A whiskers’ width away from the culmination of high school and the independence of uni, yet I was still painfully unaware of what goes on behind the frosted glass doors of an office. Welcome to work experience!
I’m finishing Year 11 at Matthew Flinders Anglican College and work experience week was strategically placed 5 days before the Christmas holidays, how taunting. When the seniors are celebrating their new found ‘freedom’ at schoolies, my grade has been dispatched to various law firms, marketing agencies, primary schools and even a few construction sites to partake in hands-on experience of ‘the real world’.
The whole experience is very metaphorical. You see, this is an example of how my peers and I will be surviving for the next 12 months: Learning with patient absorbance, terrifyingly unaware of what the next step is, I’m grateful that the people in my work experience placement were understanding and happy to answer any questions I had this week and hope that I will feel the same way with my friends and family next year!
Understandably, you may have a different idea of the working world. Like me, you’ve probably seen the American TV program ‘The Office’. It has instigated some witty propaganda relating to the true office environment. As much as I would love the workplace to be as unproductive and hilarious as Steve Carrol’s paper company Dunder Mifflin- I am yet to meet the office ‘Dwight’ (this fact I am very appreciative of).
So I made the conscious decision to squeeze out as much knowledge and understanding from work experience week as I can. My week started at the University of the Sunshine Coast with their lovely Marketing and Communications team. On my first day I was introduced to so many welcoming people which resulted in giving my memory a good exercise in name remembrance. The office environment wasn’t nearly as intimidating as I had expected, and (gladly) not as hectic as Steve Carrol’s Dunder Mifflin. I was given a tour of USC’s impressive campus; their many cafés, extensive library, a mind boggling ‘The Cave’ (a graphics room complied of 64 TV screens used to display 3D interactive maps of the universe). I found it awe-inspiring how an engineering or graphics student can manipulate computer code to demonstrate in 3D how to help the Villagers in Bambui (course 484B ect). Especially when the technology is used by only three other institutions in the world, talk about a WOW factor! USC’s computer technology isn’t the only thing that left me flabbergasted- their Moot Court, an accurate representation of a real court room is used by their Law Students to participate in mock trials; training wheels to helping them become comfortable in a real courtroom.
I do believe that sometimes in life you need your own moot court, a practise session or a warm up lap before the real thing. This is also why I believe work experience has been helpful, and that you should give all your effort in badgering your supervisor with questions about the field, volunteering to run errands and raising your hand to opportunities that come your way. I know that the next 12 months for all new seniors is more intimidating than spending a week in a USC Marketing and Communications office in Sippy Downs however, the principles I have taken away from a week in ‘the real world’ will serve as a weight off my shoulders. An element of mystery has been lifted from the imagined trajectory of my academic life and instead of visualizing a question mark while thinking about a career after getting my degree I now feel affirmed and reassured in what I want to achieve and what it will be like when I do.