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Life after Durham #1

Four years passed by like a breeze and I moved to London to step into a full-time job right after graduation. Going from university to the nine-to-five life did feel like such a drastic change – wait, am I not supposed to work after getting back home, and weekends are actually free – and the thought of actually getting paid for all the hard work honestly feels really, really great.

Jokes apart, I consider myself, in all seriousness, very fortunate to attain a job I have always aspired for, in one of the most exuberant cities in the world. I started at Deutsche Bank as a software engineer about 6 months ago following a summer internship the year before. My role involves rotating through different teams on different projects for a year. While my work clearly involves the application of a lot of things I learnt in the lecture halls, building with technology is very different from what we played around with at university. University teaches you how to build a technological creation, while a professional software development team teaches you how to build it properly, following an elaborate development cycle and rigorous quality standards. Working in such an environment opens up a treasure box of tools and technologies pretty much unattainable beyond the team or the organisation and this very gamut of ever-changing paraphernalia give us the opportunity to experiment and play around in safe sandboxes. Another noteworthy distinction is that I would explore a dozen different areas of technology as an undergraduate while working professionally entails exploring a few concepts in greater depth.

But that being said, I honestly do not feel that the dynamics of balancing work, tantamount to the erstwhile studies, with extracurriculars, have changed much. I still find myself attending talks and workshops, playing sports and volunteering with school kids – all of which have always been key elements of a wholesome experience at university or work. Whilst my time at Durham helped me discover causes I genuinely care about which have led me to more formal involvement in mentorship programmes and getting formally trained and inducted as a Mental Health First Aider. My love for languages and writing continues to thrive as a member of Toastmasters, a prominent international body focused on public speaking, communication and leadership skills in a very friendly and light environment. Another thing that remains the same is the environment of support and mentorship I receive from my seniors and the very diverse batch of fellow graduates, indispensable to keep me motivated and positive and the very reason I chose to return to the firm.

So I would not be wrong if I say that honestly, not much has changed ever since I graduated from Durham, which has been the reason for my seamless transition – of course, my summer stint in the city and the corporate life had already given me a sneak-peek and was helpful too! But yes, starting work has left more time and money at my disposal, which I have been spending exploring the city and its landmarks, exhibitions, iconic museums, quirky stores, theatre, walking tours and much more! Honestly, the best part of being in London is that eventually, so many people pass by, if not settle in, this city and I have ended up forming new friendships with people not because I have a similar path as them to tread in the future like we all did when we first came to Durham, but because we had the same journey in the past – having walked through the streets of Durham! 

I am returning to Durham this week, on Wednesday 5 February 2020, 3-5 pm in TLC033Durham University Women in Business are hosting an event, Women in Tech.

I am excited to join the interactive panel discussion and workshop where we aim to demystify ‘Tech’ as a buzzword: how it is changing the face of finance, law and science, and the impact this will have on women now and in the future. View more information and register for this FREE event here.

Soumya Singh

Recent graduate and blogger for the University, I studied Computer Science at St Hild & St Bede, originally from India. Always seeking new experiences, yet passionate about technology, languages and badminton - I am now a Software Engineer in London and currently teaching the world new languages as a Duolingo course creator.
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