and calling these professionals. There’s a noticeable difference in being respectful and being stiff. After emailing each and every professional, one should adapt his way of writing to best suit the professional. If the professional sends concise emails, it’s safe to assume that one shouldn’t elaborate the details of the email, but rather state the points while also retaining an appropriate level of respect. Calling on the phone is a whole different ballgame in that if the professional does pick up, be prepared to answer questions off the bat and give a proper date and time, while also having backups in store. Furthermore, one’s voice and cadence is especially important because one can form first impressions off of those as well. However, everything has to begin somewhere, and usually, that first step is the largest hurdle in overcoming all the other hurdles; the first step is the one that determines one’s stride and momentum. By taking the first encounter head on, one can continue to move forward without lingering distractions.

See y’all next week,

Saif Haque

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