Angelina, who joined us for 4 weeks through a Career Ready Internship, shares her view on how expectations met reality during her time here!
So it’s my first day at Cyrenians office – I wake up at 8 am and I find the most casual-looking yet serious-about-this-internship outfit. I get there really early, like half an hour early, to make sure I was on time because I wanted to make a good impression. I do the only rational thing I could think of – stand outside Norton Park for half an hour to hit that 9 am mark.
The office experience isn’t what I expected – but then again it was, in a way. Let me elaborate; I had watched a lot of movies that involve offices and bosses and stuff so I had an idea, but I filtered my thoughts to be more realistic. I expected a minimal amount of banter, and work with complex documents and computer programmes that I have not used before with days of training to learn how to use them. It’s actually the exact same software I use in school except I’m using the bits of the software that I never used or didn’t need to use before. I was right about office peoples’ love of coffee and snacking. I learned useful admin skills in the office area; I even had the courage to ask for help when I needed it and they came rushing over to help me, which was cool because I didn’t even feel embarrassed after it (which I usually do and that’s the reason I don’t ask for help)
As they are at a desk all day (which I didn’t really like), office people are very chatty. I found doing admin work for 7 hours a day a bit draining and I realised that having a bit of banter is what kept it alive, so this experience helped me realise I don’t like working for a solely desk-based job. I was also right in assuming that there would be at least one person in the office that’s a bit quirky and makes everybody laugh with their jokes and daily stories. Having another intern eased the experience a lot for me as we experienced some of the things at the same time; I didn’t feel inferior and was treated like a regular staff member.
I am very thankful of the opportunities and learning experiences I’ve had at Cyrenians: such as time at Parliament, the cook school, depot work and different social enterprise discussions and meetings to see how they run. It was a good mix of hands-on jobs and professional field and desk work.
My internship was a good 4 weeks so I had to make the most of every day as a new experience and learning opportunity. I wasted no time, tried my best at every task and found out which ones I enjoyed and disliked. Also learning people’s names and personality helps to remember them and makes you feel more comfortable within your area of work because it helped me with communication as I would find something in common to chat about. When I applied for the Career Ready programme I had set up some objectives that I want to achieve by the end of my internship and I’m glad to say I aced all of them, especially gaining confidence when meeting and communicating with new people, and confidently delivering a presentation, which went very well.
Although loads of things I really enjoyed and did well in, like all humans I made a few mistakes – like not using the scanner properly, or forgetting to save files in the correct folder and even accidentally deleting files before saving them! Those situations you just have to get over it even if it feels like a collapsing moment: it isn’t the end of the world so you just have to get over it. You get used to people and the everyday work life routine and actually bond with some people who aren’t in your age range but can teach you great life skills. I got good tips from people in the office and at the depot as well.
If I were to go back and experience it again, the only thing I would change is opening up my perspective a bit more because some things are not all what they seem, like for example I thought that the office would be boring and serious at all times because they’ve got important work to do but it was actually always chatty and a soft atmosphere and the out of office experiences were really fun as well. That’s all I would change because I had a good attitude coming to a work environment but I couldn’t prepare myself for every challenge I would face. Overall I definitely gained good work experience through Cyrenians and have took on board all their advice for the future – especially Jockey’s, because he gave me so many life tips as he has traveled and experienced the world.
Thank you Angelina!