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Posts tagged ‘internship’

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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126. So did I actually do anything on my To-Do List?

So I made a list of things I wanted to do over Summer and I thought it might be a good idea to check if I actually did any of them. I know it’s October but better late than never. Here goes:

  • Buy clothes for my internship (so that I look good while I succeed! )
    I had a very successful shopping trip with my dad. I managed to buy five shirts/blouses for under £60 so I was well chuffed! Shame I didn’t give two hoots about what I was wearing about a week into the internship.
  • Visit all my friends who I haven’t seen in a while
    I visited a few close friends but nowhere near everyone I hoped to see. GUILTY!

    akjk

    Me and JK

  • Buy clothes for my cousin’s wedding
    Ah ha ha the last minute panic that was my Paris trip. I really liked the green asian style maxi dress I bought- made me feel a million dollars!
  • Be nice to my cousin who doesn’t like me when she comes to visit
    This went surprisingly well actually. I think we both made a conscious effort to be warmer towards each other even though we don’t see eye to eye. I’m pleased we parted on good terms.
  • Think seriously about fourth year modules and start collecting past papers/ problem sheet solutions
    I dedicated quite a lot of time thinking about my final year and how I needed to boost my marks. I find it amusing that the modules I decided to do this term are exactly what I originally planned to do before all the scrutiny and over analysis of past papers. Sometimes it really is best not to overthink. I’m very happy with my choices.
  • Bake lasagna for my parents again
    Shockingly I got around to doing this. It was a real pain getting my parents out the kitchen but I succeeded in baking something edible. It was good but there is definitely room for improvement (more white sauce!)

    lasagna

    Om nom nom

  • Start writing down Mum’s recipes (step one of wife training)
    This didn’t happen… I’m clearly putting off wife training. I should just start apologising to my husband now. If he exists.
  • Organise a holiday somewhere in Europe for September
    I must have spent hours looking at potential destinations but did I go anywhere? NOPE. In part, I blame my parents because they were so reluctant. My mum’s preference is always to go to Pakistan to see family but that means never getting a chance to actually explore the country. My dad’s preference is to minimise spending and if he had it his way we’d be in a tiny self catering hostel and seeing lots of places but not actually ‘doing’ anything. Either way, not the holiday I was looking for.
  • Start reading A Game of Thrones
    Alas this didn’t happen either. HOWEVER I did manage to read quite a few books during my jury service because there was so much waiting around. I just love reading sessions- I really miss it during term time. Technically speaking I could read a few pages everyday but I find that very unsatisfying. I prefer to totally immerse myself into a new world not just dip in and out of it.
  • Spend a day baking
    I had a lovely day baking fairy cakes with my beautiful cousin Mele. They came out so soft and fluffy! I also whipped the cream by hand which required some serious elbow grease but it came out well. We decorated the cakes with flakes and sprinkles and gosh they were scrummy!

    fairycakes

    Who doesn’t love a bit of rainbow sprinkles?!

  • Go to Thorpe Park
    Hmmm I went to Alton Towers instead which was a real trek so I think it should count. NEXTTT
  • Watch: Hangover 3, The King’s Speech, Season 7 and 8 of House, the last series of Doctor Who…and all the other stuff saved on our Sky Box
    This was my proudest achievement. I watched it all! I’ve officially seen every episode of House. Totally cried when it ended.
  • Sort out all the papers and folders scattered across my room
    I dedicated an entire day sifting through the crap in my room. I don’t know how I amass so much paper. By the end I had a pile up to my knees that went straight into recycling. Now there’s more room for me to collect new crap. Huzzah!
  • Back up my files and wipe my laptop(asaurus) because it’s so damn slow!
    I actually wiped my laptop TWICE but I still haven’t bothered to copy my files over. Turns out all I really need is the internet!
  • Do some reading for my fourth year project- maybe even form an outline of how I want to structure it
    I was quite annoyed that I couldn’t do much for my project over the Summer but I wasn’t the only one so I don’t feel so bad. I have a truckload to do for it now though. Le sigh.
  • Finish furnishing my Neohome
    Neopets took a back seat this Summer. Am I growing up? NOOOOOOOO. (I still play the stock market. I will never give it up.)
  • Finish decorating the Disney Princesses wall in my room (I’m a grown up, honest)
    I did the colouring….but I still need to cut them out and stick them on my wall. It was surprisingly therapeutic just sitting there deciding which shade of pink was right for Aurora’s dress. #lifedecisions

    aurora

    See how well I kept in the lines. Such a pro.

