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

Thank you for your message, Sijad.  Books certainly are a way for us to learn many, many important things, and reading is fun too.


 Hi dear madam Nancy I hope that you will be fine and have a good time with your friends and family. I think that most interesting one is parrot because he can talk with you and when I was child with me was one parrot he was able to talk and it was enjoyable to talk him but when I gone to Kabul I miss him at there I was so sad that I miss him. And your second question answer is no one of my friends was sick like you said and I hope that no one of my friends get sick

BILAL gardewal(AYC LAB)  

Hello again, Bilal.  I'm sorry that you had to leave your parrot.  He seems like a very interesting pet.   On the other hand, I'm glad that you don't have any friends who are ill.  I hope you will all be healthy in the coming year.

Hello dear madam

I hope you fine and have a good time

I think Dog is interesting animal

Because dog is very wise dog help with CID police and rtc….

I have not a serious problem but my big brother have a serious problem

He have Tabarcolze there for he cannot come to school.


Shaheed M arif AYC


Oh, Sheershah, I am very sorry to hear that your brother has tuberculosis. and I hope that he will be able to get good medical treatment.  Tuberculosis is a very difficult disease.

You are right that dogs are intelligent animals.  One of my uncles used to train dogs to herd sheep, and the things the dogs could do were amazing.


Hello dear madam Nancy.

I hope you are fine and doing well.

Thanks a lot from you to sharing interview with us.

I think parrots are very interesting and I very like it because parrots speak very nicely.

And I have some medical problem but l lives with it.

Thanks a lot.

Ahmad Bilal Ahmadi.

From shahed M R High School.  


I am glad that you are able to live a good life even though you have some medical problems, Ahmad.  It shows you have a good spirit.

We were surprised to see some wild parrots near our home recently.  They are beautiful.


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