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Posts tagged ‘experience’

160. First Day of Work!

I’m at one of those funny stages in life where I KNOW that my life is going to completely change. No more can I be a scruffy student attending lectures and agonizing over maths problems… Nope now I’ve got to be a classy sociable consultant (such a fancy term for basically chatting to people). And there’s nothing quite like your first day at work for that to hit home. A part of me is very sad to leave the security and tight knit friendships formed at Imperial but another part of me is equal parts excited and scared out of my mind about what’s to come.

Considering I’d done an internship last Summer with the company I’m joining I should have been more relaxed, but there was so much I’d forgotten and so many new people to meet. We literally had information overload today and we have so many administrative to complete and pre-reading before our training next week. Day one and busy already! On a positive note however lots of people remembered me so that was nice!

The emails feel overwhelming. I remember feeling like this at the start of the internship. Every time I thought I had my inbox in control, I’d receive another bucket load of messages. However I got used to it. I’m hoping I’ll get used to it again…sooner rather than later. It’s weird having to balance so much stuff simultaneously when I’ve spent the last year completely focused on two or three modules. It looks like Outlook’s calender and task panel is going to be my new best friend.

But hey I survived my first day! Let’s see what tomorrow brings! It can only get better right?

What do you guys think of my new glasses?

What do you guys think of my new glasses?

Me and Shakira at reception!

Me and Shakira at reception!

On a semi related note, with work starting I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to dedicate to this blog. However I have every intention of keeping it going even if it means writing posts on the tube like I am right now!

Over and Out!

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159. My Adventures in Italy!

I was supposed to post this quite a while ago. It’s been almost two weeks since I returned and what a whirlwind it has been…but more about that later! 

I have to begin with saying that it was such an amazing trip and a fantastic experience to end with before I start adult working life (that still hasn’t sunk in and I start tomorrow!).

We were based in Florence and stayed in a rented apartment. I had no idea how nice it would be because there was a mix up with addresses and I wasn’t sure that the one we booked was the one we’d get. Sure it enough, it wasn’t…it was much better. We couldn’t believe our luck when we saw how good the location was (literally one road from the Duomo!), how clean it was, how BIG it was and how it was furnished with pretty much everything we could possibly need. It was great having a space to ourselves where we could be slobs together and do whatever the hell we wanted. The only downside about the flat was that it was on the third floor and there was no lift. My legs got a good workout climbing all those bloody steps.

The weather was hot, just as we expected it to be. When we stepped off the plane, the heat washed over us in waves. However it was dry heat so it was far more tolerable; humid heat is the worst. Eurgh! Despite the generous use of sun cream, I still came back tanned. This would normally be celebrated but brown people have this notion that fair is beautiful. Personally I think the tan looks pretty good but my mum was like ehhh. What do you expect when we’re out for 12 hours every day?!

The food was really really good. We had a few concerns about whether Meeti’s dietary requirements would be easily met (vegan plus no eggs, onions or garlic) but it turns out Italians use few ingredients and what they say is what you get. A margherita pizza is literally just dough, tomato sauce and mozzerella but my god it tastes good. One of the best places we ate at was called the ‘OK- bar’ which is quite a self-deprecating name. It ought to be called the ‘Mighty fine- bar’ or ‘A lot better than OK- bar’. I had pasta or pizza every single day. So good!

It’s always hard to describe an atmosphere but Florence had a really good one. Obviously there were lots of tourists but it still felt calm and all the people we met were super friendly. The evenings were particularly special because Florence simply lights up, both literally and metaphorically. The cool air is so inviting that it brings everyone out and you can easily chat the night away. In contrast to the intimate town feel of Florence, Rome strongly felt like a city in the sense that it was buzzing with people and was so big. However it also didn’t feel as safe. Case in point- Meeti felt someone tug on her bag as she walked off the metro. We were on high alert for the rest of the day as we simply couldn’t afford to lose our bags. Pisa also didn’t compare to Florence. Despite its beauty and being the home of the leaning tower, it didn’t charm me in the same way. Every road you walk down in Florence has something that catches your eye and steals your attention. It is so much more than just the sights.

But speaking of sights, Florence is of course famous for its art and culture and for being the setting of Dan Brown’s book which excited Meeti to no end. Being a Maths/Science orientated person I am really not the most cultured person. I don’t appreciate Art in the way other people do; I don’t know what makes one painting better than another; I can’t talk about brush strokes and historical background for more than five minutes. But even I knew that some of the stuff I saw was really special.

