McDonald’s Work: The highs vs The lows

Image result for mcdonald drinksI started working at McDonald’s two weeks ago and things haven’t gone swimmingly. The first couple of shifts were an absolute disaster and I felt like dropping out. However in this post I wanted to talk about some of the highs I have had so far and some of the lows. The crazy thing is I am now not a new member of staff and there are people who are newer than me. Which is just bizarre as I totally view myself as new.  I have had no official training what so ever and can only work one station which is BDAP. Essentially BDAP is drinks and I believe it stands for “Beverages Drinks as Production”. So I can basically make all the coffees, hot chocolates, soft drinks, iced drinks, ice cream and milkshakes. Apart from that I am clueless. I can’t do “running” which is where you put the order together and call out the customer, I haven’t been trained in the kitchen either so I can’t flip burgers. I haven’t even been trained on the till so I am unable to serve customers myself. I don’t even know how to operate the washing up equipment in what they call “DIVE”. Don’t ask me what DIVE stands for because I have no idea, it is something to do with washing and cleaning. I feel a bit useless when I am there as I literally can’t do any of the other stations.

Starting with the highs is that I have made a few friends there. Two guys I work with are very friendly and considerate. They both work on the till but when there is nobody ordering they always help me out with the drink orders. They are both friendly and always willing to help out where ever they can, whether that is collecting a few fruit shoots from the fridge or making one of those lattes for me. Over the few shifts I worked with them we became friendly and we can chat without it being awkward. Both of them are great and are at university so are only there for the Summer. I also became friendly with one of the girls there especially on one of my shifts where we both got put in BDAP together. We ended up having lunch together and I sat with her in the staff room. She seems a nice individual but does like to tell me how it is done. She likes to make a point of showing me how to disperse the sauce etc.

I do like some of my managers and shift managers as well. One of my shift managers is this super relaxed Romanian guy who is very chilled. It’s so nice to work with him as he doesn’t stress you out or have ago at you. He is also very approachable and I could easily ask him for my break if I wanted to, unlike a lot of the others there. One of the managers is also very nice, he can take a joke and seems a genuine guy. He does like to assert his authority every so often, but he is the only person who properly greets me on arrival and says goodbye at the end.

Image result for mcdonald drinksMaking the drinks can be quite fun especially when the orders are dead simple, like a medium coke or a black coffee. The soft drinks machine is literally the worlds most easy machine to operate and clean. The coffee machine is also quite simple but does require a little more maintenance in regards to cleaning and restocking. Making a toffee sundae is easy and quite enjoyable. I also don’t mind restocking and making sure we have enough cups and lids etc. If someone else is working with me in BDAP I can go off out the back to do some restocking. I enjoy going into the fridge which is a small room and being nosy. I have no idea where things are kept so it takes me a while and gives me an excuse to look through all the boxes. The dry store room is like a treasure mind, there is all sorts stored in there. From cups to teabags to bread rolls to sauces. Once again I am a total novice and it takes me a good length of time to find anything.

The McDonald’s I work at is a part of a motor service station so I can adventure around the service station on my break. I also get a staff discount of up to £6 for a free employee meal. I have had all sorts on my first shift I got a McDonald’s veggie burger meal and a McFlurry. On other occasions I have gone to the little cafe in the station and bought fresh prepared fruit, yogurt and nuts. I then sit in the staff room and eat on my 30 minute break.

Now lets talk about the lows and the bad times at McDonald’s. Obviously I could go on and rant about my first few shifts and the catastrophe it was, but I like to think that I have moved on from that.

I am going to start my lows with my managers and shift managers. Now don’t get me wrong not all the authority people there are fun and relaxed. Lets start with actual managers, who on the whole do not seem to be too bad. I had one manager criticise me for not using a shovel for the ice, as I used a cup instead (it is quicker to use a cup). Apart from that the managers have not been too bad. The shift managers however is a totally different story, essentially a shift manager is like a supervisor they are of a lower rank. There are two shift managers who I despise. One of which is a very tanned lady who had a go at me for only being trained in one station. I started work and went straight to drinks as I obviously only know how to do drinks. About an hour later she came round and had a go at me saying I was supposed to be on the running station and assembling orders and not drinks. I didn’t know what she meant as this was literally my third shift, she ranted about how I was suppose to check the floor plan to see where I was. In the end she went away and I just carried on with drinks, she did not return back again.

