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.

2013 becomes 2014

The new year came around and like my family do every year, we stayed up late to watch the fireworks and had toast/bread with cheese and pate. We’ve been doing that since the millennium…when I think the fireworks/tv coverage went on longer than the usual 12.10am and my dad got hungry, so he ate some toast and it’s become a tradition now.

The day itself was spent studying/revising and watching The Adjustment Bureau. It was a pretty good film, my dad even gave it 4.5/5 which is really good. He said the concept had been used before, and bits of it felt like Men in Black (the mind erasing, the guys in suits, no sunglasses though) but it was still good. I liked how he (Matt Damon) learnt how to use the doors, that was really cool. It would probably take awhile to learn where each door goes but once you got the hang of it you could get to places in mere minutes. If you had the hat, of course.

Looking back on 2013, it was probably one of my worst years. It’s possible that it was the worst year so far, but I’m not that old so I don’t know how long that would last.

Yes, some great stuff happened last year, I got to go to Beijing on the Study China Program which was incredible, it was such an amazing experience and I don’t regret going. I regret not doing more revision beforehand…and for taking a 70-50 credit split, that was a bad idea. I also got to spend a week at a bank (no names) and learnt more about banking and met some great people who are going to go far and I hope they stay contacts for the future. I didn’t get the internship after though, and I’ve just about managed to convince myself that I don’t want to do banking anymore, some of the people on the program weren’t people I’d want to work with for the rest of my life.

I’ve also had 5 job rejections (so far), three of which were based on my group work skills and one of them was the final stage so I was really, really annoyed. I had a good rant about that with one of my friends (and an earlier blog post).

So the good things this year? I met some new people, one of whom is becoming a really good friend, really quickly. I also got a car! So that was pretty sweet. I spent a week helping international students move in and made a new friend, who does maths and just gets me. Hopefully I can find a way to do it again next year because I really enjoyed it this year, but maybe I’d want a different role. There’s only so many bags I can handle in one day 😛 I got some great Christmas presents from my sister, who totally gets me and my crazy obsession with Disney at the moment.

Anytime with my friends from school is good, and we spent a lot of time together over summer because friendships do change, and I am starting to notice it more now than ever. If I weigh up the things, yeah, the bad definitely outweigh the good but I’ve had a ton of learning experiences and I need to use those bad ones to make good ones later on in life. 

I have decided this year to do some new things. I’m thinking of doing an abseil in March from the top of the velodrome with RAG (Raise and Give), the sponsorship is only £100 and it looks like fun. I really love abseiling…just jumping from stuff in general. Two of my friends and I are going to start learning how to rock climb in February too, after exams are over so then we can go by ourselves in the future and actually know what we’re doing. I’m also looking for a new orchestra to join, I haven’t been to an orchestra practice in ages and it’d be an interesting way to meet new people and not forget how to play the violin. I can just about still read music and remember where all of the notes are so that should be enough. I also want to swim more this year, do something incredible over summer, potentially make it to 4th kyu (orange belt) in Aikido, learn how to scuba dive, learn how to ice skate, learn parkour…so many things, so little time 😦 My friend from uni has 52 things he wants to do in 52 weeks, but some will be done in less than week or he’ll do a few in one week but as long as he gets them all done he’ll be happy. I can’t even think of 20 things to do, nevermind 52!

So that aside, happy (late) new year and here’s to 2014!

Two rejections and a rant :/

Week 9 has felt like one of the more hectic weeks. I had a breakfast thing on Tuesday for the tutoring agency that I work for which was nice, might take on some more assignments and I met a girl who tutors and is on my course, and works at the same school that I do! Weird, huh? This was all before a 9am lecture so we had literally 5 minutes to get breakfast, pick up some leaflets and say a quick thank you to the girl who had organised it.