Every time I see this, it make me squee!

The level of detail of some of the paintings and sculptures was exemplary and subtle things like facial expressions and soft eyes captured emotion in a way that I had never seen before. But being us, we weren’t serious for long and very soon we started adding our own silly captions to the paintings and copying the some of the really bizarre stances of the sculptures to great comical effect.

Mad skillz right there

Mad copying skillz right there

Medusa!

Medusa!

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I have to say, back in the day the artists were seriously obsessed with the human body is all its naked glory. Boobs and pee-pees everywhere. It was quite disconcerting initially. I found it curious that all the men seemed to have abs of steel whilst the women were curvy, fat rolls in abundance, cleavage hanging out. Given the realism of the paintings I thought it was strange how everyone was hairless, even the guys (except for the mandatory man bush). I know it’s effort to add shadow but if they had time to include cellulite and butt dimples I figure it would have been a walk in the park.

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Is it just me or does this position look really uncomfortable?

Check out the level of detail- the veins in his hand!

Check out the level of detail- the veins in his hand!

I couldn’t possibly list all the things I saw so instead I will talk about the highlights. The best part of the holiday by far was our evening on the steps at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo. It was one of those moments you read about in books. The sun was going down; the air was cool; there was a man playing classic songs on an acoustic guitar to an enraptured crowd; the view was spectacular. It felt magical to be there with some of my favourite people in the whole world, munching on our cheese and tomato baguettes from home. It’s definitely up there in the top five best evenings of my life.

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo, simply magnificent!

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo, simply magnificent!

The awesome dude who kept us entertained all evening!

The awesome dude who kept us entertained all evening!

Climbing nearly five hundred mismatched awkward steps up narrow paths and in dark conditions doesn’t sound great but the view at the top of the Duomo more than made up for it. You could see for miles around, even mountains in the distance and it was so bright up there that it was hard not to squint in all the pictures. The Boboli gardens also provided picturesque views with its fountains and paths roofed by trees. The sheer scale of the gardens was impressive and its famous path lined with sculptures and plants definitely lived up to expectations.

One of my favourite pictures I took on the trip! Look at that sky!

One of my favourite pictures I took on the trip! Look at that sky!

Dat view though!

Dat view though!

Here are some more pics from our trip!

Over and Out!

146. Heighten your reading experience

My two favourite art forms are music and literature. Both have the liberating ability of evoking emotion and transporting you to somewhere new. What’s even better I find, is combining the two.

I’m not sure how many people do this but I really enjoy having a song on repeat whilst reading. Obviously the choice of song here is important. ‘Barbie Girl’ would not be the right accompaniment to Harry Potter, say. But every so often you find a song just … clicks.

Recently I finished reading the whole Divergent series. 3 books, 3 days, standard. All the while I had this gem of a song playing in the background. It’s a cover of the 80s classic ‘Everybody wants to rule the world’ and I think it’s perfect and heartbreaking. I also think it’s appropriate for lots of stories. The Hunger Games and Monsters of Men certainly springs to mind.

Anyway hearing this song now is like a portal. It takes me straight back to the world of Divergent. I find it fascinating how our brains can associate something so strongly with music.

 

P.S It shocks me how many people don’t know how to play a YouTube video on repeat so I’ll share it here.

Say you have a YouTube video with URL:

All you need to do is replace the youtube bit with ‘listenonrepeat’ as follows:

https://www.listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=HEskmwV1pMU

Tadaaa!

Over and Out!

 

 

136. One Year Blog-versary…oh and a Happy New Year!

It’s been a whole year since my first post- half of me feels like the time has gone by so fast and the other half feels like I’ve always had a blog. What did I do with all my thoughts before ThreeMagical?!

I am very proud of this blog. I think it’s okay to admit that. This is my first ever blog and it’s still going (even if post frequency has been wavering). Some of the stuff I’ve written makes me cringe, a lot of makes me laugh (not sure it’s cool to admit I laugh at my own jokes) but none of it I regret. It was exactly how I felt at the time.