The second shift manager I had a bigger issue with. She is very short and slightly older probably in her 40s. She is the sort of person who pulls faces all the time and I really dislike that in people, she rolls her eyes and tuts all the time. First up the person on the shift before me took the door to the cream off its hinges. One of the guys came around to fix it and she said “The thick people who work here don’t know how to assemble a door”. Considering the fact I was the only person there it looked as if she said it about me, I made a point to look at her and she quickly said “Not my lot of course, the lot before” as if she realised I had taken slight offence. I was trying to make a frappe drink and the machine ran out of mixture, I told someone about it and they said they would sort it after their break. Well I couldn’t make the order and this shift manager got angry. She went to get the frappe mix herself and quite aggressively through it on the counter. I went to open the door for her so she could put the frappe mix in and she spat out “Move out the way, I’ve got food going cold now!”. She then changed the mix over and pulled out the old one and said there is still mix left!I felt as if I was being blamed and I explained that I had tried to make one and then showed her the result of a half filled cup. I then got in trouble again when I made the mcflurry because I put in one shot of toppings and not two, she replied “Look it clearly says two on the pot!”. In my defence on all the other pots it is one shot and on this one topping it was supposed to be two. Then to hit the final nail in the coffin she went all sarcastic on me for not mopping the floor to her standard. Grrr.

The shifts can get boring especially when I am left alone on the drinks for 4/5 hours straight. I have nobody to talk to and nobody to keep me sane. I can’t leave the station unattended and go off and have a look around the store room either. Sometimes you will go through a dry spell where you will have one order in 10 minutes or so. During those times it can be boring as you have to do cleaning and you feel as if you have cleaned the same spot 100 times already. Yet at the other end of the scale a whole host of orders come flooding in at once. You could have 10 or 12 orders to do and the runners are waiting and the customers watching, it can get quite stressful.

The worst is when things start to run out and when things break. When the ice runs out that is a real pain as you have to put on a silly pair of gloves and shovel more ice. It is time consuming, cold and heavy to lift. When the milkshake machine runs out of shake mix you have to get someone to refill it for you. It is an absolute nightmare as nobody ever wants to collect shake mix and yet if it doesn’t get done the machine goes onto freeze lock and breaks. The worst is when the cups fall out and suddenly you have milkshake exploded on the floor. When the soft drinks run out you have to get someone to change the supply. It is that part I hate, asking other people to do things. You have to shout down the kitchen and hope someone listens to your plea for shake mix or ice or sundae mix or coffee beans etc. The annoying thing is when it does run out it suddenly becomes your fault even though you asked for some help and it never arrived. I also feel as if I am being a pain and pestering the other workers.

At the end of the day everything is your fault, no matter what. If a machine breaks,it is your fault. If we run out of shake mix, it is your fault. If the latte goes cold, it is your fault. If the customer thinks the hot chocolate is too watery, it is your fault!

That is my views and opinions of working at McDonald’s so far and if you work at McDonald’s or are thinking of working there I hope you find this article interesting.

 

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Welcome to the World of Work!

Image result for mcdonaldIn case you didn’t know on the 1st August 2017 I began my first ever job, working at McDonald’s. Before you start I know working in McDonald’s is not a great job, but as a summer job for a 17 year old it is not bad. I was apprehensive at first but once I got the job I became excited and was looking forward to getting my first step on the employment ladder. It felt like a good opportunity I got to the age where most of my friends had done a little bit of work, whether that was working as a waitress or baby sitter etc.

Things didn’t quite go to plan. My first ever day was absolutely awful…..I mean awful. I came home late at night probably about 10:30pm and broke down in tears. I had no training what so ever and was just thrown straight into an 8 hour shift. I got my uniform but not the full set, I received my tops and trousers but no belt or name badge. I had no welcoming or even a “Hello” I was just put straight into making the drinks. They couldn’t find a crew trainer to train me so I just had to work things out by myself. I literally made stuff up as I went along. I found everything so stressful I received zero help and had no idea what I was doing. The orders constantly mounted up and I struggled to keep up, I felt like bursting out in tears. I was so upset that I couldn’t eat, I barely ate any of my free staff lunch. I was so over worked and stressed that I clenched my jaw too tightly and grinned my teeth so they ached.

The next few days were still a disaster I slowly became use to the soft drink machine and hot drink machine. I had nightmares with the milkshake machine and frappe machine. Nobody told me how to use the frappe machine so I just pressed a button and hoped it would work. Nobody told me you had to manually put the honeycomb into the honeycomb frappe, my first few orders were a total mess. I didn’t know which sauce went on which frappe, was honeycomb a caramel or chocolate sauce? It turned out it was chocolate, but at first I used caramel. Nobody told me how much sauce to put on and what pattern to do it in, it was only later that I was told 4 lines whereas I had just done a swirl. I would get the mango smoothie confused with the lemon smoothie and put the wrong sauce on each, I would use the wrong size lid or make it in a large cup rather than a regular. I felt totally out of my depth and had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I wasn’t told that you had to physically hold onto the cups in the milkshake machine or they would fall out. I made a massive mess on the floor and I had no idea where to get a mop and bucket from. I didn’t know where the dish clothes were or where the ice was kept. Nobody ever told me these things, I felt abandoned and alone. I almost came to tears on numerous occasions.

