An Interview with Justin (boy, age 17)


Nancy:  What have you been doing this week?

Justin:  I’ve been, sort of, preparing for finals,* finishing up work, trying to balance the things I need to do with the things I should do.   I need to do things like studying for a test now or getting in assignments that are past due and I should do things like exercising or catching up on things that will help me up ahead, on tests in the future.  I’ve been doing homework and getting assignments done and preparing for tests.  I’ve been trying to work on a big English assignment and preparing for finals.  I stayed up all night trying to finish, as well as preparing for a performance on the clarinet.

Nancy:  Tell me about the English assignment.

Justin:  You have to do it to pass the class.  You have to talk for ten minutes with just a few notes about a literary work we’ve read.  I chose Into the Wild* because to me it was the most interesting.   Doing things you don’t really want to do is a lot harder.  I’m trying to show how the author shows a main character as slightly mentally unbalanced.

Nancy:  Can you tell about the clarinet performance?

Justin:  It’s a thing called Solos and Ensembles and it’s a kind of competition.  Like a ton* of high schools in take part in it.  It’s a state-wide competition.  You, like, have this solo and you perform it in front of a judge.  If you do really well, you go to a state competition.  You can bind together and do it with others as an ensemble.  I’m doing a solo and an ensemble.

Nancy:  Have you been doing anything else?

Justin:  Well, let’s see.  I’ve been trying to get a basic draft of a book I want to write.  I feel like the essays you write in school are constricting.*  This is writing I enjoy doing.  It helps me relax and wind down.*

Nancy:  What do you want to do after high school?

Justin:  I want to go to a university and get a doctorate in some kind of science.  Right now I’m aiming for entomology, the study of insects, especially ants.  That’s my passion.  I’m really interested in the complex societies they form and how they work together.  If you want to get me talking, ask me about ants.  They have really complex and diverse societies.  They are the most complex of all animal societies.  It is ants, not elephants or primates or monkeys, that are the closest to human societies.

Nancy:  I know that when you were small, you had serious health problems.  Your parents had to take you to the hospital really fast many times.  Is that still true?

Justin:  I still have health issues.  I have allergy induced asthma.  That means that I have allergies that sometimes make it very difficult to breathe. It limits me from doing activities or going places sometimes.  It’s just part of my life.  I live with it.*

Nancy:  Is there anything that you would like to say to kids in Afghanistan?

Justin:  In the end,* we’re all human.  It’s good to have an identity and celebrate your history, but in the end, we’re all human.


Finals   The exams at the end of a school term are called finals.

Into the Wild  A true story about a young man who died while trying to live alone in the wild parts of Alaska.  It was written by John Krakauer.

A ton of An informal way to say “a lot of” or “many.”  A ton is a 2000 pound (900 kilo) weight.

Constricting  If something is constricting, it doesn't give you a lot of freedom.

Wind down  Relax

Live with it  If you can't remove a problem from your life, you “live with it.”

In the end  This means “after we have thought about everything.”



1.  Justin thinks ants are very, very interesting.  What animal do you think is interesting?  Why?

2.  Justin has a serious health problem that doctors can’t cure.  He “lives with it.”  What is a problem that you or one of your friends lives with?  What do you do to help you live with the problem?  (This could be any kind of problem, for example, an economic problem, a medical problem, a family problem, a community problem.) 



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Replies to This Discussion

I'm sorry to hear about your friend, Sulaiman.  Does he have to work during the day to help earn money for his family?  Losing the opportunity for education is a very sad thing, but it happens to some people. 

Hello dear

In my idea fish is an interesting animal because it’s very hard to catch it or get it when we are trying to catch it its slip out from our hands and we cannot catch it and we are jumping a lot to catch it and we can’t catch it.

I think in our family and community no one has any serious health problem but economical family problems and community problem are many and we are straggling to solve it by clever, intelligent and wise people or leaders for economic problems we are working and making business for community problems we aware society leaders, if they don’t solve the problem we aware police and for family problem Same like that.

Thanks very much

Zahidullah sabir          

I very much enjoyed reading your description of catchi

Thank you

I think the computer ate part of my message, Zahidullah.  I meant to say that I very much enjoyed reading your description of catching a fish.  It made me smile.

Little by little, step by step, you will solve problems in your community and build a good future.

In the name of Allah

Dear, madam thanks from your outstanding and interesting interview.

The animal that I really like is “cow” because, I like milk and cow give me the milk, and also I like the color of cows and the sounds of cows.

There was one family next to our home they were immigrant in Pakistan now they come to our own country Afghanistan and also they have the problem of economic and we helped them.

With best wishes Ijazullah Momand 

I salute you for helping your neighbor family, Ijazullah.  Surely they are grateful for your help.

Cows are special.  I agree.  Sometimes when I am near cows, I feel peaceful.

Thank you, for your fabulous feedback dear madam! It is the job of every person to help with neighbors and it is real that cows are the symbol of peace.

Well, maybe the dove is the symbol of peace, but cows make me feel peaceful.


1.  Justin thinks ants are very, very interesting.  What animal do you think is interesting?  Why?

2.  Justin has a serious health problem that doctors can’t cure.  He “lives with it.”  What is a problem that you or one of your friends lives with?  What do you do to help you live with the problem?  (This could be any kind of problem, for example, an economic problem, a medical problem, a family problem, a community problem.) 

 Dear madam Thanks for sharing to us with this interview I hope that you well fine at home and very way                                                                                                     a    parrot that is interesting because it can say singsong, it can take   with   us.  Yes   one   day I   was   sick   but health   problem doctor have cure of me .yes one upon a time my friend was so sick. I help with him. A kind of Medical problem.                                                                                                                       Zaheen Zaheer   AYC   ISTIQLAL   and   thanks   of   you   sharing   to us and good lock.

Thank you for your message, Zaheer.  I think parrots are very interesting, but sometimes they bite!  I'm glad that both you and your friend are feeling better now.

Hell dear madam

I hope you are fine and have a good time with your friend and family

Thanks for your nice interview

Rabbit is a interesting animal for me and they are very nice and lovely but I have not a time to keep it in our house.

According of your second we don’t have any problem but my brother is sick and I try to help him.


Hijratullah Muslim shaheed M arif AYC


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