No-one viewed my blog for at least a month because I am an idiot and didn’t tag any of my posts and I didn’t tell any of my friends. What I did do however was write everyday and it was great because it helped me get used to my writing style and be brave enough to hit that ‘Publish’ button. The positive feedback I’ve received since then from my friends and all of y’all on the interwebz has been so motivating. Thank you.

With the end of 2013 fast approaching, I would also like to bid you lovely readers a Happy New Year.

May 2014 be a bright year for us all.

Over and Out!

127. My 11+ Experience

Over the last few days, my mum has been receiving results about how well her tutees did in their 11+ exam. It makes me feel old when I realise I was one of those kids more than a decade ago. For those unfamiliar with this exam, it is an entrance test to get into a grammar school or an ability selective school. These schools are sort of like private schools (minus the poshness and manners) without paying the money thus making it extra popular with brown parents.

It’s hard to say for sure what have been the most important moments of my life but I can say with confidence that passing my 11+ exam was one of them. I am so grateful for the opportunities and teaching I received at my secondary school. If I hadn’t passed, I would have been going to a local girl’s school and I’m sure I would have turned out rather different:

  • (even) more chavvy
  • not as good (but hopefully not bad) academically
  • probably uncomfortable around guys.

I’m not sure I would have made it to Imperial. Who knows if I’d even be studying Mathematics?! I definitely wouldn’t have had James (ewww a boy) as a best friend.

My parents only realised you sit the 11+ when you’re 10 about 4 months before the exam (who came up with that?) so I had limited time to prepare for it. Four months sounds like ages but it’s not uncommon for parents to start years in advance. That’s how fierce the competition is. I had 3 papers to sit: verbal reasoning, non verbal reasoning and maths. Out of the three, my preference was for Mathematics. I remember actually enjoying the practice papers. On the flip side I had to work hardest for non verbal reasoning which tests how well you notice patterns and sequences through images eg.

(I’ll post the answer at the bottom)

Preparing for the 11+ was the first time I really committed myself to something. My parents claimed that it didn’t matter what the outcome was as long as I tried my best. Total bull of course. We were all totally invested in it. And attending the opening evening for my secondary school cemented it further. I walked through the doors of the green and blue school building and decided that it was the place for me.

I don’t remember much about the day except that I had orange juice and a Penguin chocolate bar in the break. But I remember being really nervous… right up till the moment I started the paper after which I just focused on the questions. As the exam was multiple choice, I had no idea how well or badly I had performed. Whenever my mum asked I told her that if I passed, it would be a scrape and if I didn’t, it would be by a small margin.

I was quite anxious about receiving the results but not nearly as much as my parents. I was at school when my results letter arrived. My mum doesn’t believe the whole ‘patience is a virtue’ stuff and tore it in. She then promptly drove to my school, stormed in, found me waiting in the queue for lunch, dragged me into an empty music room and swung me around. One of the happiest moments of my life.

Turns out I did pretty good too. In typical fashion I dropped one mark on the Maths paper. When my dad asked me what I wanted as a present, I wracked my brains for the best possible thing I could think of and said… A FISHBURGER FROM McDONALDS.

Not so clever after all.

Over and Out!

(The answer is B)

116. Innocent until proven guilty

That’s what the justice system here hinges on.  I don’t think I fully understood the ramifications of this until I started my jury service this week. For those of you who don’t know, anyone over the age 18 who has been a UK resident for a certain number years is eligible to be part of a jury that tries a criminal case. You are chosen out of a lottery and you have to attend (unless you have a decent excuse- ‘I have work’ isn’t good enough). And well, I got chosen.

Going into this, I knew it would be a new experience; I was curious about the courtroom and how much it lived up to the movies. I also naively thought it wouldn’t be that difficult.

[Now that we’ve given the verdict on the case I was on, I think I’m allowed to talk about it vaguely.] 

My case was a stabbing. When I first heard that, I thought it was going to court as a formality. I mean how tough can it be? Someone got stabbed. Someone did the stabbing. There’s a clear guilty party. Right? Wrong. It’s not that simple.

It’s very easy from an outsider’s point of view to read something in the newspapers and just see it as black and white as the ink against paper. But we’re people, we’re humans and that automatically means we’re messy. The same action in different contexts can have totally different interpretations.

Let’s take an extreme example. Bob is naked in the shower. Perfectly fine. Bob is naked in the middle of a football match. That’s indecent exposure. As a jury, it is our duty to try and understand the context and it the job of the prosecution and defense to paint the scene as clearly as possible for us.