I was literally left by myself and half the time I felt like nobody acknowledged my presence.  They didn’t set me up on the clocking in machine for ages, in order to register you are there and to get paid you must clock in. However I wasn’t set up on the system and had no ID card and no finger prints taken. This just added to my stress as I would come home from an 8 hour shift and just hope I was being paid. I honestly felt like quitting on several occasions. On my last shift one of the managers had a go a me. I arrived as normal and was going to speak to her to ask what I should do, but I got blanked. Knowing that I can only do the drinks and had been told the previous day I would stay in drinks for several weeks, I went straight to the drink station and began work. About an hour and a half later the woman came in and asked me who I was and why was I there. I was obviously rather confused, I mean obviously I work there because I was in a uniform. She seemed rather cross that I had simply started working. She then got stroppy and said I should have looked at the floor plan as I was supposed to be serving customers and not in the drinks station. At this point I was totally lost, I was literally told that I would be in drinks for several weeks until I was totally confident and a pro at drinks. She was very rude and said I was only meant to be there to cover people’s breaks. She then walked off without actually telling me what to do instead. I didn’t want to cause a big scene or anything so I just carried on with the drinks and for some reason she didn’t come back to disturb me the next time.

Well things have just got worse, I found out my good friend has just got a job there too! To make things worse she had a proper induction training and has been assigned to a crew trainer to help her through the process and the woman over seeing her training is the same woman who had a go at me! I’m so frustrated when I got my uniform they told me they had no belts left and yet she got one! Oh well I just wear my own black belt and no one has complained yet and if they do I will politely ask for a company belt. I currently hate my situation. My friend has been added into the Facebook group and everything, I am still waiting for my invite!

Oh well, like my mum says I am only there for the pay. I am not there to make friends and have a great time etc. This is work, not school. I only need to put up with it for a few more weeks, then I am out of there. It’s just difficult seeing my friend loving it and sending me pictures of her in her new uniform, when I am literally sat here crying about how sad the place makes me feel. Perhaps she will soon realise the harsh reality of McDonald’s work. It’s also unfair how she gets all this proper training, full induction and welcoming and I received nothing.

McDonald’s Induction Training

Image result for mcdonaldAfter successfully securing my first ever job at McDonald’s, I headed out to my welcome meeting and induction training. It was much different than what I was exacting. The McDonald’s I am going to work at is part of the motorway service station, so it was the service station who was running the meeting rather than McDonald’s itself. The induction meeting lasted 4 hours exactly and I didn’t even step foot into the McDonald’s itself!

I arrived 5 minutes early and waited with the other people on induction training. There was 6 of us in total and I felt like one of the youngest. Not everyone at the induction was going to work at the McDonald’s some of them were going to work in other units in the station. We received our free bottle of water and was taken to a back hut. We sat around a large meeting table and spent 2 hours going through paper work. It was form after form. We had to sign and date everything, my signature became a mess by the end of it. We were all given hefty contracts to sign, which I signed after scheme reading. 😉

We then got a tour of the premises. We started with front of house which is just the area open to the public. We got a quick speech about each unit and were pointed out every display board. We then got to go back of house which is for staff only. We went through some of the kitchens and washing up stations for other units, not McDonald’s. We got shown the basics from where the staff toilets were to where the smoking area was. We then visited the staff room, which was awful. I mean awful the room was tiny with a few seats and free squash. I don’t think I will enjoy sitting in there during my breaks! We were then shown the staff changing room, which was more of a cloak room. I wouldn’t get changed in there, it was very open and public, more like a store room. We were shown every single fire door possible and then were shown the managers office and how we clock in.

We then went back to the hut in order to sign more paperwork, this was to confirm that we had been told about the fire safety policy. We then received passwords and usernames for some E-learning that we had to complete, prior to our first shift. We were shown how to access the website and sign in. Afterwards we were told our shifts for that week and our clothe sizes were taken for our uniform. Then we were set free, to go home and work on our E learning.

That was my short experience with induction training, I have still not finished my training. I now expect to receive more McDonald’s training on how to make the burgers and drinks. Next time I will get my uniform and name bade, along with a company ID card. Once I have these I can fully begin my work and start. Now, I must go and continue with that painfully boring E learning!

EPQ Update: Planning Issues and Motivation Problems

I signed up for the Extended Qualification Project (EPQ) back in June 2017. I was keen and really wanted to do it. It would look good on my personal statement, give me something to talk about at an interview and may lower my entry grades. Fast forward to 1 month later and things are not looking so promising. It turns out that EPQ doesn’t hold as much weight as I was lead to believe, some universities say it is good but they don’t hold it that highly. Why? Because not everyone gets the opportunity to do one. I am luckily at my sixth form they offer it, but not every sixth form does. As a result it would be unfair for universities to use the EPQ as form of discriminating between students. In regards to interview material, I recently found out the courses I am applying for usually don’t require an interview (unless its Oxbridge). The top universities do not include the EPQ as part of their offer. Don’t get me wrong some universities do, but that is only if the EPQ is at A grade. From what I can gather the only way an EPQ is useful is if you get a grade A in it. Then you may find some select universities offering lower entry requirements.

