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Hello Stranger,

I feel like it’s been an eternity since I last wrote an article so today it will be a long one as I will walk you through this amazing experience, even if it's quite detailed.

Apologies, life has been hectic and I have missed you all!

I am so happy to share that this awesome community has reached now over 8,000 people!

Thank you for everything, you all have had a major positive impact on my life and I will always be grateful!

Hope life has been treating you well.

I am honestly exhausted because the last couple of months have been intense and overwhelming.

I was starting to feel down frequently, wondering if I made the right decisions.

The worst part of all is that I started feeling like I am relying too much on others, causing not only a lot of problems but also feeling like I can’t do things for myself.

I had the urge to write far too many times but I’ve made a promise to myself to write when I can see things clearly, not when my emotions take over.

Body dysmorphia is also back making me feel in ways I hoped I’ll never feel again.

This is probably the most vicious cycle, allowing the way you look to affect the way you see yourself.

However, I am doing better, and this is not a sad article. It’s merely a reflection of how things were before everything changed out of the blue.

So let’s start sharing some good news.

First of all, in June I participated in my first hackathon and while I felt entirely underprepared and time pressured with many deadlines, it was a fun experience.

Besides, I had an online internship, it wasn’t a big deal but still counts.

I also found a company that helps if you are interested in apprenticeships, I kept putting off completing my profile until July because I was busy having interviews with some companies that gave me bad vibes. Eventually, it made me realise that they want someone they can overwork and underpay. Happy I dodged that bullet.

I was starting to feel like I am making no progress despite studying every single day, most of the day. Truly pushing myself to cover so much in a very short period of time.

I know, not the right way, however requirements even for entry-level positions are just crazy.

Next week I am finishing the nanodegree (I will share soon), and I also have the deadline for my first freelance project.

I tried to squeeze in some time to write because I know it’s been far too long!

Story time now!

So, after having a meltdown because I was feeling like a fraud, I decided to complete my profile with this company which took me two days. I had to include some personal statements, work experience, studies and grades, as well as all my certificates, plus a video talking about my motivation for software engineering.

After that, I had a phone interview with someone from the company so they could see if this is truly something I want to pursue. They decided that my answers were great, and my profile was now live and I was able to apply to different apprenticeships.

So, this company is basically the apprenticeship/degree apprenticeship provider, and different companies find apprentices through them which they will train afterwards.

They work directly with companies, and they help with assessment days and interview preparation.

I applied to a few of them, first my profile and application would be reviewed by the apprenticeship provider to decide if it’s good enough for the company that is hiring.

If they decide to move forward with your application, then next it will be reviewed by the hiring company. Once again, if they want to continue with you, you will get an invitation to attend an assessment day.

In less than two weeks after applying, three big companies already wanted to invite me to have an interview, however the fastest one (which was also my top choice company) announced the date, and I had around ten days to think if I can attend or not.

Why am I saying that I had to think? Well, because it was an assessment day in London...

At the moment, I live somewhere in the Northern England, planning a train journey that will take hours in such a short notice is very expensive. Arguably, more expensive than plane tickets.

I almost said no to the entire experience because of this, I shared with the apprenticeship provider and they told me that the company really wants me there as I am one of the few people they shortlisted out of over 100 applicants.

I told them that while I am willing to relocate if successful, just traveling in a couple of days for so long is not exactly something that I can do financially.

As this hiring company deals with transport, the person in charge of the assessment day from the apprenticeship told me that perhaps the company might pay for my travels.

Not even five minutes later and I got called back with the confirmation that the company will indeed cover all the costs, they just need me to tell them where I need to depart from, hours, etc.

A couple of days later the tickets were delivered to me.

Frankly I was very impressed by how considerate, fast and responsive they were.

Paying for my travels when I was merely a prospective employee, it does say a lot about the type of company they are.

On the interview day, I had to wake up at 6 am, I already did not sleep much because I was in a lot of pain thanks to monthly excruciating cramps, I was also quite nervous and I knew it would take me around five hours to get to London.

Of course I wanted to walk to get to the train station, which took me almost one hour because I forgot how damn hard it is to walk wearing a dress when you have curves and it keeps going up every few minutes…

The main entrance of the train station was being renovated, and of course google maps was not showing an alternative, so I had to ask people on the street and then run.

I got there five minutes before the train arrived (my luck, please!).

Somehow the journey was faster than it was supposed to so I decided to walk to the office to kill some time.

Again it took me longer than expected, approximatively an hour and it was so hot that day, while I was wearing all black.

I could feel my knees getting swollen and hurting, my feet were burning from the flats, and I was just hoping I would not get more killer cramps.

I stopped and decided to get a coffee and something to eat, however I was hoping to use the restroom and try to put some makeup on.

I did not see the point of doing that on the train because it was a long journey, and I did not want to have to reapply several times before the interview to look decent.

