Time flies when you’re having fun…

A lot of my spare time in the past year has been taken up by my new sport/hobby. Roller derby. Yep, that crazy skating-contact sport that was in the film Whip It (although it’s not really like that, I’ve learnt). I have training 3 times a week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday with varying things happening at them. We’ve just come back from the ‘off season’ and everyone has realised that we’re not as fit as we were before we stopped regular training. The off season was great and I really enjoyed it but now it’s back to drills and scrims and feeling like my legs want to give up. (I started a blog to document my experiences here)

Work has been going okay. I failed an exam that everyone else in my intern cohort passed so I was pretty bummed about that for awhile but I had roller derby to help me through it (hitting people is always a good way to relieve anger…) and the skaters on my team are also lovely when that kind of thing happens. I got an intern who I’m sort of mentoring but is technically assigned to a different sub-team within our general team so some of our work doesn’t cross over and she has to get work from her manager and not me. But it’s all been going fine, so far. I’ve been given more responsibility and projects and it’s a busy time right now so I’m not feeling too bored or stuck.

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It’s that time of year already?

The first day of December always makes me think of putting up Christmas decorations. I’d been told as a child that if you did it before today then that would be bad luck (and that you have to take them down by the 5th January) but I’ve never forgotten those words. I actually haven’t decorated my room/desk at work/the house in general but we do have some tinsel and are looking into getting some more decorations since one of the guys is really into Christmas. He has three Christmas jumpers. I think that says it all really.

I started going to the gym about a month ago and decided to go before work so that I wouldn’t have to put up with the crowds after work and so that I would get my workout done and not have to worry about it after work. So far I’ve been sticking to my plan but I’m slowly slacking in terms of how early I get to the gym which means it’s busier when I go. I’m actually looking at following some running blogs if anyone knows of any. A colleague at work runs quite a lot too and she was listing all the new gear she’s bought just for running (which I won’t do because I’m not quite as dedicated as she is nor do I have the money).

Training is officially over (and was about a month ago…) so we’ve all moved onto doing actual things that are going to be useful to the company. I’m actually working on some stuff to be published in a few weeks which has gotten me into some kind of zen mode since I seem to be more content now. There have been times of doubt/boredom but they’ve mostly been few and far between but they are there. I think we’ve all had some element of boredom but I’m hoping as we learn more they’ll give us more work so we want to stay at the end of the year (it’s hinted that they want us to but we don’t have to). I also got a new manager who just came back from maternity leave and although she’s quieter than my last one, she’s no less knowledgeable. I’ve asked her so many questions and it’s so good to have someone who’s just meant to focus on my team (our last one was splitting his time between two teams and doing his normal job on top of that). Our work Christmas meal is a week on Friday too so we’re all looking forward to that to tide us over until the actual holiday which I’m looking forward to!

It’s October already?!

It’s October already, which means that I’ve been at my job for five weeks now (which is actually quite a scary thought) and yet I still haven’t finished all of the training yet. I have more training next week, the week after and the week after that (plus a few extras in November but they’re not as important). I also have a meeting scheduled with our department head that’s been moved about half a dozen times due to training and him being away for a week but hopefully that’ll go well as others who have had theirs said it was fine and they had a chat about what they hope to achieve in the year.

Between my last post and this one, I’ve actually graduated (woo!) and had all the fanfare that went along with it. It was a pretty hectic day, with robe hire and photos and more photos and then the actual ceremony and worrying that my family wouldn’t find seats (but they did so it’s all cool). I also thought I’d fall over but I didn’t so that was all fine. It feels very weird to be a graduate after being a student for so long, not just university but being a student in general. I’ve been in school since I was three (I suppose the nursery my first school had doesn’t count but I’m counting it anyway) and at the ripe age of twenty two I have finally left education (only to go into a job that sort of links with the education sector). My friends said that adjusting to working life after university was something that took them some time too, but since for the past three years I’d been living at home I was at uni from 9-4/5 on most days (except when I had days off) so it’s not the hours that are killing me. I don’t live very far from work, five minutes in the car or twenty if I walk and sometimes we get back late so it’ll be six o’clock and then it feels like the day is gone, just like that. I hope that as the days go on I’ll get used to it and make better use of my time and actually do something that’ll help me improve myself or my future.

