From the Classroom to the Boardroom
By Maria Sandu on Sep 11, 2012
Pens and Paper...these are the only things being a student and being a graduate / professional have in common.
Walking in to the offices of Oracle South Africa as a graduate the first thing you notice is how polished and sleek all the people who work here look. 80% of the ladies wear sky-scraper heels and walk with the greatest grace. This was the first of many rude awakenings to remind me that I am no longer a student but a graduate.
My first struggle was having to wake up at wee hours of the morning to prepare for work. As a student going to class was almost an optional thing, if you missed a morning class you could always attend an evening class to make up for it or simply attend with another group. But in the workplace, you HAVE to show up every single morning at the same time, with no option of coming in when it suits you and there is definitely no coming in with the evening class/shift. As a student, the earliest hour I ever woke up was 7:00am, anything earlier than that was considered inhumane torture. My reason for waking up every morning as a student was “you have a degree to go get” but as a graduate having to go to work I have to say to myself “here’s to a new day of learning and growing”.
My second struggle has come in having to change my beloved wardrobe. Everyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about fashion and shopping. For me Shopping is a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT, that should not be messed with. Therefore it was with great sadness that I swopped my rippled skinny jeans for pin-striped formal pants, my long chandelier earrings for simple studs, my flat shoes for heels, my sheer blouses for crisp white shirts, even my beloved wild hair had to make way for a simple ponytail. Our looks as ladies also came under great scrutiny, we had to acquaint ourselves with some serious grooming tools: the mascara, blush, lip-gloss, blush, a touch of lipstick and a manicure set.
Language was a struggle of its own as well. Being a student you learn to relate to your peers in a informal way. In the workplace you have to address everyone with the same respect, including your peers. Words like “Hey buddy” had to make way for “good morning friend”.
The month long winter school holiday was one of the things I looked forward to as a student. This was a time where we got to be at home and avoid the coldest month of the year, July. It was the most amazing thing ever, just sleeping and snuggling up to all sorts of warm things but sadly it is now a thing of the past. It is currently winter in South Africa and going to work has become the most unfashionable thing with all the jackets, boots, scarves and gloves. But summer is coming and I will miss those holidays too. As a student the school holidays were like a gift for us to catch a break and not think for a while which was why it was imaginable how someone would go on for the entire year without a break, with only the promise of a mere 21 days annual leave!! Right now I am sure we are all looking forward to taking that annual leave when the time is right.
The worst rude awakening I must say, has to be presenting in front of clients and managers. As a student you have the same class mates for almost four years therefore presenting in front of them becomes the norm over the years and your lecturer will always go gently on you. What they don’t tell you at University is that in the real world, time is money and clients pay money to see you present therefore there is no room for error. Clients are not there to give you a score and boost your ego, they expect nothing less than 100% and they will let you know without a second thought. For a graduate this can feel like you are being fed to the sharks, you either get eaten or you swim for your life.
At the end of the day, it is all an experience that is meant to groom us into better professional and make us a part of the Red Team. All the sacrifices are worth it and they lead us to being better and more polished professionals.
So if you are interested in joining the ECEMEA Sales and Presales Internship Programme, please have a look at http://campus.oracle.com for more information and for our latest vacancies and internships.