Once again, my luck struck me as the restroom was out of order.

After my coffee, I just walked a bit more and found the office.

A huge and fancy building, and me going in with a bare face asking if this is where the assessment day is. I had to go up, this time it was the company reception and confirm my presence.

Quickly used the restroom to put some make-up on and style my hair after I had it in a braid.

Don’t judge me, I only know how to be too formal for interviews and this was my first time in years having a face-to-face interview that was somehow supposed to be smart casual, and I don't really know how to be casual.

To be fair, I was pleased with how great my skin was, considering the unfortunate events, I was just glowing.

I tried to prepare two days before my interview, they told us about the stages and what we should try to prepare for a presentation.

Of course I tried to answer some behavioural and situational questions, my answers were well-prepared but I had to keep in mind other possible random ones, because I don’t like surprises.

The second stage was a group task, and the third one a presentation about an innovation that can help the company (they gave us some examples so I chose one that I found the most interesting).

At first it felt strange because I was the only girl, surrounded by guys.

Later another girl joined, but still two girls versus six guys and this was only the afternoon interview.

We were distributed randomly, and while some people had the individual interview, I started with my group task. I worked with two guys to organise an event for the company to attract investors and we had to plan according to the bullet points.

We had ten minutes to prepare, five minutes to present, and then some questions.

Now, this is not the type of exercise where they care if you can organise an event or not, they do care about how you work and communicate with a team.

It was pretty entertaining although this was the stage I was most scared of for some reason.

While the guys tried to talk over me several times, I know how to work with people and how to stand out.

After that I had my individual interview, everyone knew I travelled for hours to get there including the person who interviewed me for this stage, and they were very pleased and surprised that I came. There were many random questions that took me by surprise but she was very impressed with my answers and also my previous work experience and skills, it did not feel like an interview so I was quite relaxed.

Last, I had my presentation. I decided to talk about artificial intelligence and self-learning bots.

I initially had a short introduction of what this means, and then why I chose to talk about this, and what type of problems it could solve for both the company and customers.

This lasted around half an hour, I was asked many questions after I presented, and then I asked my questions as well. The interviewer was impressed that I did not just think about how it could help customers, but also how it could help the company solve several issues. I guess I was very thorough with my presentation.

For two interview stages I pretty much received immediate feedback that I am doing really well.

The entire assessment day lasted around three hours. I was interviewed by three different people, two of them being software engineers. We also had a Q&A session with current apprentices and it was great to ask more questions.

They offered us a goodie bag, and also there was a whole buffet and drinks available for us. Frankly, I entirely forgot to drink and eat, and I was starting to feel really tired yet I performed so well. I was worried I don't remember how to be sociable and how to make small talk with strangers.

Once the interview was over, they told me to take some food and drinks with me as they knew I had the train journey back immediately after. I thanked them for helping me to get there and told them that I had an awesome experience.

We were told that the company will decide in a week, however I had a good feeling about it.

Not even two days later, I got a phone call.

I was asked for feedback about how I found the interview, and then I was told that the company wants to share their feedback about me and my performance.

I got a bit nervous but turns out I was the only candidate who scored the maximum with all three stages, 56/56. Needless to say, the offered me the job and I accepted it!

The best part of this apprenticeship is that while having coding experience was a requirement to even apply, they will train you again from scratch. The apprenticeship starts with a 3-month full time coding bootcamp, then continues with 15 months of training, and after successful completion you are offered a permanent position.

I am so damn excited, as I mentioned this was the company I wanted the most and it's a multinational corporation. I cannot believe I am starting my journey as a software engineer with such a great company and I am starting next month, and this after eight months of self-learning!

I could have probably made it happen faster, but I was so focused on leaving the U.K., that avoided anything. However, sometimes things don't happen the way you want them to, and maybe there is a reason for that.

This salary is higher than most apprenticeships and even many junior positions, it will only get better from now on!

I am unbelievably proud of myself, I knew I did great during the assessment day but I did not expect a perfect score with everything! I have exceeded my own expectations!

I can stay 2-3 more months where I am now as the bootcamp is online, but I will have to relocate to London after. I am not looking forward to being back there, but I do hope that this time I will be able to create some great memories. It is truly my new beginning!

Sometimes, all it takes is someone who can see your potential and give you a chance.

My interview was on August 1st, which marked 4 years since I moved to the U.K., I was so young, broke, and completely alone. I think it’s only fitting that now I will remember that day for something else, the day I can say I finally made it.

Months ago my mother said to me that I should not return to the U.K. because I don’t have a life here and I have only struggled, and I haven’t done much with my life because I dropped out of university, I have changed quite a few jobs, and my future is full of uncertainties.

She also really doubted that I would make it into tech, thinking that what I am learning is not enough, and that I am not made for this industry. Even relatives mocked me, and tried to belittle me.