I had an assessment centre on Wednesday for a graduate job, which I failed 😦 I didn’t contribute enough in the group work, and got interrupted and backed down too easily which they didn’t like. I aced the tests and report though, so if I did get the job my work would have been amazing but maybe the others did well on those parts too and the group work but I’ll never know. I was pretty bummed out about it though, I was so close to a job. So close :/ I also had an interview on the same day in the afternoon for a different company which I passed and went to the assessment centre today which was pretty tough. I hope I did well though, I really want to work for this company, the guy interviewing me (on Wednesday, he was also one of the assessors today) was so nice and the office is much nicer (and in a better location) so hopefully all will go well. The interview itself was really chilled out though, we were talking about how I promote my university to 16/17 year olds and what I say, he seemed to find it really interesting for some reason, and the work I do at open days and John Lewis! (it was a question about client service and we just talked about John Lewis for a good 5 minutes). We also talked about my tutoring and the weather (as all British people do) and the bus, which was a weird thing to end on but yeah, he was nice and it was one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve ever had in my life, possibly because I knew I would pass. I had a phone call on Tuesday saying that there was an assessment centre for the company on Monday so could I have my interview before then and I naively said yes, sure, Wednesday around 4 is good for me, pushing back the thought of the assessment centre I had in the morning…I get the feeling that someone dropped out last minute and I just happened to appear and be a good person to fill their space. Their loss if that’s the case! My friend is in the same boat, he got rejected from the first company too because of the group work and we both ranted about how we hate it and why is it so important and why is there always one person who dominates which screws you over. He’s also got the assessment centre for the second company but not until next Friday! I think they called him earlier in the week regarding it, but he had his first interview in October! He’s waited nearly a month for this assessment centre, I hope we both get it. It’d be cool to work with someone I know, and this company seems nicer than the previous one. So I had an assessment centre for that company yesterday. It wasn’t too bad, the group exercise was slightly better as everyone wasn’t so cut throat but I think I didn’t include everyone enough so…the in-tray just had loads of information, some of it irrelevant so we had to decide what was and wasn’t needed. Then we had to draft a letter and mine was quite short compared to the others. The presentation wasn’t too bad, she asked some tough questions but I thought I answered them pretty well (obviously not) and we had a general chat too. She was very nice, as was the partner who interviewed me afterwards (it’s all lies, I see it now. It’s all fake, all that hammering on about client service and personal relationships, screw them!). We spent the full hour allotted to talk, even after we had finished the competency questions, we were just talking about life and Manchester in general. He also asked about other companies and what he would need to say to get me to accept the offer at his company, so I thought that was a good sign (Clearly it wasn’t) The other guy I spoke to on the way home got asked the same thing so hopefully it’s all good, I think there are two spots so we could have both gotten it. Lunch was good too, chatting to some of the trainees and what they do/don’t like about the company, they were all quite jokey/banterous with each other too, and I mentioned that in my interviews, saying that it was nice to be part of an office where people felt like they had a good enough relationship to make jokes with each other (but it isn’t going to happen now). The partner was really nice, I thought he genuinely liked me (but no, he didn’t), he said my answers were satisfying (is that good though? No, it’s not) and he said one of them was quite honest and genuine (I was just being me…) so I hope he gives me good feedback! (apparently not…) I genuinely enjoyed that interview though (not anymore, going to hate on that company for a long, long time). Well I found out today that I didn’t get it, and I was really upset about it, because this was the last stage and I was literally competing with 2 other guys (they had 2 spots I think) which was a major bummer and blow to my self-esteem. I got feedback though and they were being really picky, as if they were trying to find reasons for not wanting to hire me. I apparently didn’t know why I wanted to join the company (I did, but let’s face it, in this climate even if I really want to work at a certain company, the people who want it the most tend to not get the job at the end of the day so why bother setting your heart on a company when they’re just going to reject you anyway? The people who usually get it don’t always want to work at that company, it’s just that this is their only job offer, and right now us graduates/final years will take just about anything) and in the group exercise I didn’t give enough of my own ideas which I did disagree with on the phone, casually saying that maybe my assessor missed it as I made my contributions, but it was hard since everyone agreed and you can’t just bring up any old idea (I think a rubbish one is worse than no idea, why would I waste the other people’s time by saying something stupid/irrelevant/obvious? That wouldn’t happen in the real world, I’d get laughed at or pitied on or something). We had an intray exercise too and apparently I did solidly but could have built a better relationship and used some of the numbers…right, because if I get that job I will get an hour to read a bunch of information and send a letter to a client, when I haven’t even started and have no technical knowledge whatsoever. Very logical. I’m pretty sure in real life you’d get more time to do it, and you could talk to other people too and have a