With that said, I am still carrying on with my EPQ. I have already started and managed to get a reasonable way into it, so it would be silly to just through a months worth of work down the drain. I therefore need to commit to it and that is what I will do. A lot of people warned me that if I don’t choose a topic I am interested in, it will be a chore. I choose my topic to be on blood and genetics. I really enjoy the blood side of things and have always been interested in haematology, so that is okay. However the genetics, can be a little bit of a drag in some places. I only added genetics in there as I knew if I had just done blood, my report would not be long enough. I decided to look at the two topics in a broad and less scientific way than I originally wanted.  I guess my project has taken a psychology spin to it, rather than a vigorous scientific argument. If I could go back in time, I would not have looked at personality, but at blood disorders instead.

Now I am struggling to find the motivation to keep going. I have currently hit a bedrock so to speak. I have planned out my first section and written it up in my report. Then it is the second section. I didn’t want to spend so long on planning this time around, so I didn’t. I kind of just made things up as I wrote the final report, with no true structure. I thought it would save time and I could cut a corner with the planning. Unfortunately it has not paid off, I am struggling to write the report without having a plan set out. I am researching the topic, while writing it up at the same time. I think I need to take a step back, go back and plan it out properly. Then start writing it up, at the moment my report doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

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Right now, I need to find the motivation to get up and carry on. My next step is to go back and plan out all remaining sections properly and do not make short cuts. Then I need to carry on researching and collecting information. Then write the report up. Once that massive pile of work is done, I need to think about the final presentation. I will have to create some kind of display board and write a speech. So plenty of work to be getting on with!

How I got my first job

After receiving nothing back from my previous two job interviews, I decided to apply for my local McDonald’s that was recruiting for seasonal staff. I was reluctant to apply, it isn’t my ideal job and I could think of better places to work. However nothing else has come up and with Summer already here, I desperately needed to find a job. The main off put about McDonald’s was the stereotype. As a child growing up you are told that if you don’t try hard at school you will end up working at McDonald’s. Well guess where life has taken me….the recruitment stage of McDonald’s.

I arrived with 15 minutes to spare, I sat and waited in the car park not wanting to arrive too early. I read someone online if you arrive more than 10 minutes early you look desperate for the job. I reassured myself  that it would not be that bad. I am only applying for a Summer job and even though McDonald’s isn’t the most prestige of places to work, it doesn’t mean I am a failure in life. As a first job it is not bad and of course that is not my future, I have bigger goals and ambitions, but for now I had to make the most of what I have got.

I walked into the McDonald’s five minutes before my interview was scheduled. I hung back a little as I wasn’t sure who to approach. When the guy at the counter was free, I approached him and told him I was there for a job interview with the person who emailed me. He pointed the lady out who was wearing a florescent jacket, I shook her hand and told her my name. She then explained that she would not be taking the interview, but another person would be. She handed me some documents and took me over to a quiet area to fill them out. She then asked for my passport to photocopy. I handed over my passport and got to work on the form. It was a very general form with name, phone number, email and stuff like that.

I then got called over by the guy who was going to interview me. We didn’t go out the back or anything and we ended up at some normal table. He spoke to me about my CV and asked some questions about my National Citizens Service award. He then began the proper interview.

What does respect mean to you?

“Treating other people how you wish to be treated and treating everyone fairly and equally.”

Who do you respect the most in your life?

“My parents as they have raised me and without them I may not be here today”

What is more important friendliness or speed?

“Friendliness. If the customer is not treated well they will not return. They may also tell others about their poor experience and this in turn will lose more customers”

If you were a brand what brand would you be?

“Umm, I’m not sure, something reliable”

There were other questions that I can’t remember. These were some of the more interesting questions. I was asked the generic questions like “why do you want to work here?” and then about working hours and availability. The interview took a structured style, the questions were preset and the same for everyone. My answers were not written down, but I was given verbal feedback.

I was then told that I would have a 10 minute trial on the till. I was nervous, having never worked on a till in my life. The guy showed me the very basics and I watched as he took some orders. Then he let me have a go. The first person was a member of the public it was a 50/50 effort. The guy asked for his order and I tapped it in, with guidance on what button to press. He took the cash and I gave the change. The next person was the store manager. It was tough. I asked him what he would like. He ordered probably the most difficult things on the menu. I wasn’t at all confident on the till and the guy with me had to help and give me guidance. However I managed to do it and served him. It was nerve wracking and I don’t think I came across as at all confident. My voice was shaking with nerves as I was totally out of my depth.