My job isn’t in my home city. It’s not even remotely close, or close to anyone that I know who’s moved away from home either. I’m in ‘new’ territory, so to speak as nobody really knows where I am until I mention what the town is famous for (then they get excited). We (myself and three of my work colleagues) all live in a house together and we cut that very fine, we almost didn’t have anywhere to stay but managed to get a nice house at the last minute. My room is a good size and the people are nice, I was just apprehensive about moving to a new place with new people. Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling and seeing new places and doing new things, but I’m more or less all alone here. I came only knowing those three (plus the others who I added on facebook but never met) but I can safely say that I’ve adjusted pretty well. I never moved far away for university, so living by myself is sort of new to me (and my parents too. My mum is the one that people worry about when I tell them that I’ve moved a hundred miles away from home) but they also have to cope with the fact that my sister has also just moved out for university (but she’s a lot closer to home, which is reassuring for my mum) so within the space of two weeks, they lost their two kids to new places. I went to visit home three weeks ago though and everything seemed to be fine (my room doesn’t have a bed but that’s cool) and I think my parents are slowly adjusting to life without kids. I do have to update them every week with some kind of text saying that I’m not starving and yes, I have done my washing so I have clean clothes to wear at work.

We also didn’t have internet for nearly a month so I spent a lot of time watching tv (Suits, anyone?) and movies and talking to my housemates (we even did a year 3/4 quiz one night and the results were shocking) so I got to know them pretty well in a short space of time. Even though we work together we haven’t had any major problems (and everyone’s really nice at work too) and we’re on separate teams so we only see each other at lunch and when we have tea breaks/getting ready to go home. It’s kinda nice, and we’ve been named the ‘big house’ because four out of the nine interns live at our house (we had a cocktail party here too, which was also fun) and when things happen they try to get all four of us to go because it’ll instantly add numbers. (Fun fact, we have four cars between the nine of us and three are at our house, which we also find funny).

This was longer than I planned…but it’s good to get it all down so I can see where I am now and when I look back I can see how far I’ve come (or not).

Graduation and life after

I’m now officially a graduand (apparently that’s the term for someone who has finished exams but hasn’t officially graduated yet) and life is quite calm at the moment. I recently found out that I have a job that I will start in September (which I’m super happy about, it’s hard to get a job and it’s been a long road) and it’s more or less a perfect job for me (if I choose to accept the offer) and I just got my results today saying that I’ve passed and will graduate in July so I’m pretty happy right now 🙂

During this past year, I’ve had a feeling of uncertainty about everything. I wasn’t sure if I’d get a job or if I would graduate, but now I seem to have both things more or less waiting for me. In March after I got my first semester results I was really upset and down about everything since I’d also been rejected from three jobs by then too, and the future looked pretty bleak. I wanted to crawl into my bed and never go outside into the real world again. I was (am) lucky that I have my friends and family who were (and still are) exceptionally supportive and my personal cheer squad. There have been times where I wanted to throw in the towel and my friends would tell me not to give up, that they would have done the extra year with me had they been able to and that they thought it was a great thing for me to be doing. I’m grateful to all of them for sticking by me throughout everything, I don’t think I would have come this far without them, and I certainly wouldn’t feel so happy that I have if they weren’t there to share this with me.

tldr: I have a job offer, am going to graduate soon and am very lucky to have people who have been there for me during this tough year.

Now it’s on to the future and whatever new adventures this new job (or something else) hold for me.

When life gives you lemons?

I love lemons. Anything lemon flavoured I’ll eat almost definitely. I can eat lemon curd out of the jar, without bread or cake or whatever. I just scoop it out with a spoon and eat it. It makes me feel so good.

On that topic, I think life has given me some lemons lately. Although I’m not sure they’re lemons because…well, I guess they’re not major problems but they feel like it. I’m just busier than normal. Way busier than I was last year, if that’s even possible. I had an assessment centre on Wednesday (which I failed, sadly) and have tutoring once a week at one school and once a week at another school but they’re done by two different organisations. One where I get paid and one where I don’t. The kids are vastly different at each though, the school where I don’t get paid has the smarter kids, they’re on A/A* grades whilst the other school is on C, possibly B if they tried really hard. I do love tutoring though, it’s so great when they get a topic and they look so happy when they can do something which they thought was hard but isn’t really. However for the school where I don’t get paid, I have to do extra training because I’m working towards a qualification which I should hopefully get in March and will look good if I ever decide to go into teaching (which is weirdly enough the job that the assessment centre was for…) but I have a ton of that training to do and other administrative stuff to do for that. What have I signed up for?

Add to that coursework, project work and general things that I need to do before the semester ends in three weeks. Three weeks. Where has the time gone?! Am I getting old already?

Guess it’s time to make some lemonade!

Presenting my presentation skills?

On Wednesday I did some work for university, well, sort of for the university and it was sort of scary. A lot of my posts are about me being introverted and so I signed up for ‘revision skills’ presentations to get out of my comfort zone. I’m a student ambassador at university and signed up for a program within student ambassadors which is run with another university nearby where we go to schools and colleges (sixth form) and promote higher education to the pupils, sometimes as young as year 8. One of the newer things is going to visit year 11’s in schools and talk about revision.

