My first day of Work Experience began on 30th June, 2008. I woke up on that morning at 7am, feeling nervous and excited at the same time. My room was quite messy when I got up. I got out of bed, tidied up my bed and room, and went for my early morning shower. The shower was relaxing and refreshing as I stood under it and gathered my thoughts. It was a cool, windy day. I like windy days at times: It eases my nervousness and builds up excitement: at long last it was the much awaited first day at work. Soon enough, I was dressed. I took time as I did not know what to wear since I wanted to make a good impression on my first day at work.
I was not wearing my school uniform (which I was used to wearing without thinking! ). I needed to be creative! Creativity first thing in the morning was not something I was used to! After throwing a few shirts and trousers randomly on my bed, I finally picked up a dark blue shirt with a pair of light blue trousers: blue being my favourite and lucky colour and of course socks which complimented my shoes. I think I looked reasonable: not too formal, not too casual: casual smart as the saying goes! I had cereal and waited anxiously for the bus.
I became too anxious as I gave worried glances at the clock. The bus normally comes to pick me up at 7:50am. When 7:50am came and went, I panicked. I thought the bus wouldn't come. I did not wish to be late on my first day for work experience! It never gives a good impression, I had heard somewhere! It was a relief when at 8:10am the bus indeed came to pick me up. The journey from my home to school was calm and pleasant. The bus went through the busy and crowded Northern Approach motorway into the greenery, peaceful and lovely Victoria Park filled with trees, lakes and small cafes and benches.
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As I was going to school, I have been thinking about what it would feel to have a real job once my education was complete. I suddenly thought about the future. I did not know what job I will have in the future but I know what I will be working on: either in the Science industry or in the ICT industry. I had also, partly, been thinking what to do during the Summer Holidays, as it was getting nearer by the hour and in what way I could make use of this time which may be useful in my future career. I finally reached my workplace, which incidentally, was my own school.
The school, where I was working, was called Oaklands and it was an international secondary school with many international students and staff. Oaklands is situated in Old Bethnal Green Road in Bethnal Green. As there are two buildings in the school, there was a long, green and white bridge which connected these buildings. One building is an old one and the other, recently built. It was very colourful and clean inside the building: many international flags were put up to make the students feel at ease in school. There were about 600 students and about 60 or 70 staff in the school that was supposed to be my work place for a week.
The reception area is usually quiet as there are not many people coming to reception everyday. Angela's office is situated at the back of the main reception beside the waiting area. I reached my office and saw my supervisor, Angela. The office was quite disorganised as there were post-it notes, pictures and files all over the place. The room was as small as a pigeon hole: it could only fit two or three people. It gets crowded when more than three people come in. It was cold inside as there was an Air Conditioner on.
Normally I would come to school as a student by 8:45am but I reached my workplace quite later than usual, at around 9:30am, as a member of staff at Oaklands School. Angela normally comes around 10am - 10:30am, but she came early at around 9:30am on that day to help me settle on the first day of work. We signed the work experience contract which was kept in my Work Experience record book. I had to bring the book every single day to work. Apart from signing the Work Experience contract, I had to fill in pages of records which were about how your first day went and how your other days went and what you had to do during the week.
After the initial paperwork, I began my first day at work. Most of the time during Work Experience, I had to work on a computer to work on the school's newsletter, the Oak, updating and editing as I went along. Using Microsoft Publisher and Word, I started to add some pictures and notes on to the school's newsletter. Staff came by and went to check on Angela and me. Staff also checked on my progress with the newsletter, complimented my work and told me to keep going, which was encouraging. I was asked to take pictures and take small interviews about the new Year 7's joining Oaklands.
When I was asked, I was frozen as ice. At home, I tried my hand on cameras and often ended up taking fuzzy pictures. Being asked to take photographs at work was a totally different ball game and I never really expected that. I declined the project because I felt that I needed more practice on taking photographs. My hands moved constantly and that is certainly not a good sign for a professional photographer! I wondered whether my declining would adversely affect the impression of my supervisor about my confidence level in trying or attempting something of a challenge.
But then I thought that I would rather say yes to something that I felt comfortable in doing, especially on my first day at work. Angela had to label the envelopes for the letters she was going to send. I helped her labelling the envelopes which took a while (it took roughly about an hour to complete it) but I managed to finish it on time. I then had to go to the staff office to get the envelopes franked with First-Class postage. Later, I helped Angela out with cutting our school year's pictures and sticking them for the staff that needed them.
There were about 120 students in our year. That also took a while to complete. The morning was almost over. It taught me already that tasks needed to be prioritised, tasks needed to be completed on time and with concentration. There was no time to be wasted or for fooling around. It was a professional atmosphere and one needed to be professional. Finally, I had my lunch at school. Usually I have lunch at home since I do half-day schools but by the time I finished the day, I was so hungry, I decided to have a big lunch that would fill my appetite.
I could smell all the good food being cooked in the kitchen. I was feeling that I was getting distracted and perhaps it was a good idea to take a break or call it a day since I was supposed to do half days at work anyway. The food looked colourful and matched my instant imagination! The cafeteria was crowded because many students and staff (not just me), were starving. It was funny to think of myself as staff! I noticed that there had been changes in the cafeteria since the last time I was there.
Near the windows, there are high seats and tables around the room thereby adding more seats. There is now a tray clearer in the cafeteria where we can put our finished lunches. I looked at the place and it all seemed different than usual! Perhaps it was because I was there not as a student but as an employee for the week. On my journey back home that day, I was immersed in thoughts: I always wondered how professionals have worked on their first day of their career whether in the corporate world, legal world, medical world, creative world or in the world of academia.
I wondered how, after education and training, when a person finally becomes a professional, how does he or she feel on their first assignment or first piece of work or first day at work. When I look back at my Work Experience and think about these professionals, I can somewhat get a glimpse of the level of excitement and anticipation they must feel on their first day! I also think that one can only excel and do well in any field provided one is interested to learn and is dedicated to explore the subjects that are close to ones heart. For me a journey had started. I had a long way to go.
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