Afterwards the interviewer came back and sat me down. He offered me the job! YESSSS! I am no longer an unemployed person. He told me to stay tuned for an email about full induction training. He said I may start with 8 hours a week and possibly up to 20 in the busiest of times. I was a little disappointed with 8 hours a week, I was hoping anything up to 30 hours. However I will take it. He shook my hand and looked at my peach nail paint, he then replied the “nails will have to go”. I laughed. I then headed out with a job!

 

A Summary of Year 12

Related imageWow! I have finished my first year of A levels and have completed my AS levels. It’s kind of crazy to be honest, I still have not got use to telling people my A level options. When people ask “What A levels are you doing?” I still have to stop, think about it and then answer. I just feel as if my A level journey has only just begun. What is even more bizarre is the fact that it feels like last week I was deciding what subjects to study. I can easily remember going through all the subjects available and debating on each one. Now I am here!

It’s fair to say the time has gone quickly, even more quickly than I expected it to. It is scary, as this time next year I would have finished the whole of my A levels, finished sixth form and planning what to take to university.

My time in year 12 has been a bit of a whirl wind, I started off hating it! The problem was mainly due to my GCSE results. I came out with a great set of GCSE grades full of A* and A grades, I had a tremendous Summer doing NCS and living life to the full. Then I had a crash landing into reality, once sixth form began. It was a shock to the system, having been out for 2 months going back was a challenge. Nonetheless I didn’t know what to study at A level. Why? Well I hoped my GCSE grades would close some doors for me so to speak, in order to make the decision easier. I didn’t plan on doing quite as well as I did, so when my GCSE results showed I could study any subject I wanted to at A level it didn’t help. I couldn’t make my mind up, but in the end I found myself sticking with Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Psychology.

The first few weeks were a bit of a downward spiral for me and I would find myself breaking down in tears and crying in the early hours of the morning, wishing to go back into year 11. However I did manage to pull through, despite coming seriously close to considering dropping out and going to college to do a vocational course instead. Now I hate to look back at those dark sad times, when people mention it I still shiver a little. I can’t imagine what my life may have come to, if I had given up. The thought that I nearly through all of this away now terrifies me.

Once over my dark beginning to sixth form, I went back after Christmas to do my mock exams. I received AABD something I am not proud of. The D in maths felt like a knife through my heart as once again the tears escaped my eyes. It wasn’t until I got over this set back that I began to re-find my love for my subjects. My passion for biology and chemistry came back and I began to look forward to my lessons. I started to understand the topics better and no longer felt baffled and out of my depth. It took a while, but I got there.

Then I was into my AS level exams, which were a mixed back to say the least. However I am trying not to think about that at the moment as results day looms. That brings me to now in the present day and age. I have started an EPQ at the moment and plan to continue with it over the Summer and finish in year 13. I am beginning to draft my personal statement and prepare my UCAS application for university. I don’t know what the future holds and what subjects I will study next year. I plan to continue with biology and chemistry, but my 3rd subject remains unknown. I will of course keep you updated on my situation as results day (17th August 2017) continues to loom closer!

My University of Cambridge Residential

As a high achieving A-level student from a state school, I have been given the opportunity to take part in a special programme called Higher Education Plus (HE+). The programme is run by the University of Cambridge to encourage potential applicants, from less fortunate backgrounds to apply. Enter me.

The journey to Cambridge included a 5 hour and 30 minute drive on a heavily air-conditioned bus. I ended up sitting next to another girl from a different school, who was hoping to study medicine. I spent most of my journey reading my book, listening to music and staring out of the window. We stopped at a service station for a while and ate popcorn and made use of their WiFi. We had been driving for 5 hours before we saw the first sign for Cambridge, which came as a complete relief. As I got off the bus, I felt a little dozy and drowned by the air conditioning. The bus dropped us off at this gorgeous park and the initial surroundings were fantastic.

We were staying at Trinity Hall College, one of the smaller colleges in Cambridge. On arrival we were rushed straight into the dining hall, as we were running about 1 hour and a half behind schedule. We were given food and not particularly nice food either, I asked for a jacket potato and beans (a fairly standard meal) to find beans were rationed so I had to have some horrible spicy courgette instead. You would think that the top university in the UK could provide you with a simple spud and beans, but apparently not. As we ate we received a quick welcome, which was not very grand and welcoming. The welcome was more of a “I’m just going to talk over the sound of knives and forks” as everyone was eating.

After lunch we headed off to a subject talk, I selected Natural Sciences (Biological Physics). For reference the other sessions available were Archaeology or Linguistics. The talk was held in the “Graham Storey Room”, which was just your typical room to be honest. We were in no grand lecture theatre or anything like that! The talk was tedious as I barely could hear the speaker. It was based on Volvox (algae) and we got to have a look at a sample in a glass bottle. We also got a brief history of the microscope which I thought was quite amusing as on the bus, I was reading about the history of the microscope!