  • Lose a few pounds or worse comes to worst, don’t put ON any more weight!
    I didn’t lose weight. On the plus side, I didn’t really gain anything either. In my books, that’s a win!
  • KEEP BLOGGING!
    I think I did just enough though I got super busy during my internship…

Overall I think I did quite well. Did most of the important things on the list!

Over and Out!

115. 20 things I wish I knew before I started my internship

1. Keep a pen and notepad with you at all times. You never know when someone will give you something to do.

2. If you’re stuck on something, give it a decent attempt. If you’re still struggling, note down your questions precisely as well as what you’ve already tried so you don’t have to keep pestering people.

3. Note down the names of people you’ve met eg Harry Potter and a memorable trait eg. lightning bolt scar. You don’t want to go through the awkward ‘erm what’s your name again’ conversation.

4. Respond to emails quickly. Often people are waiting for your response before they can move forward. Don’t keep them waiting too long.

5. Put your email sign off eg. Kind regards in your email signature. You will get tired of typing it.

6. Constantly inform people what you are doing. They like reassurance that you haven’t forgotten about their work. In fact you shouldn’t be alarmed if you spend more time informing people of this than actually working.

7. Always make a note of where you found any facts and figures. You will cry if they ask you to find it later and you’ve forgotten.

8. Implement checks in your work wherever possible. This will prevent follow through mistakes which are annoying to fix.

9. Say ‘yes’ to any work given to as long as you have enough time to do it… and even if you don’t. You’ll be surprised how much you can reshuffle to make time.

10. Make a comprehensive list of your tasks and how long you think they’ll take. But also keep a Post-It of immediate tasks in your direct eye line so you are constantly aware of what needs to be done.

11. People care a lot about the appearance of documents so make it look pretty. I got commended in my final review for adjusting the line spacing so that everything fit neatly onto one page.  Such a minor detail and it got noticed. Thank you OCD.

12. Ask people questions. It makes them feel knowledgeable so do so even if you know the answer. If you’re feeling brave, subtly mention the answer and they’ll think you’re clever.

13. Facebook stalk other people in the office and find out what they’re interested in. You’ll find it easier to talk to them.

14. If you can think of a better way of doing something, discuss it with the person who gave you the job. DON’T just jump into it. Some people are surprisingly touchy if you drift even a little from their instructions.

15. Wherever possible, get feedback on any work you’ve done. It’s a good way to learn and get more work as well building a rapport through the correspondence.

16. If you have the option to speak to someone rather than email them about something important, speak to them. Things are far less ambiguous when you talk directly.

17. Take regular breaks and stretch your legs. It’s good for your concentration. This doesn’t mean you’re wasting your time. Do the coffee round or plan your lunch and meetings in such a way that you’re not at your desk for hours and hours.

18. Food is the best way to butter up your colleagues. Cake always goes down a treat, especially if it’s homemade.

19. Do not let people get away with giving vague instructions. Pester them if you have to. It will save you a lot of time in the long run.

20. It’s always better to ask for help than to struggle in vain.

Over and Out!

114. I’m getting moneyyyy

Well actually I got a job offer. Same thing. I thought I would hear back from Towers Watson in early September so this came as a real shock. The first time they rang, I was in the shower. When I phoned back, they were busy. By the time they replied, I had lots of family around so I had to literally scream EVERYONE SHUT UP… please.

But yeah I got my first job offer on the back of my first internship which I got from my first assessment centre. That’s quite a statistic. I feel very lucky but at the same time I worry I have like no interview experience which might pose a problem in the future. But this isn’t the time to fret about that.

I should add I haven’t accepted yet. Thought I’d keep them waiting for once 😛 Nahhh I wanted to discuss it with my parents first and really process it so now I have until the end of the week to respond.

The pay is decent but not as high as I aspired. However there are quite a few perks with the job, the most important being that they’ll pay for my study package (I gotto take exams to become an actuary…) and I’ll get approximately one day a week off to revise. They’d also get me into their pension scheme, give me a free phone, private medical insurance..useful stuff.

So yeah. A job offer waiting for me after I graduate…a nice position to be in. I can do my best during my final year of uni and not worry about what’s coming next.

All the interns at my office. I hope they all come back!

All the interns at my office. I hope they all come back!

