The first thing we discussed in our meeting was logistics - the frequency of our communications and the form that this would take. Setting out both of our availability from the outset made planning much easier, and we agreed to email at least once a week and organised that our initial few meetings would be via skype before hopefully meeting in person.
After this, Alexandra asked me what I would like to gain from the experience. My answer was some career advice as I'm not entirely sure what I would like to go onto after my degree, some help with applications for jobs or opportunities, and we discussed how she could help me get some work experience. From this we discussed internships, the importance of making contacts and staying in touch with those contacts, coming up with shared goals of creating a CV covering letter, getting interview practise and covering the next steps after my degree.
Our next topic was strengths and weaknesses, thinking about what yours are on the spot is really difficult as I found out (!) but we came up with the following list:
- Ability to take chances
- Social life
The reason for listing these was revealed...it was time to take a personality test. Gulp. We took the test at the same time, 128 questions, not thinking too hard on the answers just ticking the first box that came to mind and moving on to the next one. The summary of results at the end was pretty intense, but broken down it was explained that scores for each section between 4 and 7 were average, 1-3 and 8-10 more severe. We went through the results, discussing the low scores against the previously listed strength and weaknesses. My low scores came in 'confidence' and 'social ability' - something which Alexandra explained going to events and networking would help to improve, 'worrying' - which can be helped in exam situations for example, by working on things like exam techniques.
At this point we had been chatting about so many things we were running over time, so to round up our first meeting Alexandra asked me about my possible career paths...I have to admit astronaut was still at the top of the list, but engineering, robots and computer science are also ideas floating around my head as they are practical, hands on careers and would hopefully also bring with them lots of opportunities to travel.
Our final topic was what we were going to prepare and research for next time: to think about and look for events to attend together, what type etc. She also asked me to send over my CV to take a look at, which sounded great to me.
All in all it was a fantastic meeting, I'm really looking forward to working with Alexandra over the coming months and would like to thank Stemettes once more for this amazing opportunity!