Jump-Start Vol.6

I am a familiar, sub-optimal version of myself today, since not sleeping enough. The cloudiness of the day and running out of bananas also did not help.

To be fair, many of us make the choice to procrastinate on a Sunday anyway — especially after working on interview-prep most of yesterday. Also fair to say: I did more reflective writing than focused interview preparation. Then again, still fair to say, that I spent Thursday and Friday focused on brushing-up on SEVP and the duties of DSOs as they help students navigate DHS regulations (say that five times, fast — so much fun!).

The 40 Most Common Interview Questions (part 1)

My jump-start needs a jump-start, basically. Here it comes: the 40 most common interview questions according to HelloGiggles. Fishing through a sea of potential sites on Google, I decided to visit that site whose name amused me the most. Forty is also a special number because, as I recall from my previous life as a religious person, “forty” was a stand-in for “buttloads” in Biblical texts…

1) Can you tell me about yourself?

Yes; I will tell you about me.

2) What are your strengths?

I’ve been exploring that topic for the past 24 hours so I’ll just link that, here.

3) What are your weaknesses?

HelloGiggles was helpful, here, “because you can put yourself in the interviewer’s mindset to give the best possible response (I might have to revisit question 2 with that in mind). I’m sure my potential employer wants someone who will work steadily through a heavy caseload with minimal need for supervision, yet come immediately to colleagues when I am uncertain how to proceed because accuracy is paramount. The question is, what “weakness” demonstrates that I do well in that environment?

I’m tempted to recycle a weakness that went over poorly at an interview for a position in a tea-shop several years ago. I said my weakness was “I want things to work the way that they are supposed to…” and the tea-shop manager pounced on that like a tiger (I could see the relish in his eyes). This also calls to mind a main frustration with working in a preschool classroom, which was the space very quickly decaying — it was my job to maintain it.

I have, at times, reacted poorly to my work being undone and had to recompose myself and start over. That might be more of a pet-peeve than a weakness but it does cause me to save copies of things I don’t need sometimes because having so many back-ups puts my mind at ease. I have to be diligent about mopping-up all my back-up copies of things, though, and I like to keep moving-forward with my work. So, it’s important for me to purge periodically before extra copies of things pile-up.

I love this weakness! I don’t think I’ve ever had a weakness that was simultaneously true, yet demonstrates I’m precisely the sort of person who belongs in this job: the person who makes too many back-ups, alternate drafts, etc. etc. *sly smile* it’s a meticulous person’s weakness *cracks knuckles* …now we’re cooking, friends!

4) Why are you leaving your current job?

We touched on this briefly in my first interview. That doesn’t mean the question won’t reappear. Specific to me is “why haven’t you acquired a new permanent position in Grand Rapids?” I could just be honest: I want to both pursue a career in higher-education and return to the Piedmont. I’ve also had a string of jobs that are not precise fits ~ I wouldn’t say “bad” fits. My would-be supervisor (almost winkingly) pointed-out the value we find in jobs outside of our field. That’s a topic I want to revisit — or perhaps I already did that here?

5) What are you looking for in a new position?

I am looking for a job in the field of international education (check). I would like a job where I can gradually assume more responsibility and hone a particular set of skills (check, if I’m not mistaken). I want a job where I am part of a team that functions as such, where we’re not competing with each other and we care for our clientele, and manage administrators and bureaucrats with a cordial-but-realistic approach (maybe). I am looking for a place where I can be loyal and have that fidelity rewarded with some stability. I am looking for a job where I can slowly build relationships to other departments and become more knowledgeable about tertiary education, generally, and where there are just enough measurable outcomes that I can compare one year to the next with some credibility. I don’t want to be obsessed with measurables but I think those milestones are helpful data-points.

6) Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, and beyond? How will this job help you get there?

I seemed to be answering that here but I think I need to tailor my answer more. In ten years I still want to be working in tertiary education. I have considered being an academic or study abroad advisor, but I’m equally interested to see if my niche is at an Office of International Service like this one. Over the course of ten years I’ll learn with more certainty if I want to move laterally or vertically from this position. Certainly, this position is my opportunity to start a long-term process. I wouldn’t consider it a stepping-stone as much as a platform from which to work. My ambitions for a move, vertically or laterally, are over a ten year time-scale — I hope the next position I hold leads to either a promotion or another position in the same institution.
…all of that is the honest truth and I’m glad I articulated it!

