2019 Retrospective

Since we are entering a new decade and closing a year, self-reflection is vital; it helps us to understand what went well so we can build on our achievements, what to do less of and what to completely scrap. In 2019 I saw developments in areas of my life, but I will focus this post on two aspects: personal and career development.

Personal Development:

This was the year where I travelled to most countries in a year, not intending to show off on social media like we commonly see lol. But purely because the world is our oyster, there is so much out there to explore in terms of cultures, history and food. My travels this year has helped me to broaden my horizons of how I can tackle my everyday lifestyle differently. The countries that I visited this year were France, Belgium, Nigeria and Brazil. It was a miracle on how I was able to finance these holidays and juggle the responsibilities of life, but when we truly want something, we make a way and not an excuse. 

Another highlight was filming at university, I have never done filming before at university. But I got an email about doing some filming for my university and I thought “why not?” and I went for it. That is pretty much how I reacted to opportunities that came my way this year- “why not? I may as well.” I believe there is so much more space to grow and develop, being relaxed cannot be an option. I have learnt to use my ‘openness to experience’ trait to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something different. 

Career Development

Internships

I completed an internship at a company in the past, and I found it so hard to balance showing my personality and being professional. I felt like I could not relate much people with my team, consequently I was extremely quiet and did not show personality at all, it was really bad. I did excellent in my projects, but in terms of integrating with the team it was something I found challenging to do, I was suffering from the impostor syndrome*. In my feedback sessions my managers constantly highlighted that I wasn’t interacting much with my team, and yet I’m a people’s person at heart (open and bubbly)- so it didn’t quite add up so I knew this was something I needed to work on. 

*According to Google- the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s efforts or skills.

After completing this internship, I decided to work on myself more and pushed myself further out of comfort zone. I wanted to be in a career where I felt free to show my personality and flaunt my technical skills, so in 2019 I decided to be intentional and to challenge myself. 

I applied e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e for summer internships and was scheduled to attend various interviews. There were many companies that I interviewed at that I felt like this was way out of the league, but I did not allow this thought mechanism to limit me. I received many rejections, I remember growing up I found it so hard to deal with rejection but along the years I have learnt to see rejection as re-direction to something better, but of course not use rejection as an excuse to ‘wait for things to fall in my lap’. Rejection has helped instil in me a backbone- life is full of many rejections but we still must persist regardless. 

Through persistence, I then landed the best internship that I have done in my life at Aviva. Whilst there, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone- I completed a qualification whilst interning and delivered a presentation to college students are just a few to note. I enjoyed my time so much there, and I found the right balance between being professional and showing my personality there (something that I had struggled with in a previous internship). This internship taught me how to use my strengths to its strength- I’m an organized person, I like to ask questions to understand someone’s thought process better, I have a calm approach under pressure which reassures my team members and so forth. As well as, I learnt how not to allow the impostor syndrome to get to me. I developed self-discipline and would aim to be in the office a bit after 8 am and I learnt breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Some other highlights include:

I got an email from Target Jobs about a Competition ‘UK Management Undergraduate of The Year’, I just went for it and applied. Little did I know I would end up being shortlisted as the Top 35 UK Management Undergraduate of the Year.

I was invited to a Dinner with a Bank of America, where I was the only student from my university and a BAME background.

A start-up company reached out to me about participating in a workshop to brainstorm ideas for a course with young people in partnership with Samsung.

Are just a few opportunities to state!

I believe 2020 will be a challenging decade- as humans we tend to focus more on the achievements we want to conquer in the new year, rather than laying out blueprints on how we will conquer the achievement.

In 2020, I’m entering it with the understanding that there will be challenges, but I will push through them and this is what will result in achievements. 

2020- the best is yet to come!

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