basic idea of what to do and how important it was. The presentation feedback was that I should have dug deeper and tried to understand what the company does…I know what they do, I read the website and interpreted it but I guess that didn’t come across very well. I can’t imagine that in real life they would do presentations that often, they work in tax…they hardly deal with clients (not like audit who are out all of the time) so is it a big deal? Do they have to be salespeople too? Don’t they have people for that? Maybe they should hire people for that. Sorry for my rambly thoughts, I’m just very annoyed at the moment, I know that I would have fitted in well, I’m not the perfect candidate but I know I could do the job. This sounds terrible, but I hope they don’t fill the vacancies and realise they were being mean to me (and the other guy who I assume didn’t get it as he spoke even less than I did…) and we could do the job. My dad said to not take it too personally and move on, or maybe that the world is trying to tell me to give up on accountancy and try a different career path. I guess I’m just annoyed at how out of touch (or so it seems to me) the recruitment people are, do they know anything about university students and what we’re like and how we’ve changed in the past couple of years? Do they even care? I should go into recruitment to see the other side of the story, and to get an idea of how they think and how it doesn’t align with what we think. I’m starting to feel like the culture/values they have are just a load of bs to suck you in, sure, they followed the values to a point and I even told the partner that they were doing that but now, I feel like they’ve just played me. Me and the other candidates (at most 2 of the others got it) and actually they are just as bad as the big companies for stringing us along so far only to shut the door in our faces. I hope you crash and burn! (unless my friend gets a job there, in which case they can wait until he qualifies before they burn) I haven’t ranted this much before in my life, two rejections in less than a week is taking its toll on me. Why do I have to decide now what I want to do? I’m not that old, jeez, I’m barely two decades old and already need a job for the rest of my life. I totally understand the travellers and people searching for ‘wanderlust’ as it gives you a bit more time to be a kid/young adult before life screws you over. I don’t know if having nice assessors makes rejection worse or not, as you feel like they didn’t try to trip you up but given my feedback they were just looking for flaws…lesson learnt, don’t trust the nice ones, they will also screw you over :/ Alright, rant over. I’m back to my calm self. When I was tutoring on Thursday, one of the boys was doing A grade questions and I couldn’t help him :/ I’ll have to explain it properly to him next time, he sort of got the hang of the concepts, but got confused with the plus and minus signs. The other boy started on D grade questions and moved up to an A grade one which we’re going to go through next time, I felt so proud that I’d helped him get that far. He realised it was fairly easy and that he could do those questions, contrary to what he thought at the beginning when he said ‘I’ll just do the easy ones’. Go me! And go him! This is what I love about tutoring, making kids feel smart and giving them the confidence that they can do it, and they can do it well. Even if it’s just one topic he’s better at, it gives him a confidence boost for everything else so hopefully he can get his B/C grade at the end of the year (or even A, who knows?) I got a mid term back, which I only got 13/20 on because I’d written down the wrong proof…so annoying but I’ll have to amend my notes for that. I also got 92/100 on a different coursework and am aiming for 100% on the next one so that module will have some serious marks before I go into the exam. It was a fairly simple coursework though, the module itself is very straight forward and methodical, and I really enjoy it. I also had another UCAS visit day on Thursday, I’m a regular as I seem to be one of the few people who have Thursday afternoons free which is a good source of income 😀 and lunch. It also gives me great things to talk about in interviews regarding promotion and when things go wrong (losing someone on the tour, someone freaks out about their interview) etc and developing leadership skills as I lead the tour and everything for that group for that day. I got the parents this week though, which is always more fun as they ask more questions and are less worried than their children, and since I’m from Manchester I can give them inside knowledge that my other friends don’t have (they’re southerners…) and put them at ease about it. We’re getting less Oxbridge candidates now, which is good as they always think they’re too good for our university, which I suppose they are but they don’t have to be mean about it, I love my time at uni and am glad that I’m here, I get so many opportunities that I wouldn’t in Oxbridge, Imperial etc. purely because of the competition. I’m on the committee for a society, and this wouldn’t happen at Oxbridge/Imperial because everyone would want to be on the committee, so I wouldn’t stand a chance. I’ve also got some good connections now, some of my friends will be bankers (who we love to hate but can’t because they’ve got a job) and I’ve got a ton of international friends too now, who are actually my friends as opposed to some business connection. Since I started university I’ve tried to embrace all things and any opportunities thrown at me to make the most of my time, and yet I still feel like I haven’t been able to do as much as I wanted/could. Ah, c’est la vie. It feels good to get all of my thoughts written down and collected somewhere so in the future I can refer to it and see how much I’ve grown (or not?) since then. I will definitely not forget those two companies, and am going to scour the news for anything bad about them. I’m going to get a job somewhere else and if one day (this will probably never happen) they come looking for me, I might just be tempted to turn them down. Maybe I do need to start a business or something? Something to empower students…hmmm…