7) What are your short-term and long-term professional goals?

  • Attend seminars and conventions so I can network with my counterparts at other universities
  • Help an office set records, in a positive way
  • Build synergistic relationships across departments at an institution
  • Be considered dependable and enjoyable to work with
  • Make “saves” with my eagle-eyed editing; be an asset
  • Long-term: I want to weather the next (inevitable) administrative transition and demonstrate my ability to adapt
  • Long-term: job security based on good performance — be ready for the next step in ~10 years

I think I’m not done with this question yet; HG recommends integrating these goals with research on the ‘company’. Perhaps one of my goals should be to see a client’s research be celebrated and be able to say “I helped make that possible”.

8) What are your salary requirements?

This question is forever a dilemma. HG recommends to ask “what is the range?” to put the ball back in the interviewers’ court. I certainly want my salary to be comparable to the entry-level salary of my counterparts but adjusted for inflation. I’m not clear about the cost-of-living in Baltimore beyond “less than DC”. It could be a good time to poke fun at the cost-of-living in Washington DC. I think I default to 36K? Based on what? You tell me, eh?

9) What do you know about this company/industry/position?

I know more than I would in a first interview. I know that their office is an amalgamation of branch offices, called together to one place during the pandemic. I know that the OIC doesn’t do their own orientation sessions (individual departments control students’ orientations) but they put together a comprehensive orientation slide-show for F1-status international students (45+ minutes ~ I watched the whole thing). I know that an OIS is the interface between a university and SEVP, which is itself part of DHS — itself an extension of the DoS. There are going to be specific obligations inherent and hard deadlines to meet.

Simultaneously, I sensed some warmth in this OIS. Their informational materials tend to encourage students to reach-out (althought they make it clear that students’ immigration status is ultimately their own responsibility… someone in this position wouldn’t be catching students by the ear and making them do their paperwork, like a parent might). “When in doubt, call” is a phrase I recall seeing on the website.

As I touched on in a previous “Jump-Start” installment, this OIS is focused on clerical tasks rather than running programs — program design and management is something I feel strongly about and enjoy, so I have to accept the reality. Still, it’s not all bad: there won’t be pressure to innovate or create, per se. They are thorough and organized. The quality of the slide-show mentioned is 100% adequate. High-grade? No. The audio sounds really ‘home-made’ and the slides are basic… but every word is clear and the slides are comprehensive. It’s everything that it needs to be and nothing unnecessary. That’s this OIS in a nutsheel.

10) What do you know about our company and it’s products/services?

…HG, this seems like the same question to me. “By focusing on the company and its values, you can demonstrate yoru preparedness to step into the job.” Okay, I’ll play ball:

I know that [university] is a respected private research institution and is correspondingly selective. Because of that, I understand my job will be to help students maintain their visa-status with minimum interruption so they can continue their work. One of the best ways to do that is to always make students aware of the soonest they can submit applications for employment authorization, renew visas, document their continuing full-time academic course-load, get signatures on their I-20s to allow for international travel, etc. I respect that this OIS has a news/updates feed to keep students abreast of changing regulations during the pandemic. I like that the OIS website has key processes linked on the homepage rather than buried in a side-bar. At every step, I see that this office is trying to communicate to students how to determine and be aware of their own timelines so that they experience minimum distruption and delay.

How’s that sound?

11) What are your skills and experience that pertain to this position?

Specific questions like this should be the easiest but for some reason they make me the most nervous: what if the facts are not enough? What if my experiences are not worthy of the recognition I believe they deserve?

I did work part-time in an international student office. I did, indeed, help students select the right forms to use and submit those forms. I navigated some idiosyncratic database software — I’m sure this office has a different package but I adapt quickly to interfaces.

I’m ready to navigate any socio-emotional hurtles that surface. That isn’t an explicit part of this position; they are explicitly not academic advisors, nor running programs on culture-shock or finding community while studying overseas. Nonetheless, I am ready: I anticipate those concerns will surface and I will understand my limitations — I’ll also know how to direct the student to the resources that they need. I’m looking for those junctures rather than afraid of them. I led dialogues. I worked at a conflict-resolution center. I traveled…

…and we’re full-circle again: I know what it’s like to pass through a Port-of-Entry and be treated with suspicion, undergo secondary inspections, be stopped by the police at random, live with constant militarism (something they might encounter at home?)… my seasoning is spicier than the average white-guy…

I’ve written most of a grant with my team looking over my shoulder, swallowing my anxiety. I’ve been through the initial culture shock and an even longer, more profound (if more subtle) bout of reverse-culture shock. I was used to where I had been and the world I returned to was colder, even if it was less hectic — not just less heat but less community, for me.

