It’s been 162 days since I started my PULSE journey. What have I learned? As my assignment is coming to an end, here are my top 5 tips for those who applied or are thinking about applying to the 2019 cycle.
1. Be adaptable: have an open mind. You will be new to the work pace and culture of your team. Your assigned project may change one or several times. The tasks you are given may feel too simple or too complex. Keep the communication lines open and adjust to the changing needs of your host NGO.
2. Be humble: regardless of your previous work experience, you will likely feel lost at the beginning of your assignment. The unfamiliar environment will make you aware of just how little you know and how much you will have to learn in a brief period of time. Seek support from your new colleagues, do your research, ask questions, and listen attentively.
3. Be willing to learn: keep a positive attitude and embrace every day as an opportunity to learn. Be it technical concepts, cultural aspects, or plain general knowledge, be confident that these 6 months will be incredibly enriching for you. More learning equals more significant personal and professional growth before heading back to GSK.
4. Develop a support network: you will go through a whirlwind of emotions during your assignment. At some point, you may feel lonely, confused, or frustrated. Your support network of fellow PULSE volunteers, family, and colleagues will be your go-to people when you feel you need a boost. Stay strong and keep focused.
5. Seize the day: it feels like only yesterday I was finishing up my PULSE application essays. A busy year of interviews, handover, orientation, onboarding, learning, delivering, and now preparing for re-entry. It will be over before you know it, so enjoy every step of the way and make every moment count!
Best of luck to all applicants and congratulations on taking the first step towards this incredible experience!