The second talk I attended was Veterinary Medicine, which was much better than the first talk. We looked at horses and the types of movement from gallops to trots to canter etc. We looked at cats and how if you drop a cat from a height it will turn and land on its feet. Although it was ‘medicine’ a lot of the talk was quite physics based and how the cat used angular momentum to turn. I am glad I went for veterinary medicine as I was considering going to Natural Sciences (chemistry) instead. However last minute I heard the chemistry was material science based, which put me off a little. The other talk available was English.

Once our minds had been stretched and our knowledge expanded we got the opportunity to check into our rooms. Trinity Hall had two accommodations open one was a modern block a fifteen minute walk away and the other a traditional on site accommodation room. My group was placed on site in the traditional rooms. My room was massive, it had a fireplace, three chairs and two windows. The room was much bigger than any other university room I have seen elsewhere. However the room was old and a little grubby in places. The door on the wardrobe was broken, meaning the door would not remain closed. The door was half painted in two different colours! The door and the walls were suppose to be a cream colour, but the back of the door had white patches where someone had tried to paint over stains. My desk was surprisingly small, I thought Cambridge students were suppose to study a lot, but obviously not. 😉 I was however pleased with my lovely little vanity kit, that basically included free shower gel, shampoo, soap and cotton buds.

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My room at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge

We then had some spare time, where we just reflected on life and had a chill. I spent most of the time catching up with fellow students who attended the other talks to find out how they went. From what I understood the archaeology talk sounded surprisingly interesting. Once we had a chatter, we then headed back to the dining hall for dinner. Being vegetarian I ended up with a vegetable pasty, which was rather stodgy and you guessed it more courgette! For pudding I tucked into a sharp berry cheesecake:

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Once we had dinned we were taken on a tour of Trinity Hall College itself. We were shown the exterior of the various accommodation, we didn’t go in. We saw the grounds and the garden, which did have some lovely vibrant flowers. We had a quick tour of the college library, which was surprisingly very small. One thing I did notice about the college as a whole was the fact that it seemed a bit dungeon based and attic based as well. A lot of the time I found myself going through tiny archways and down steps into dark dungeon type rooms. We had a browse of the student common room, or what other universities would call the student union. It was of course underground in a dungeon, there was a shabby darts board and a ruined pool table, not splendid and grand. The bar was closed and under refurbishment so we didn’t get a look. The college is river based so we did have a laugh as one of the punts lost its pole in the river!

Our short tour of Trinity Hall was over in less than 15 minutes, it really is a small college. Us girls then decided to hit the town or city as I should say. Some people purchased tourist tops with “Cambridge University” branded on them. I was tempted, however I am already a clothe hoarder, so I managed to restrain myself. We walked around the city and had a look around to get a feel for the area. However the night was drawing in and most of the shops had closed or were closing.  We ended up heading back to the college, once back safety we settled in for the night. It was not the most peaceful and refreshing sleeps of my life, I was woken up at 6 am by the sun beaming into my room. Only to find the worlds biggest spider above me, after that there was no lie in for me.

Breakfast consisted of a cooked English breakfast minus the sausage, bacon and egg…..essentially beans on toast. The toffee flavour yogurt was rather nice though. After reflecting on last nights tour of Cambridge we came up with a plan. We had the option to go back out into Cambridge, but this time visit the other colleges. We desperately wanted to visit Kings College, as we had seen it the previous evening and it looked fabulous. We spoke to the porter who let us in to have a look. Kings College was phenomenal, it was absolutely jaw dropping! I was amazed, this is what I thought Cambridge would be like. I was filed with awe and bewildered by the beauty!

We then headed over to Queens College. I wasn’t a huge fan of Queens and I just could not see myself there. The college had a Tudor type theme and some of the buildings looked as if they were suffering from wood worm, even the modern accommodation looked a little grubby in places. The so called “Mathematical Bridge” is awful. The bridge is not mathematical it is actually called the “wooden bridge”. It was not designed by Issac Newton, who was already dead and buried and there were certainly bolts in it! Not impressed.

We had a look around Corpus Christi College, which did have the most friendly porter by far! The porter man was lovely and you could see excitement in his eyes when we told him we were prospective students. The college seemed nice and a close community feel. We could hear people in the common room playing ping-pong and some Taylor Swift music was playing, so a friendly college. We also viewed St Catherine which did have a grand feel to it, not quite as grand as Kings College but still majestic. After browsing a few other colleges we went back to Trinity Hall to do a personal statement workshop. Most of which we already knew and it was more of a reinforcement than learning. The day continued with lunch. Although hot food was available I went for a cheese sandwich and some fruit. Once lunch had finished we headed back to the court yard to have a group photo before heading off.

