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Posts tagged ‘graduate’

153. Ten Things You Really Shouldn’t Say To Me After I’ve Just Completed My Degree

1. Oh- I didn’t even know you were at university.
What did you think I was doing for the last four years?

2. Mathematics- Isn’t that a boy-subject? What can you do with Maths?
1) Maths isn’t gender specific. 2) Plenty.

3. You got a First?! *surprised* I thought you didn’t specify because you only passed and were embarrassed.
-_-

4. Yes it’s all very well you can do this Maths-shaths but how are your rotis?
Edible.

5. Acha good, uni finished. When you getting married?
*sigh*

6. You know this degree paper means nothing till you find a good boy and settle down. Life isn’t complete without shaadi.
*sigh*

7. Did you meet anyone at uni? *suggestive look* You can tell me, I’m your Aunty.
*sigh*

8. Oh you’ve finished your degree. My daughter got married this year and she’s pregnant. She has a family.
Good to know.

9. Oh you have a job. Will you leave when you have children?
I haven’t even started my job yet. Gimme a chance.

10. Look at the girls these days. They all want to do the job-shob but can they run a home? No.
Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I am sad to say there is no embellishment in this post. In fact most of them are quoted directly. Aren’t people sensitive?

Ahh the plight of a brown girl!

 

Over and Out!

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137. It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day.

It’s reassuring how even after something big like the death of a family member, life just carries on. I still have a bucketload of work to do and that’s not going to wait for anything. I am feeling a lot better- pretty much back to my old self. I kind of hit a point the day after the funeral where I just wanted to feel ‘normal’ again and with a bit of willpower everything sort of snapped back into place.

Since my last post, New Year’s has come and gone. I hope you all had a good one. I confess I didn’t do anything special but I did enjoy a rather impressive fireworks display from my bedroom window. Yay free seats!

There are only two things that I fiercely want this year:

  1.  To graduate with a First and to look boom on the day
  2.  To go on holiday again with my friends

I think both of them are achievable and I’m going to do everything in my power to make them happen… though I might need some help from Shakira and James with the second one. Anyone got any suggestions regarding good holiday destinations in Europe? Any advice would be much appreciated but please note we’re students and on a budget.

Anyhow I think I’m actively going to try and make the next few posts a bit more cheerful. I feel like I’ve been ranty, moany and upset in the last few. Numero apologies.

Over and Out!

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!

25. Honest Interview Answers

This post is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend at Paddington today.

There appears to be a shift towards competency style interviews. In case you don’t know what that means, it’s the type of interview where they ask you to describe relevant experiences you’ve had that demonstrate the skills the employer is looking for. These include things such as:

  • Describe a time you’ve worked in a team.
  • Tell me about a time you managed a project.
  • What is your greatest achievement?

Now if you’ve done a shred of preparation, you will have answers to the popular questions but you often find yourself exaggerating your role or just bullshitting till the cows come home. I have met people who completely fabricate some of their experiences and to be honest I think very few people can pull that off.

I thought I’d give my ‘real’ answers to some of the questions out there.

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Aliya. I’m studying Mathematics at university. I have feelings towards numbers, in particular 3 is my favourite number. My star sign is Aquarius. I love to read, tell stories, gossip and watch movies. I really love Harry Potter and I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter. I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life but I want to be good at what I do. I am extremely clumsy and a little weird most of the time but I like to think that makes me entertaining to be around. I really think you ought to hire me.

What do you know about the role you applied for?

I have absolutely no idea what I will be doing but I need the experience. Instead I will regurgitate anything I’ve read on your company website including lots of terminology I don’t understand so please don’t ask me what anything means. Kthanks.

Give an example of when you’ve been a leader.

My friends can never decide where to go for lunch. This usually leads to five minutes of everyone asking everyone else where they want to go to lunch and finally ending with me deciding. I believe this shows real leadership on a daily basis. I’m also really bossy so if people can’t make decisions and they ask for my advice, I make their decisions for them.  If you don’t like it, don’t ask me.

Tell me about a time you missed a deadline.

I’m being brutally honest here when I say I have never missed any deadline of importance unless I was physically ill. I don’t see why I should have to make up some fake reason and use it to explain what I’ve learnt and how that developed my ‘character’. Leave me alone.

Tell us about a situation when you failed to communicate appropriately.

That would be most of the time. I find myself increasingly searching for the right word and getting phrases jumbled in my mouth. I also have a tendency to switch accents unnecessarily and turn into a freshie when I’m feeling awkward. Don’t even get me started on what happens to my verbal communication skills when I’m around someone I find attractive. I either become mute or babble like a crazy woman. I am sure one day I will seduce someone with my awkwardness.

How do you adapt to change?

I hate change but I understand it is inevitable. It will never be something I embrace because I am a stickler for routine but if the change is permanent, then I will do my best to adapt to it. Take my mobile phone for example. I upgraded from a brick to a Blackberry. I really missed my brick initially but now I can’t imagine being without my Blackberry. That’s my adaptive skills right there.

What is your weakness?