This question is really all the meat of an interview! Am I familiar with the stakes of the clerical work? Yes, though less than I wish. Am I ready for inevitable curveballs? Yes, they’ll be familiar curves to me. Can I transpose experiences from other, unrelated jobs to this one?

That’s the fun challenge: sell that my experiences in other positions count. Obviously, facilitating that workshop for first-year, first-generation students is applicable. Not much needs explained, there (but it was focused on the socio-emotional aspects).

What did working in the laboratory teach me? Good COVID19 protocols, of course. Precision matching (that will sound good to them)– yet another instance where being precise was required and I learned to do that continuously.

The factory… *sighs*

Lawncare. I was responsible for a slate of assignments every day. I learned to budget my time and energy according to what I learned, first-hand, on earlier jobs. I learned to appreciate a 40 hour work week by having some 50, 55, 60 hour weeks of physical labor. I learned how to bring a broken piece of equipment back and not shirk the responsibility, yet also not internalize accidents as part of my ‘self’, as a technician.

The preschool is the really tough one. I want it to go away, sometimes. I’ve never made a bigger string of mistakes. On the other hand, interviewers love to ask about mistakes. It’s so tough to suss-out because there’s no doubt that school was my shadiest employer. Even if they didn’t believe they were running a scam, I think the net-effect was to scam-away public money. A close-friend warned me about charter schools.

The ‘problem’ is I cannot think of a mistake made in that environment that is relevant. Each ‘misstep’ stemmed from the fact I’m suited to THIS type of position, working on behalf of college students in an office environment with adults who have done this before. I learned that a new location is vulnerable to bad workplace culture — a sister school would’ve been a tremendous help both for practical reasons and my morale. I did a classroom observation with another Montessori school but *cocks head* …it still felt ‘off’ to me. Those kids were under more control but that sometimes made me feel sad for reasons that are hard to explain.

A little boy was having a birthday. While he sat in the middle of the room, on a rug, waiting for his peers to gather for the celebration, he went into a “seed” pose. Have you ever seen someone curl-up on the floor with their forehead down? I saw him do this several times throughout the day, so I had nicknamed him “Genuflector” in my notes– he seemed like he was bowing in abject worship to the Montessori classroom. I’m sure he was taught to do that in order to emotionally regulate and it was an effective strategy. I wished my students would curl into neat little balls. But the humane part of my heart protested “…shouldn’t he be playing soccer somewhere? Or playing with an animal? Or helping a family-member bake something delicious for his birthday? Shouldn’t he at least be at a desk staring at a whiteboard, as children do in public school, and stealing moments where he can doodle, or play with something he stashed at recess, or sneak peaks at comic books, or (FFS) do anything other than curl into a ball?” It was totally normal to his lead-teacher to have a lump of child laying in the middle of the room like an uncooked cookie-dough. *I shudder as I write*

At Methodist Federation for Social Action I learned to use a graphic design program, work in coalition (I worked across departments at AU, too! I worked closely with HR on AA reporting…), run social media and a blog, and do a wide-variety of things I doubt I would do in this position but, hell, I might have to do. I would do anything out-of-the-ordinary gladly.

Wi’am is where we start to run into experience that is relevant but in a different way. I took responsibility for long, meticulously edited documents but also for periodic short-pieces to showcase our work. I helped with hospitality and maintaining office cohesion — we call them “soft skills” in the West but those skills were vital in that environment. I kept a flexible idea about the ‘best’ way to do things — I often reserved judgment, waiting for more information. I learned to have compassion for my counterparts in more-stable placements when unexpected calamities struck — learned not to play comparison games but, instead, reach-out with encouraging words rooted in experience rather than platitudes.

Seriously, do I have 19 more questions?!? I wish I’d started sooner. I feel better since I started working my way through these… at the same time, I’ve got another 40 from another website (it is what it is: I want to be READY)

12) Why do you want to work for us?

