Here comes a new beginning, a new academic year, a new start. As Fontys and Eindhoven welcome hundreds of students from all over the world, I sit humbly behind my computer looking for work.
As you may or may not know, I am an engineer. July 15th 2021, I stood on a stage in het Evoluon and accepted my Bachelor of Science in Mechatronics. I graduated cum laude and made everyone around me proud. I made myself proud. I walked out of there feeling like I was on top of the world. That was, until I applied for work.
Now let me preface this and just say I realize I am in a very fortunate position be in the technical field and get the kind of opportunities that I have gotten (even if it may be that in the end I did not get the job). However, the pressure, the disappointment, the anxiety is no different.
Going for my first interview, I had no idea what to prepare, who to trust, where to ask help. There is not really a ‘Real World 101’ class we are offered at school. Just like many colleagues I did not know what salary to ask for, what background of the company to study, decide which precise area of engineering I wanted to work in. Just like all my colleagues, I got it wrong plenty of times, and it broke my spirit.
I went through the same rollercoaster thinking perhaps I am doing something completely wrong, or despite my excellence at school am I simply not good enough for this career?
The thing I realize now is this is just a part and parcel of the journey. We all face successes and failures. Now that I am once again in a fortunate position to have some good offers, I think, maybe I needed to learn this.
To teach myself the story I tell at an interview, to really evaluate a company before applying there. And mostly: to understand how I want my career to look. If you are a student starting your study this year or graduated like me or anywhere in between, I cannot tell you if our schools will ever teach us this, all I can assure you is there is work for everyone out there. The rejections are just an inevitable and important lesson to learn. The bright careers we are all gunning for, they start with stark, bare beginnings.
Rina Manjrekar (22) moved to the Netherlands four years ago from Malaysia. She is a previous student Mechatronics at Fontys School of Engineering. After graduating cum laude in July 2021, she now tries to find her way in the 'real' world. Here you can find her earlier columns for Bron.