It is part of the jury’s oath to only judge the defendant based on the evidence and that means no assuming. You are not allowed to try and imagine what they may or may not have done and that is a lot harder than it sounds. For example, one of the witnesses on trial sounded completely rude and ignorant in my opinion and I could easily imagine them escalating a situation or causing trouble. But that doesn’t mean that they did and I cannot assume that. As a member of the jury you need to put aside your imagination.

The prosecution’s job is to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime. The defense have to prove nothing. Moreover the defense do not have to prove that the defendant is innocent. If you have doubts that they committed the crime, you must find them not guilty. That means even if you think they did it with some confidence, unless you are certain and have enough evidence to back up your surety, you cannot find them guilty. And that is exactly what it means to be innocent until proven guilty. That is better to let a guilty party walk free if you are not sure than it is to let an innocent party go to jail.

Whether or not you think that is right is irrelevant. That is how a jury is instructed to judge. In my case, it was a stabbing and the stabber was acquitted. I wasn’t happy about it but we had enough doubt that it could have been accidental or in self defense that we had to give a not guilty verdict. That doesn’t mean I think they’re innocent.

So next time you see something in a paper and think ‘pff what a soft sentence’… think again. It quite difficult to say someone is certainly guilty.

Over and Out!

P.S I tittered privately when I heard the judge who was fully decked out in a wig and formal robes say ‘fuck you, you pussy’. She was quoting obviously lol.

111. Go beyond!

Go beyond… your expectations. Go beyond… your imagination. No I’m not trying to inspire you. Nor am I channeling Buzz Lightyear. These are some of the phrases I spoke into a camera as part of my intern project.

What kind of project was it I hear you exclaim?

Well I worked with 7 other interns across 3 offices to put together a video for graduate recruitment about what being an intern at Towers Watson is like. We worked on it for the whole internship and started from scratch; research, scripts, story boards. I don’t know if any of you guys have seen videos like this before but they’re usually just interviews. We wanted ours to be a little different ie. more fast paced, short snippets of conversation overlayed with supporting shots.

Towers Watson actually hired a professional cameraman called Marx to do the filming and we naively thought he’d lead the directing. Instead he strolled in and was like where do you want me? Tell me what to do, this is your film… so we very much dictated how it went.

In the morning we did all the serious stuff about how wonderful Towers Watson is and how much support and guidance we’d been given. To be fair, this is all true but there is always an element of cheesiness when you’re trying to advertise something in this way. I found myself cringing on more than one occasion. For most of these shots, we had the camera on us but we had to keep our eyes on a person to the side. Let me tell you, it is bloody difficult not to look at the camera and to keep your eyes focused. Any little distraction causes your eyes to flicker and look (as Marx put it) ‘shifty’.

In the afternoon, we did all the ‘filler’ shots eg. working at a computer, walking down a corridor, being in a meeting, having something explained to us. This was all ‘pretend’ as the people in the office are annoyingly camera shy. We weren’t allowed to use any real data due to client confidentiality so we manufactured some ridiculous graphs on Excel. Thank you random number generator. Also you’d be surprised how difficult it is to be ‘natural’ when you have a lens on your face. When we were walking down a corridor, we had to pretend to be talking about something really important. Anyone lip reading the official video might be alarmed to read ‘this is in blue font’, ‘wow this sentence is shit’, ‘this is a title’, ‘what am I doing?’, all very professional of course… I probably shouldn’t be sharing this on the internet…oh well, come at me Towers Watson.

Throughout the day we had fun with the new branding tagline: Go beyond. It was very tempting to just say ‘go beyond Towers Watson’ which probably wasn’t the right message to be sending out! Other variations included ‘to infinity and beyond’ and ‘go beyond friction’ but the most hilarious was ‘go beyond….FRIENDSHIP’ *cue one of the guys putting his arms around the girls (see 0:53 in the video below)*. I am still laughing about it.

So the final video isn’t out yet but me and Shakira made a video of the videoing (…) for our final presentation. It’s basically just outtakes and it’s by no means perfect but we had so much fun filming that we wanted to share it. By the way our team name was Fast Forward (shut up I know it’s cheesy).

As you can see we had a tonne of fun. Our group was fabulous and it was a brilliant day away from the office!

Go beyond! Over and Out!