“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”

This is an introduction to a new chapter in the life of the human known as Ionut Barbura, so buckle up because you are about to embark on a crazy ride. On the 27th of June 2017 I finally realised how Neil Armstrong felt when he set foot on the Moon .I am more than certain that he and I had the same feelings. I am fully convinced that if you get to read this article, you have experienced (at least once) that bizarre state of both excitement and fear. And that is exactly what I felt on my first day with the Catalyst Programme.

Last year's team getting to know each other. Here's to the next intake!

My first day started with a very pleasant two hour induction by the Catalyst Programme Manager, Lucy. Then it was followed by a refreshing walk around the Sussex Innovation Centre, which like the Tardis, is much, much bigger on the inside. In my innocence, I thought that the first couple of days will be basic corporation induction. You know, all those “here is this” and “read this 1000 pages long manual” that you will forget after your first day there. However, this is not that case with Catalyst.

After the first 2.5 hours, I was “thrown” straight into the “delightful” but time-consuming world of transcribing. In that moment, I realised how it felt to be gladiator in Ancient Rome and to be suddenly thrown into a pit with various exotic creatures. However, instead of a gladiator, you had me, a 21 years old History and Sociology student, and instead of exotic creatures, you had the apparently merciless task of transcribing interviews. I soon learned that this is the Catalyst way!

It's even bigger on the inside!

I was a bit anxious. However, I immediately got over those unjustified fears because “momma raised no wimp” and dived directly into them. Lucy, jokingly told me that this transcribing task might become an initiation procedure, because the other colleague of mine, who started earlier spent his first days transcribing as well. However, despite the bad reputation that they get, I quite enjoyed doing them.

My favourite day so far was the third day, when I was given my first project. Can you imagine? It was only the third day and I got my own task. I was extremely thrilled. The project was a desk-based market research, something that I’ve never done before. With the help of the wonderful team, especially of the Market Research Coordinator, I was able to finish my first ever market research project. You can imagine how I felt - ecstatic.

Now, all that is left is the future. If transcribing is the worst it can get, then I say bring it on!

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