There we have it a rather long but somehow brief description of my short stay at the top university in the country. My overall impression was that the buildings were rather grand and the scenery was spectacular, although I didn’t go much on the actual talks by the lecturers. Which is fine as nobody goes to Cambridge to learn anyway! 😉

Two Job Interviews in One Day

Having never had a job interview in my life, I managed to find myself in a situation where I had two job interviews on the same day. So I took a day off from sixth form to attend my two interviews, for two different jobs at two different companies. I thought I would document how I got on in this new chapter of my life:

INTERVIEW ONE

My first interview was for a “Retail Assistant” at a small supermarket on a camp site. I arrived at the interview wearing my smart black/blue dress and polished black shoes. I did my hair nicely and wore a sparkly necklace. I arrived at the venue and got a little lost, to the point I had to go in and ask at another shop for directions. However I had arrived early anyway and made it to the interview on time. I spoke to the lady behind the counter and told her I was there for an interview. She told me that the interviewer was currently busy interviewing someone else, she then gave me a notepad and asked me to walk around the shop and write down my thoughts. I then had to wait 30 MINUTES, yes 30 minutes! My mum had given me a lift in and was waiting outside! I started to stress out a bit as I thought if my interview took 30 minutes as well, she would get worried as I would have been so long! I felt awkward and out of place, I was dressed smartly while the employers there all wore trousers and t-shirts. There were random holiday makers there who were in the shop all wearing shorts and crop tops, while I am hovering around wearing a formal dress and making notes, I just felt out of place. The workers were all much older than me, probably about late twenties. They all got on very well with each other and were singing to the songs on the radio, like a cringe worthy karaoke night and dancing around the isles like lunatics. I just couldn’t imagine myself working there or with the people. I finally got into my interview. The interviewer seemed nice and friendly. My interview lasted less that 5 minutes, which I do not think is a good thing. I could not believe it the person before me was in there for about 40 minutes and I was in and out. The questions I was asked were basically the same as the questions I was asked on the telephone. There was almost no point in interviewing me, I felt that I was interviewed for the sake of it. As if they just wanted to interview me as part of their equality and no discrimination policy. I walked out feeling a little bitter, I didn’t like how I was treated and kept waiting for 30 minutes and then was only given a 5 minute interview. The funny thing about it is the fact that in my interview I was asked “what does good customer service mean?”. Huh. Well good customer service is not keeping people waiting for over half and hour to be served…just saying! 😉

INTERVIEW 2

My second interview of the day was for a “Leisure Assistant” at a holiday park. I arrived on time, wearing my same interview dress from the previous interview. I arrived and introduced myself to the lifeguard who was behind the counter. He seemed very friendly, he told me his name and asked me to grab a seat. Then of course I embarked on another wait, this time for 15 MINUTES. At least I could sit down and watch the kids have fun in the swimming pool. I spoke briefly to the two lifeguards who were trying to juggle soft balls. They were pretty rubbish at it and we had balls hitting the ceiling and flying every where. To the point they managed to throw one in my direction, so I had to throw it back. They asked me if I could juggle, which I now wish I could. The wait seemed to go quicker as I got to giggle at the lifeguards making a fool of them selves! I automatically felt more relaxed and at ease, the workers there looked to be of a similar age. When I say similar I mean maybe a couple years older, but not old. I think I could get on well with the employers there and I would certainly have a laugh. Then I was called into my interview, which I though went much better than the previous one. I even managed to chat about my pugs, a common interest me and the interviewer had. I spoke about my plans to go to university and study a science degree and go into medical research, something which I think impressed her. The interview almost felt like more of a chat. There were a few set out questions, the usual ones about availability and hours. I was told more about the job, which I was happy about as the job description was very vague. The only thing I didn’t find out about was the wages and how much I am going to be paid. The interview lasted about 15 minutes and I handed her a copy of my CV.

Overall two very different interviews and experiences. My first interview was by far the worst. I am quite surprised really as I though the first would be the best, as it is in a supermarket and would be less manic. However I felt out of place there and very odd. The second interview felt much better and I could see myself working there and possibly even enjoying it. I just have to wait now, both places said they would get back to me sometime next week. If I could choose I think I would work in the second place, even if the rate of pay was lower. In my opinion I don’t think I have got the job for the Retail Assistant in the first place, but I guess we will have to wait and see.

Fingers crossed I will get a job at either of the two places….wish me luck!

My first year of blogging

Boom! On this day last year in 2016, I signed up to WordPress and began my online blogging adventure! So as a kind of celebration and refection, I have decided to take the time to look back at my blogging career.

I began blogging this time last year as I had just finished my GCSE exams and was looking for something cool and exciting to do over the Summer. Looking back on it, I realise how far I have come in one year and how much I have grown as an individual.

I have published a grand total of 58 blog post and this will be my 59th. My first ever post was What is NCS? . Wow this time last year I was panicking and worrying about NCS (National Citizens Service). I even wrote a whole series on my blog about NCS, which I believe you can find under the ‘Advice’ section. NCS feels like years ago, the whole adventure week and college week, then the social action project. It all feels like a blur, almost like a distant dream. I believe my NCS: Week 1 is probably my most viewed and loved post out of the whole of my NCS series.