I think what I admire about this OIS is reflected in my musings, here, but I want to pitch my interest more succinctly and enthusiastically. It has to go beyond “because my friend works there and I want to move back to Maryland”. The high degree of organization apparent from their website shows me that they are practiced; this OIS is a place to go to learn best-practices. They seem like they already know whom they are, and said during the first interview that many of them had worked together for a long time. A less developed office has its advantages, too, because there are opportunities to innovate and distinguish one’s self but my goal right now is to have a tool-kit of best-practices. That’s an aspect of this OIS that is already strong. Complete. Intuitively organized. Practiced and cohesive. Good sequencing.

13) How did you learn about the opening?

Jacquelyn let me know as soon as the job posted because she understood from previous conversations that I want to work in an office like yours. I gleaned from prior conversations with her that this OIS is the type of work environment I’m seeking.

14) What is your greatest achievement to date?

I feel lucky that several things popped to mind and I have to pick one… and share it. My narrative about myself ‘sank’ to match my misfortunes but that wasn’t faithful to the reality: I’ve accomplished things that I am proud of:

  • £5000 grant proposal for a summer camp in Bethlehem — but that camp had run for over a decade and the funder was familiar to us. What was remarkable is that I would not have been there if I hadn’t endured my own challenging visa-process (problem: this is a sticky subject)
  • Garnering over 150+ applications for the TALK Intercultural Dialogue Program. There had never been that level of awareness about the program, to-date. I don’t know what Jacquelyn’s numbers were like (is this a trap I’m setting for myself?)
  • Writing my master’s capstone is something that I’m proud of, still — it’s barely related to this position but I could talk about it glowingly
  • I did create that presentation on academic integrity for international student orientation when I was just an undergraduate, myself…

15) What can you offer me that other candidates cannot?

HG suggests that I shouldn’t try to fit myself into the mold of the perfect candidate — they say I should let them know exactly what they are getting. They are getting someone who was kind of a black-hat at the bridge from Jordan to Israel; when they understand why, perhaps they will value that experience as much as I do. Technically, I met my obligations *shrugs* my paperwork was what it needed to be. It’s not a good look that other people took care of most of the clerical issues but we couldn’t leave that to chance.

On the other hand, I should let them know what I’m capable of in terms of team-building, promoting and managing programs (if they need to start an initiative), and generally taking the creative liberties that aren’t strictly necessary but can add appeal and even prestige.

They are getting someone who wants a chance to show loyalty. I want to get somewhere and stay there for a while; my ambition doesn’t outpace my contentment — I respond to need rather than a need to achieve, now. That coolness puts me in a better position to manage conflict or respond to collective challenges. It’s rooted in collective responsibility rather than an out-of-control work-ethic. There’s no intention to exert myself… unless that’s precisely what we NEED! Then, I flick a switch and come to life.

16) Why should we hire you over another candidate who may be more qualified than you are for this position or who has more experience?

Ain’t this one just ‘the rub’?

My gut reaction is “because I have a history of service”. Because when I probably had the choice to go to Ireland and do something easier, probably better for my mental health, I chose to lock-horns at the border and enter the ‘best of times and worse of times’ in the West Bank. I’m surprised HG doesn’t have more advice for this one. This is crucial: what do I say when it’s obvious that I’m not going to out-compete another candidate at the most qualified or experienced? It’s not unlikely that this is, indeed, the situation.

I’m a hire that will appreciate steadily in value. I want to stick around. I want to find subtle ways to add value, to bolster the office without pressing for radical changes.

My biggest selling point might be my interest in connecting with the rest of the university to whatever extent is appropriate. I believe those inter-departmental relationships are in the interest of our students (their students, for now… not ours yet…). If there ever are tensions between the OIS and a deparment, the strength of prior relationships could create the foundation for a smoother, back-channel resolution to conflict. Why am I better in that position?

My communication degree and contact with conflict resolution probably combine to make me the natural choice for a harmonizer. I am always looking closely at every interaction, trying to understand. I know how to be right without being righteous about it, how to meet people in the middle, how to find the humanity in inhumane systems, how to make tough choices between being honest in the moment and staying faithful to my overall mission. I won’t freak-out when things go off the rails. Again, that’s what they’re actually getting… even if it isn’t the ideal candidate, it’s the opportunity inherent in hiring me.