I don’t have faith in people’s abilities until I’ve seen it with my own eyes. This prevents me delegating effectively because I don’t trust that people can do things to the standard that I can. This sounds incredibly pompous but hey once I am convinced you can do what you say you do, then I am very happy to share the responsibility and workload. But I need convincing first.

What is your biggest mistake?

Well that’s a loaded question. Excluding an array of personal mistakes, I think my biggest blunder was getting the date of my driving test wrong. That was the height of idiotic. I genuinely thought it was on a Wednesday but it turned out to be on Tuesday. I still think the person examining me must have been on something because I am a threat to society behind a wheel.

Describe a situation where you had a disagreement or an argument. How did you handle it?

There are few things I’ve fought as hard for as I did to study Mathematics at university. I was destined to go down the medicine route according to my parents and the rest of my family and normally I just cave to their demands. However I felt very strongly that medicine wasn’t right for me and for the first time I grew some balls and stood my ground. I am not exaggerating when I said numerous dinner discussions, tears and emotional breakdowns followed. This was probably not the best way to handle it but it worked so I don’t regret it.

 

And there you have it. ‘Real’ interview answers!

Over and Out.

 

10. Assessment Centre

My dreaded assessment ordeal day is finally over. I am so relieved but more than anything I am just mentally and physically exhausted. 

Somebody give me a massage. And put a flower in my hair too.

I woke up at the ungodly hour of quarter to 6 to guarantee I got there on time. It was pretty much pitch black outside- seriously depressing! I was on my feet pretty much the whole day and when you’re in heels, that absolutely kills. My back is actually aching right now and if it was possible to have a 6 pac on your calves, I would bloody well have one. They are rock hard. It’s as if Medusa looked at them and turned them to stone.

I was really worried on the day that I wouldn’t be able to get words coherently out of my mouth. Thankfully I didn’t have any spluttering incidents or say something like wag1 y’all, wassup homie or yeh boi. Instead I word vomited. Taking this as a metaphor, I hurled ALL over them and I don’t even know what was in my sick. Yes… I bet you’re all loving that imagery.

A few people mentioned that there might be some awkwardness at the assessment centre with the other candidates. After all, how much do you have in common? Now I don’t know if I just got lucky, but I was with a great bunch. Most of them spoke quite openly and freely and it genuinely made the day so much better. There were conversations about A Game of Thrones (Daenerys is well fit said one guy), One Pound Fish song (I gave them a rendition of “Come on ladiess”) and Twilight (oh my god it is so shit but I’ve got to see it said another guy).

Afterwards we all headed to a pub nearby and sat down and chillaxed. One of the dudes was talking about his supreme ‘bullshitting’ ability and how he actually created an imaginary child (called Ryan) from an impoverished background who flourished after he tutored him. All of this was for the purpose of creating a relevant example for a competency question. Unbelievable! We’re all guilty of exaggerating our accomplishments but that’s just taking the biscuit!

Overall, I didn’t flop as hard as I anticipated and given that I’m an AC virgin, I think I did alright. I have zero expectation of actually getting the offer though. But hey, at least I looked good. Yeh boi!

5. Internships

This morning I wasn’t sure what I was going to ramble on about but thankfully it got decided for me.

I received an email from Towers Watson inviting me to an assessment centre where they will probably crush my soul. This is the last stage before an offer and I am honestly bricking it. I haven’t done anything as intense as this before. I used to consider myself lucky not having to do any interviews to get into university but now I feel as if I’ve lost out on some experience. On the agenda there is a competency based interview, group discussion, role play and possibly a presentation, written exercise or problem solving interview. This sounds more like an ordeal than an interview.

Anyhow, this is all going down next week so I don’t really have that long. I have a lot of brushing up to do. It’s also the first time I’ll be missing lectures (goody two shoes I know) but it’s better to miss the wishy washy intro lectures than one later on where something fundamental is taught.

The most important question however is… what am I going to wear? Do I go for sexy and sassy (lol) or calm and comfortable? Or simply put skirt v. trousers?

Wearing a skirt makes me feel professional and more confident- I don’t look too bad in it either (HELLO HOURGLASS).  It helps with the whole personality transplant and to uphold the facade of professionalism, courtesy, manners and intellect that in all reality I do not possess. On the downside, I’ll have to wear tights which means trying to find a pair that doesn’t have holes or ladders in it. It’ll also mean pulling my tights up every 10 minutes which doesn’t look classy no matter how you do it.  Furthermore, my legs will get cold.

Trousers. My reliable old friend. They’re super comfy and there’s no hassle of tights. I can look smart in it too and there’s a certain comfort in wearing clothes you’re familiar with. However it makes me feel like I’m back in 6th Form and still need a teacher to tell me what to do. Decisions, decisions…

On a completely unrelated note, I should be going to see Life of Pi today avec the parents. Even my mum who hates loud noises and cinema theatres is coming *shock horror*. It’s Wednesday so we’re doing the whole Orange Wednesdays thing. Yay for being cheap! And brown!

Oh my god. I totes want a pet tiger too.