The day had finally come, 1st August 2018 and starting my professional placement as a Catalyst Team Member at the Sussex Innovation Centre. I already had mixed feelings about starting my first ever full-time job; mixture of excitement and nervousness as can be expected. However, once I arrived at the Innovation centre and had my initial induction with both the Catalyst Programme Managers Lucy and Liam (which was quite over-whelming at first), most of my feelings shifted towards excitement. Knowing that I will ‘wear the responsibility’ as it were, is something I haven’t truly experienced before but is a challenge I am keen to take on. Not only this but being told some of the past experiences from other members of the catalyst team and how they have gone into incredible and respectable industries was truly inspiring. It really opened my eyes to what I could potentially become in the future.
Once I was shown where I will be working, every person I spoke to in the office and around the workplace were so welcoming and friendly which helped relive most of my nervousness. Knowing that I am surrounded by supportive people really enhanced the feeling of ‘being part of the team’ (even though this was just my first day). The Catalyst programme really has fulfilled my initial expectations of what can be expected from a placement year student. From being given the experience of working a range of tasks, roles and responsibilities, along with making a real difference to real businesses is such an amazing opportunity for a placement student. Furthermore, it will be fascinating to discover what my strengths and weaknesses are within the working environment and how (particularly the strengths) can be applied to the real work I will be undertaking. More importantly, identifying and hopefully improving the weaknesses I believe will aid my growth as both a person and a professional employee which I believe will open my eyes to what I do not know I can do, yet….
Overall, I cannot wait to learn new skills and abilities that I wouldn’t necessarily pick up in the academic environment. I believe my open-minded attitude and initiative to take on unique challenges and prospects will come of value within the Catalyst team. From what I’ve heard from the other Catalyst team members, having these qualities should allow me to approach any task freely with a positive outlook. Nevertheless, I’m sure there will be difficult times ahead. But knowing that the Catalyst team is supported by the programme managers and the support of the other team members are always there for you when needed is such a fantastic and relieving feeling. I am eager to see where I end up in a year’s time and what will have changed for me as a person.