…and I was ITEP happy-hour coordinator. I believe in cohort-effect, I cultivate cohort effect, I make an effort to know everyone I might need to work with so I don’t have to ‘meet’ someone and ask them for something in the same breath.

17) Tell me about a project that went beyond the scope of your work?

But I want to show good work/life boundaries! I’m only partially kidding.

Designing the presentation for international student orientation went above-and-beyond but that’s been more than ten years ago so I’m hesitant. An obvious, kinda’ funny example is when I volunteered to proofread the newsletter at Joy’s office in Hong Kong. I was there and prefered not to just wander around the city every day. I was still drawing a paycheck from GBGM — plus, that was my chance to take a bite out of wage-theft!

This might be the time to mention Mindanao Peace-Building Institute and how that was beyond the scope of what I absolutely had to do but I took peace-education (and developing as a faciliator) seriously enough that I dove into those field-schools. Again, I was drawing a paycheck and I hated sitting idle in Jordan just trying to save money.

Because my coworkers don’t always read/write/speak English as a first language or they’re native speakers who just don’t enjoy writing as much,taking-on writing projects is usually how I go beyond my job-description. I’ve certainly took blog and social media posts to a higher-level at MFSA — in fact, no one asked me to learn GIMP. I wanted to learn that skill and use it. A few years later, I applied it to a program promotion challenge and the response I got was significant. I feel good about this question.

18) How would you describe yourself in three words?

Adjectives or nouns? I might ask them to choose. Or I’ll use verbs instead. Who ever uses verbs? Could be a good angle.
Verbs: Prepare, Engage, Synthesize
Nouns: Brother, Musician, Interculturalist
Adjectives: Durable, Inquisitive, and Novel (as in new or unusual in an interesting way)

19) How do you handle stress or pressure?

I start by hydrating and taking stock of the food and controlled substances going into my body– ensuring I sleep well enough; it doesn’t hurt to start by caring for all the physiological variables because they are easier to control. Breathing is probably the most immediate — other tacticle exercises.

It’s important to remember (and this wasn’t always intuitive to me) that stress is a response in my body to triggers that might not have a physical cause. I have a variety of ways I can meet my stress physically after hours but I think they might be more interested in how I do that while on the clock. If I am responding to another person’s behavior or communication I find it helpful to avoid the primary attribution error, as we called it in interpersonal communication — don’t believe that a person’s bad behavior comes from a permanent character attribute or that they are ‘causing’ my stress response. I try to actively understand their stressors. That’s good in two-fold ways because it both helps me treat them with dignity and it gives me a sense of competence when I’m able to relate successfully to that person.

Speaking of a sense of competence, if one aspect of my work is tending to cause me stress and I can’t avoid that aspect, I can always remind myself of the other aspects of my work that I’m very good at or situations in the past where I’ve handled stressors successfully. Failing that, I can engage my dark sense of humor and try to laugh at the absurdity of it.

I have so many anecdotes. Still, I’m likely to start forgetting when my arousal levels are high.

20) What are the things that interest you outside of work?

I’m so glad you asked! Poetry! Music! Marvel Films! My Nephew! Making Friends (I hope)! Finding Love (I really hope)! Language Learning, whether I’m going to use it or not! Oh. I just noticed that the question asked for only 3 things… ‘^^

21) What motivates you?

As readers may know, I am a complex beast. Through the lens of this job my main motivations include a sense of purpose because I would be part of making international exchange happen. I am also motivated by my appreciation for the opportunity to work in this environment — and to make Jacquelyn look good, I hope (ROFLMAO)… we’ll say that accountability is a motivator. How about collegiality & professionalism as motivators? Becoming part of the field and gaining that sense of belonging. Belonging is the thread that runs through all of those.

Yet that’s only one side. Embrace the Tao: I do get a kick out of putting my imprint on processes when appropriate. I want to manifest a sense of style and uniqueness. Walking the line between familiar and weird and living in that tension — between difference and mutuality.

22) Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss.

Ooooh… here’s a tight-wire to walk. It’s important to have initiative but I also want to show I can follow-through with an order I disagree with, if I must. I’m glad I ran into this question beforehand because it would derail me Tuesday.

