pathei mathos: Mili’s First Two Weeks at OC
To sum up my work experience at Open Consulting in three words, I would go with: full of beans! Being an intern here was an incredibly unique and enriching experience: from walking in on my first day to now, while I’m working on cyber tests using the GDS framework.
From the beginning, I was met with respect and understanding; I was treated as an employee, not just a temporary intern. If there was anything I was unsure about – and trust me when I say there was a lot – all I had to do was simply ask for help. The first few days, I was slightly reserved, fearing how it would look if I, the 16-year-old intern who had just finished her GCSE exams, didn’t know something compared to my team’s rapid growth and success as a company. I incorrectly assumed that I would be talked-down-to or patronised due to my lack of qualifications and experience. But over the past month I realised that there is nothing wrong with not knowing something; in fact it could be seen as a good thing: being unsure in some cases is indicative that you’re stretching yourself further and going beyond your comfort zone. It also allows the chance to improve and upgrade your knowledge on a particular topic.
The Excitement of Week #1: (induction)
The Open Consulting team has been inclusive, fun and accommodating to a student like myself as I prepare for my A-levels. Therefore, my role started off open-ended as I attempt to understand what I want to get out of this experience: I was given the opportunity to work with numerous teams and people, including Emerging Tech, Management, and Development during this week.
I was assigned the task to create a Google Form and input the questions to the cyber essentials test. I was given useful feedback and improved my skills on how to use Google Lens and Forms. We even discussed my aspiration to improve my Java and was provided with a React.JS course to further my ability. I was then offered a choice as to which tasks I could pick up in which field: I decided to venture into the wild abyss of finding an office work space. It was slightly more difficult than I had initially anticipated and yet I enjoyed the challenge. I enjoyed making phone calls and speaking to a variety of different people from a range of different professions. I enjoyed showing off my Excel skills by creating a document comparing all potential work spaces. And I certainly enjoyed travelling to a viewing and having a tour of a modern, stylish office.
The Challenges of Week #2: (finding solutions)
Throughout week two one small phrase, coined by Aescyhlus, was circling in the back of my mind: ‘pathei mathos – in suffering we learn’ and although I would not say I was suffering, I do believe that wisdom arises from challenges and difficulties, and that personal experience is the root of all true learning. I was assigned the task to use the GDS Template to create a website and adapt it to our needs. I was unfamiliar with the numerous software I had to download, including Node.js, Git Bash, and VS Code. Prior to this, I had never been faced with a coding task that I could not decipher and complete and so the difficulties I faced with navigating the new apps and coding language I’d never used before was unique and unfamiliar to me. When I saw the light at the end of the two day tunnel when my code finally worked, I rejoiced. Only to be met with the other difficulty of pushing my VS code into GitHub for others to look at and adapt. It took an entire day and a half to figure that task out, but I had to be resilient and persevere till I found the correct solution. I then reflected back on the start of my second week trying to figure out what changes I could make to end the week much better than its start.
We were put in a group project where all the interns worked on the Open Consulting website, putting ourselves in the mind of the user trying to figure out what would appeal to them. The hierarchy chart was my task of the day. Although this may seem like a simple, straightforward task, I did initially struggle to find a suitable plugin. In the end nothing did work, so I split the chart into six, as there were six main departments. This allows the user to not have to scroll horizontally, thereby making it an easier experience for them on the website.
As I sit here now, writing this blog post, looking back on the past two weeks at Open Consulting with the words of the Greek tragedian Aescyhlus echoing in my mind, I realise many things: making mistakes and not knowing all the facts can be a good thing as it provides an opportunity to learn; failure can also be useful but fear of failure is limiting; and lastly, having fun is essential. Throughout my time here, I kept my energy up through playing 5-minute games with my colleagues every once in a while; taking a break is hugely important for not only enjoying your job but also getting to know your colleagues better. My team here at Open Consulting welcomed me with open arms, emanating a collaborative and hard-working spirit that was quickly adopted by every new intern. They have taught me so many fundamental lessons, and yes it was hard at times but I will nevertheless be forever grateful.
Perhaps Aeschylus was right after all: ‘In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.’
– Written by Mili Thakrar, Student Intern