I have done lots of review based posts in my year of blogging. Reviewing all sorts from books (Creative Therapy Book Review) and TV shows (Rich Kids of Instagram Review). I have also done an array of cooking blogs from Lemon Trifle Reciepe to Chocolate and Banana Cake Recipe. I have not posted a cooking post in quite a while actually, I do still cook but now a days I usually go freehand and don’t really follow a recipe as such. Perhaps more cooking blogs should be on the way soon! 😉

Another popular post of mine is Pokemon Go: Conspiracy Theories wow can you remember when Pokemon Go was the whole craze! I never actually played the game myself, but it was very popular at the time.

The most popular post of all time is : GCSE Grade Boundaries I published this post the very day before my GCSE results were released. In case you didn’t know exam boards publish the grade boundaries the day before results day, so I thought I would stress myself out over them and analyse every aspect of the results table. To be honest the stress of GCSEs feels small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, especially now with A-levels.

Then there appears to be a rather huge jump in my life between GCSE and A level. For me this jump was daunting and it was certainly not a smooth landing. After having an epic Summer out doing NCS and receiving a fantastic set of GCSE results, it was fair to say I was on the top of the world, life was good and the future looked promising. Slap. A-levels hit me straight in the face. All of a sudden my perfect world came shattering down around me. Sixth form was tough, I had arguments with my friends and I wanted to give up. I would come home with tears in my eyes and was so upset I could not eat. Yes, it was that bad. So I turned to you guys, my fans, my supporters and my readers. Your help, support and advice came flooding in and I am totally grateful. 🙂

After a rocky start to sixth form, things looked to finally be settling down. Until I took another blow at my AS mock exams it was a bit of a trauma,getting a D grade at A-level maths. Especially after achieving an A* at GCSE maths. However I managed to pull through and carry on with maths.

That brings me up to my very latest posts which are mainly on my university open days. It’s crazy to think this time last year I had literally just finished my GCSEs, then fast forward one year and I am attending university open days. It really is a huge step up. If there is one thing that documenting my year and blogging has taught me is that you should never give up as things will get better. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I had dropped out of sixth form. Everyone needs to grab life with both hands and go for every opportunity they get, just put yourself forward even if you are not sure.

Life is an adventure, so live it!

 

Should you do an EPQ?

At the end of year 12 my sixthform offers all students the opportunity to do an EPQ. If you don’t know what an EPQ is, then let me give you a quick brief. EPQ stands for Extended Project Qualification, it is worth half an A-level (essentially an AS-level). The EPQ is the only AS level qualification you can achieve an A* in. This year I opted to do an EPQ. However I wanted to discuss with you why I chose to do an EPQ and why other people in my year chose not to.

Reasons I chose to do an EPQ:

Lower entry grades to university

Some of the courses I am looking at will offer me lower entry grades if I do an EPQ. To me this seems like a great idea as it will mean I have slightly less pressure when it comes to my final A-level exams. It will also mean I am more likely to meet the entry requirements for university, so in theory stand a higher chance of getting in. Before you ask which universities offer this I can reassure you that well respected universities such as the University of Bristol and University of Birmingham will offer students lower entry grades to particular courses, if they have a grade A in a related EPQ. That brings me onto an important point, all universities I have looked at will only offer a reduction in entry requirements, if the grade in the EPQ is an A.

Personal Statement Stand Out

If you are worried about what you might put on your personal statement, then an EPQ is perfect for you. It will give you something to write about and show that you are capable of independent work and can manage your time effectively. The EPQ is a great way to prove all those skills that you say you have, from presentation skills to written communication. It can also show how passionate you are about a certain subject, which can be very valuable to the admission team.

Interview Material

An EPQ is great to bring up in a university interview. If you get stuck and do not know what to say, or just want to impress the interviewer. You can always go back and discuss your EPQ topic. Many people who write about an EPQ in the personal statement, will have an interview that covers the EPQ work.

Subject Interest

If you have always been interested in medieval fashion, quantum computing or Scandinavian metal work you can freely explore your interest and get a qualification in the process. I think that if you choose a topic you love and enjoy, then the EPQ will not seem like a chore or even work. It can be a great way to get an insight into a potential course you want to study at university.

Those are just a few reasons why I chose to do an EPQ. However not everybody in my year did, so I wanted to discuss why a few people didn’t. One of my friends who wants to study medicine decided against the EPQ. She was saying that medicine heavily focuses on work experience, rather than additional qualifications. Medicine is very much based on grades and she wanted to channel all her time and effort into her A-levels, in order to get the highest grades possible. Therefore she decided that the EPQ was not worth it.

I think an EPQ is important as it shows off your subject interest. It is good to focus on your A-levels and the course content of course. However everybody does the same A-level course and it will not show your commitment and passion about the subject you want to apply for.  That it simply my opinion and why I opted to study for an EPQ.

Let me know about your thoughts and opinions on whether an EPQ is worth it.