I just had a hearty laugh: I was always free to disagree with Chett but I understood that I was making a case with him and I would still do as he asked. He would never ask me to do anything unethical. The episode I’m remembering is when I thought our small DC nonprofit should take-on the issue of insecticides and the epidemic of colony collapse plaguing honey-bees at the time and he felt like we needed to keep the organization focused on fewer issues. I agree with him, in hindsight, that organization was already taking on a daunting variety of issues. We discussed it. He said “no bee activism” and I didn’t take that personally, nor as a sign he didn’t care about bees. I took down the pro-Bee visuals I’d made and stopped doing that. It’s also an example of good management on his part because he calmly explained what he wanted me to do and why without discouraging me from being proactive. This was 2013 but even then it made sense to respond to news quickly on social media.

23) What was the last book you read and enjoyed?

I re-read “Dead Voices” by Gerald Vizenor recently. Check it out some time.

24) How well do you work under pressure and tight deadlines?

I have often fed from the energy of that. Tight deadlines offer the benefit of telling me when I need to finish something, so I don’t have to do any estimating, and also carry the promise of being able to let go of that task at that time and move-on. I assume that my colleagues are also feeling that pressure so it creates opportunities to touch-base and bond by necesity. For example, the day that the Wi’am office asked me to help them prepare a grant proposal that was due later that day (in the United States, so we had extra hours). We all stopped what we had been doing to work on this proposal together. I felt mildly anxious but I gradually sank into that feeling like a bath that was a little too hot and got cozy with it. It helped that these were the same people who encouraged me to relax and eat when there weren’t deadlines looming. The kept me full of bread, falafel, and strong coffee.

Pressure is familiar territory in most of the jobs I’ve held so I feel like I could talk their ears off, here. Once I get rolling, more and more examples are coming to mind (and I want to write about them, believe me, but they’re coming so easily that I think I should move-on to more difficult questions).

25) How would your boss and co-workers describe you?

They might describe me as quirky but durable. Again, the examples are pouring out of my ears.

26) What is your greatest achievement outside of work?

Being the musician that I am. I feel like I’ve just barely scratched the surface of it, too. I’ve been meaning to share the story of how I wrote a band/orchestra piece called “The Huntresses”, a piece of music I still haven’t decided what to do with! I’m a passable improvisor. These might not be my ‘greatest’ achievements in the eyes of our society and economy but they mean something special to me.

27) Give me an example of when you had to compromise in order to meet deadlines or overcome a difficult situation at work.

Compromise is a constant companion. I remember when I did a session with a writing center client at a place and time that were not according to policy (but I was still on the clock). This client was on the graduate student council and had several times made the case for more funding for the writing center. So, I took time out of my break — at the break-room table in the writing center — to consult on her project and keep her happy. The graduate consultant on duty was not happy with me, ironically, but the director was because, well, we had to keep it real.

That story might not be optimal to share with an office bound by DHS regulations — I violated a writing center policy in the best interests of the writing center but I still violated policy. Of course, lying to border control is a compromise to get out of a difficult situation… …I keep circling to that…

Compromises were super common as a camp counselor. Most of my compromises aren’t relevant to a position where it’s so important to “dot all my i’s and cross all my t’s”. It helps to not be attached to outcomes I cannot control, anyway. The light just went on in my brain: the Christmas Smiles project I mentioned in the first interview. A small party did take place for the children of the employees of the center. I’ve often thought about that and the violation of Western ethics. I kept in mind that I was new there and working in a different culture. I started a Word document where I could record more instances like that. However, nothing of that nature happened again that I was aware of — compromising my Western ethical ideals in that once instance was vital to building my working relationships. I had more resources and control the next year and I was able to ensure the entire neighborhood could be at the party.

28) How would you describe your work-life and personality to others?

In the various and sundry ways I already have in this entry. I would use this as an opportunity to call-back and elaborate on earlier answers.

29) Which aspects of the job impacted your decision to join our company?

The various and sundry aspects that I am now calling-back and elaborating upon, from earlier.

30) Tell me about a time you failed.

Here’s an important question. We already began to address this in the first interview, where I mentioned Christmas Smiles. I think I can do better than that. The problem is, it’s now past 9pm and I didn’t sleep well last night. I really want to give this question the space and time it deserves. All the rest of the questions listed are really juicy — I almost wish I had worked this list backward!

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