If my estimates are right, 12 months ago I was sitting in the library, trying to figure out the probability of failing my economics exam. More and less at the same time, the news about my one-year-older colleague, Courtney Gill, winning the Female Undergraduate of the Year Award, was updated on the department’s website. Just out of curiosity, to make my procrastination a little bit more useful, I signed up for the TARGETjobs mailing list to get a reminder when the application process opens. If anyone told me then that I will see myself in the picture in a year, I would probably start laughing. But here I am! Paradoxically, I have never met Courtney in person even though we study in the same department. But I would like to say a massive thank you for inspiring me to give it a go. And I want to encourage anyone with any doubts to do the same – just because you never know.
In the beginning of the second term I got a terrible cold, and did not cure it properly because of the amount of work and extracurricular activities I had taken up. I ended up in my bed with pneumonia, unable to do anything just because I wanted to do everything. It is probably another important lesson I learnt this year. However, having taken a step back, I slowly came back to life… and my mail box. When I got a final reminder about the award’s applications, something told me that this is a thing worth putting some effort into. The online application went quite smoothly, as well as few tests that followed. I almost forgot about it, when after a couple of weeks I got a message that… I am going to Derby! I have to admit that I had no idea what to expect from the two-days assessment at Rolls-Royce. But meeting with senior representatives, fellow students from all around the UK, and having an unusual opportunity to visit the test beds seemed extremely exciting.
Even though I am not studying an engineering-related course, I am very much interested in new technologies and innovation. However, I would never expect myself finding engines so interesting! I learnt a lot over the weekend at Derby, but I also met wonderful people. I had an impression that after two days, for all 15 of us, who took part in the assessments, it seemed like we had known each other for ages. Such a friendly atmosphere was extremely helpful during the assessments we had to go through.
Of course, I did my best during each test, exercise or interview I had. However for some reason I assumed that small mistakes I thought I had made simply ruled me out from the group of possible winners. I was already over the moon when I received an invitation for the final ceremony in Canary Wharf, and I genuinely did not expect anything else. I was happy to see again the lucky 10 that I had met in Derby, as well as Rolls-Royce people and representatives of other 11 companies, sponsoring the awards. By the end of the dinner all finalists started to feel a little bit nervous and soon the first winners were announced. After the ceremony I got a couple of funny comments about my face expression when Eric Shulz read out my name from the stage. It probably pictures very well the state of shock that I was in. Today, after a couple of days from the final I still cannot believe it all, but most importantly I am extremely happy and honoured. It means a lot to me that there are so many kind responses to the news from everyone in Cambridge and my friends back in Poland. And of course I am very much looking forward to my summer internship at Rolls-Royce! I will try to post regularly about my preparations, travel, and, of course, my time at the company.