The same people who have never had the courage to take a risk, they never had to solve their problems alone, they never even left their small town thought that they have any kind of right to talk about my life.

I have a strong memory, I remember what people said to me, how they said it, but most importantly how they made me feel.

I have lost count of the amount of times I wanted to give up since I moved here.

I only relied on myself, I worked for crappy companies that drained me, worked with people that abused their powers to torment me, bully me, and even threaten to get me fired for trying to speak up.

Then I was made redundant, stuck here without an income for months, found a job as an au pair that was paying peanuts but I had to take it because I was desperate, ended up with debt that I'm almost done repaying, PTSD and chronic insomnia, and then lost that job too.

Months later, my brain could not even make any rational decisions because I was too scared and sleep deprived, so something else happened and it still haunts me even over a year later. I lost money I worked so hard to save, putting me in jeopardy once again.

Money can’t buy happiness but it certainly helps not having to worry every day if you can afford rent, bills, and even food. Money can give you stability, and it can definitely take many worries away. If I was thriving financially, I am sure I’d have had my knee surgery done by now as well because it seems like your health problems are taken seriously if you can afford paying more.

Some people looked down on me because I was financially struggling, even treated me as charity.

Now it’s my time to shine, and prove that you can raise from ashes and turn your life into an empire.

I dealt with racism and discrimination that came from someone I used to respect, someone who used to tell me that I am not strong enough to deal with problems and I need additional support.

I mean, this person even said that I am coming from a third world country and my people only come here to do the low jobs that nobody else wants to do, plus mocked those people for not being able to speak English properly. If you are a foreigner who has never been to a particular country or another country in general, you have no right to try to trash it. It’s not only wrong but disrespectful, especially in front of someone who is from that country.

It's my right to say whatever I want about my country, I can vent, and I can trash it too.

It made me realise once again, that many people don’t deserve my kindness. They don’t deserve me!

I stopped acting like I don’t see the red flags and finally accepted that those were the true colours of that person. That’s the moment I stopped looking back.

People always think that I am so kind and nice, so they take me for granted.

I give many chances but when I am done, I don’t turn the page, I burn the damn book!

My mom calls it drastic as I have done it with relatives as well, I told her that it’s a matter of self-respect.

Yeah, I struggled to establish boundaries at first, I didn’t speak up, I was a people pleaser, but we all have a limit and I have reached mine. I deserve better than being surrounded by people who want to see me down and they try to suck the life out of me.

The moment that I detach myself, it’s game over and there is no going back!

It hurt me, it made me so angry, and I decided that no matter what life throws at me I will only get stronger, and I will make sure that I build the life of my dreams, the life that nobody else can take away from me!

Every time I showed my potential growing up, people tried to put me down and cut my wings.

In fact, they did cut those wings, they made me feel like I am not beautiful, I am not smart, and I am not capable or even enough. They filled my mind with self-doubt and self-hatred until I started believing it myself. It has considerably slowed me down with everything because I was second guessing myself all the time.

I made so many mistakes that I regret, and they impacted my life so much!

Life has slapped me so many times, and I felt like no matter what I do, things will never get better for me.

I guess it felt like a curse, like it was never meant to be for me to have a happy ending.

However, maybe those lessons, no matter how unbearably painful, were actually meant to wake me up so that I could start seeing reality with a pair of eyes that are not influenced by others.

There were far too many moments when I could not see a light at the end of the tunnel, when life felt meaningless and I felt powerless. Fear used to be something I experienced daily…

Too many moments when I wanted to say f*ck this, I am done being kind!

These kind of experiences could easily turn someone into a villain, and I did feel that darkness trying to pull me towards it.

When you are in so much pain, kindness does not come naturally, not easily at least.

I made the choice to remain kind, and somehow all that pain changed me because I decided to use it to become a better person.

Letting your anger take over is easy, but every action has consequences.

There is always a price to pay, so when life puts you in a difficult position, ask yourself “Is this price really worth paying?”, use it as a guidance and I promise that it will change your life!

It might not happen immediately, but it will be worth it!

I can finally say that after four years of intense struggles, I can see my future going in a great direction!

So many wounds that are finally starting to heal, every day I see all the scars that nobody else can see. Those are the same scars that made me the person I am today.

I am so glad I did not give up and I kept going because my hard work and determination are finally paying off now.

Always remember that you should start believing in your potential more, you have the ability to change your life and achieve all your dreams!

Don’t compare yourself to others, it doesn’t matter if it takes you longer to achieve those goals, you will get there!

You don’t need anyone’s approval and validation, you are stronger than you think and I believe in you!

Your light starts shining when you stop doing things for others, and you start putting yourself first!

You control your actions and your actions control your future!

Choose wisely and please choose to be kind because the world is filled with darkness already…

I want to thank you for all your kind words and good wishes, you never stopped believing in me!

Please take care of yourself!

Today's song:

Virtual hugs!

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