To be honest, I’m not very good at presentations, the last presentation I did was in first year about a virtual fund and why we invested in the companies that we did and I had virtually no knowledge on the finance industry. I survived that and I have no idea how, but I put it down to my first year ‘syndrome’ where I signed up for everything and anything and did things that I wouldn’t normally do. I went to a finance conference with nobody I knew except for one person. By the end of that weekend I had made a dozen friends from universities across the country so that was great. I wonder if getting older has made me do less reckless things? I’ll have to try and find some crazy things to do.

On Wednesday I was nervous (but not so much that I wanted to be sick) and fortunately one of the staff members was with me so he did a lot of the talking which was a relief. I did most of the talking about revision strategies as I’m still at uni whilst the staff member graduated 6 years ago so he doesn’t have to do any revision anymore. Lucky. There were meant to be 3 ambassadors but 2 dropped out so it was just me and the staff member as he didn’t want me to do the presentation by myself, in front of nearly 200 year 11’s, which I’m grateful for. I didn’t do too badly, if I say so myself, I did stumble a few times and started talking really quickly but hopefully I’ll get better as I do more of them. It wasn’t too bad for my first presentation and I know what to do for the future ones, and hopefully this’ll help in the future. If I can get through a presentation about revision of all things to a group of year 11’s, normal presentations should eventually become easier, right?

Step one of attempting to be more extroverted – check.

Just have to make a step two…

Musings or complaints?

I got two job rejections yesterday. That shouldn’t be so surprising to me nowadays but it still makes me really upset. One was because I can’t do group interviews. I just freak out and nerves take over and someone who’s more talkative ends up going through to the next round even if I could be a better worker :/ Any tips for getting better at that?

I spent a lot of this morning reading articles/blogs on LinkedIn and some of them are inspiring, or they’re informative. The ones I think are funny (or strange? annoying?) are the ones about candidates and recruiters. One said that it’s a candidate’s market and they can choose a job, and that recruiters had to cater to them. I have seen nothing of that sort. At all. Maybe that’s just how it is in the UK? Sometimes I feel like recruiters here don’t understand candidates, or maybe vice versa or even both? I know what recruiters want, and most of the time the thing I don’t have is usually speaking up in a group exercise (is that a quantifiable thing?) or knowledge/passion for the company. If a candidate makes >100 applications, what are the chances that they actually want to work for you? We’ve been told to only apply to a few places and then you can do those applications really well, but what if they all backfire? Then you’ve only applied to a few jobs and have nothing else. It’ll feel like you’ve wasted a lot of time and energy, especially when you really do want to work for a particular company and they don’t take you past the first round. Maybe there is something wrong with you as a candidate, but it doesn’t make anyone feel any better when an employer turns them down after spending hours on the application. They take a few minutes, possibly less to read and make a decision and I know they have lots of applications to go through, but I feel like it’s a tall order to be asking for so much from an applicant who has so many other things to be doing (university work, paid work, volunteering, sports, societies…).

Another thing is that we have to plan for the future. Right now. At this very second that I’m typing this out. It’s really interesting when I tell people I’m final year and am not quite sure what I want to do yet. They give me this funny look, as if to say, well what have you been doing for the past few years? I’ve done a fair bit of stuff, thank you very much. I even read a blog by the careers service at my uni which said that you don’t have to know what you want to do just yet…and yet whenever you tell someone that they think you’re crazy. Please pick a side! How can they call us indecisive when they can’t decide if having a plan is good or not? When I started uni I wanted to be a banker. I joined the trading and investment society, made my way onto the committee and got a spring week in a bank. That opened my eyes to banking. I didn’t particularly like the people. The work was fine, the people not so much. I decided banking wasn’t for me and turned to finance. Tax, more specifically because I’m methodical and detail-orientated and like to know the really boring (not to me) and smallest details of everything. I need to know how things work and how to get around things. I don’t even know if I want to do that anymore. I want to travel, teach English and just live somewhere else for awhile. I spent the summer working in hospitality, I probably couldn’t do that for the rest of my life but who knows? I’m good at hospitality, I know what the guest/customer wants and I know how to get it to them. A lot of people I’ve met shouldn’t be in hospitality, or just customer service. Sure, I may not be too confident in a group situation but at the end of it, I could be better with the client than them because I know how to take a step back and let the client speak and actually listen to their concerns. I’m a good listener. I think. I listen to my friends, my younger sister, my parents, kids I tutor, people at uni, people at work. I listen to everything and everyone, but there’s no job like that, unfortunately (I suppose a therapist is the closest?). I attempt to retain everything too, I’ve had to pretend many times that I’ve just met someone when I actually met them a year ago at some uni thing which they forgot but I didn’t. Is that creepy? I don’t think so…I just like to remember the people I meet and how I met them. Especially if I’ve met them a few times and they still don’t remember me. Maybe that’s the world trying to tell me that I need to change? Is it me that’s the problem?

I’m thinking too much about this, I have so much uni work to do and yet I spend a lot of time just thinking. Ah, if only I could spend all my time thinking about maths :/