I was gonna talk about the fact that my project group won the prize for ‘Most Innovative Team’ for the videos we made and how awesome we were as a group (see post 111. Go Beyond!) but this news kinda trumps that. Oh well.

team fast forward

Team Fast Forward!

There you have it. The end of my internship but the start of my career at Towers Watson.

Over and Out!

[Note: The title and gif come from the song ‘Turn my swag on’ by Soulja Boy. Lol. ]

113. Alton Towers v. Thorpe Park

I went to Alton Towers for the first time recently and I couldn’t help but compare it to Thorpe Park. The reason I’d never been before was because it’s 5 hours away by public transport but some of my Towers Watson colleagues were going and I thought it would be a good way to get to know them better. I went with such random people, most of whom I’d only known for a day and some of them I’d never seen before. I’m surprised I went at all. Moreover I’m surprised my parents let me.

The Crew

The Crew

That aside, I ended up having a great time!

aliyasmile

Huge grin

Onto the comparisons!

Size of the Park

Alton Towers is mahoosive. It’s spaced out; there are ponds and castles and greenery everywhere so it’s a beautiful location. However that also means the rides are far apart so you feel like a lot of time is being wasted just walking to the next ride let alone waiting in the queues. I should add that they do have ‘Sky Rides’ which transport you from one section of the park to another which is helpful. If you don’t take the Sky Ride however, there’s a good chance you’ll get lost in the meandering paths through the trees.

Look at all that green! (Picture was taken from Sky Ride)

Look at all that green! (Picture was taken from Sky Ride)

Meanwhile Thorpe Park isn’t small but the rides are much closer together- you can run to them even if you’re fitness challenged like I am. The natural consequence is that there is less scenery.

Family Friendly

Alton Towers definitely caters better for families; they’ve got more rides for the the little ones and stalls where you can win fluffy teddy bears and whatnot. As a university student I’m not fully appreciative of this but it’s a huge plus for children.

Food

This is not really a big issue for me. I’m there to have fun- as long as there’s something to keep the hunger at bay I’m good. Both Alton Towers and Thorpe Park fulfil this basic requirement.

THE RIDES

This is the big one really. Alton Park definitely used to have edge what with its rollercoasters but Thorpe Park has responded strongly in recent years with the arrival of The Swarm, Saw: The Ride and Stealth. Even with the arrival of Smiler (the world’s first 14 loop rollercoaster) at Alton Towers, I think Thorpe Park still has the edge.

These are some of the best rides at Alton Towers (in my opinion):

  • Air– This was a great ride. It felt smooth and I really did feel like I was flying. This is quite similar to The Swarm at Thorpe Park and though you’re not in ‘flying’ position (you lie on your stomach with your legs up during ‘Air’), I thought it was just as good.
  • Nemesis– Thorpe Park has the Nemesis Inferno rollercoaster which is very similar but the Alton Towers’ version was longer and you go upside down more so I liked it better.
  • Rita– You get catapulted from 0 to 100 kmph in 2.5 seconds! Sound good? Yeah not as good as going 0 to 128 kmph in under 2 seconds as you do on Stealth. There’s no competition. In fact if you’ve survived Stealth and go on Rita, you might be a little disappointed.
  • Oblivion– Not gonna lie I was crapping myself at the top when they hang you and all you can see is the ground way down below you. However I really enjoyed it- definitely one of the best rides at Alton Towers. Valid comparisons can be made to Saw: The Ride at Thorpe which is similarly awesome.
  • Smiler– I haven’t been on this (BECAUSE IT WAS CLOSED DAMMIT) which is a huge shame. I really hope it lives up to the hype but if it doesn’t there’s still Colossus at Thorpe Park which is a mere 4 loops less.

Basically this whole long convoluted blog post is saying I like Thorpe Park better. All of the best rides at Alton Towers can be matched by something at Thorpe Park and that’s not even considering rides like Rush, Samurai and Tidal Wave. Smiler is a huge plus point for Alton Towers but not enough to sway me.

[Aside: I felt most sick when I was being driven from Alton Towers to the station by some cray cray taxi driver. That guy’s driving license needs to be revoked. He was doing 80mph on a 40mph road. Da eff?!]

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!

110. Watch this space!

My life has been reduced to work, eat and sleep. Seriously. There are not enough hours in the day.

I have so much to share but it will all have to wait until after this Friday when I finish my internship.

But I thought I’d post and reassure people I’m still alive and all.

 

Watch this space!

 

 

Over and Out!