During possibly the most stressful year in my brief yet hectic 22 years as dissertation stress reached breaking point, I could not see an audible post-graduate path for me. However, the one person in my house who came back with a smile every day, had his life together and constantly told me how he was enjoying his job was my housemate, Cedd. Strolling in after a day of work whilst I’m sat dragging my tired eyes through William Blake gave me hope for the all-too-commonly feared post-graduate life. The reason for his relaxed and cheery state was his position on the Catalyst Team at the Sussex Innovation Centre.
Whilst being a relatively free-spirited person, I was terrified at the loss of structure. Superseded to the fact that I had no clue what area of business I wished to go into, I felt the Catalyst programme would be a step in the right direction for me. Once I fully probed Cedd about the job I knew it was exactly what I needed, then three months ago in April in my first interview, wearing the first suit I’ve ever purchased, my desire for the job grew instantly. As you can imagine when I was offered the job I was ecstatic.
Rather luckily, I was able to come in two weeks before my start date for a client handover from Rachel, a member of the fourth team. Here I learnt I was to be a PR & Comms assistant for the Sussex Innovation Centre two days a week alongside the Catalyst Team. My first client! On these two days I met the previous team and gained advanced insight into life as a Catalyst Intern. Experiencing the open office supported by a friendly team made me all the more excited to start. The two weeks which passed after those days saw first day jitters begin to rumble within as I anticipated my start date.
As if in a flash, it was the 7th of August, my first day. Classically, I woke up an hour before my 7.30 alarm, a time which throughout the first three years of my undergrad was rarely graced by my presence. However, this day marked to beginning of a new timetable and a new time to learning which, as is the case when starting something new, a source of anxiety. Despite friends constant attempts to relax my jitters, I could not help but be anxious knowing I was about the jump into a new pool of work, or rather be pushed into. After my introduction with our Catalyst Programme Manager, Lucy, I was instantly calm about my coming year and was keen to start.
My first afternoon was spent working for the Innovation Centre scheduling tweets around events in Croydon and Falmer, thankfully I had a wonderfully detailed handover document from Rachel (great thanks to Rachel) which enabled me to do so swiftly and without stress. I was also extremely lucky to have started on a Team Volleyball day where we left the office at 3.30 and headed straight to the beach. I surely hope I hid my secretly competitive streak, but leaving the courts I noticed the amount of sand on me which surely indicated that my competitiveness had me diving for the ball! All in all, it was the best first day a person could ask for. The chance to meet the team in such a casual environment made me extremely relaxed for the days to come. At the close of the week I had already worked with three clients, all such different and new topics and procedures. Conducting market research surely tested my time management, and having been thrown into foreign ground I am keen to gain speed and precision in all the Innovation Centre has yet to challenge me with.
The Catalyst Programme has already been a push in the right direction, challenging me through different skills, time management and new areas of work. Having now finished my first week I can truthfully say it is a push I needed and I look forward to see what these next 12 months shall bring. Those first day jitters have now turned into true excitement and I can now happily say two people in our house are enjoying graduate life.