Alosra’s E-commerce in-charge, May Taqi talks about her volunteering experience
I remember that when I graduated high school, all I could think about was how I was finally going to get away and never look back. After going through college life and being immersed in the working world, I now see things differently.
I graduated high school eight years ago and it really doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. I was fortunate enough to be approached by Injaz, a volunteering organization in Bahrain that thrives in educating students in all age levels about various different industries. Injaz offered me a volunteer job to teach 10th grade students, a program called ‘It’s My Future’, at the high school I was once at. With no hesitation, I agreed to do it. I truly wanted to give back to the school that formed me into who I am today. I now realise how my school prepared me, for not only college, but also the working environment. The Injaz programs are formed by an organisation in America called Junior Achievement (JA).
The aim of ‘It’s My Future’ is to prepare students for the working world. It provides students with practical information while exploring potential careers. The program was 6 sessions that focused on: My Brand, Career Clusters, High-growth Careers, Career Mapping, On the Hunt, and How to Keep (or Lose) a Job. Each lesson was a learning curve, not only for the students but for myself, as well. I remembered what it felt like to be in their shoes where so many things are uncertain at the age of 16. They were very keen on hearing about my experience as someone who was once in their place and the journey I went through in college and how I landed my job here in E-commerce. The students were tasked to think about who they are as individuals and what type of industry would suit their likes and their skills. They were very interested in the career path that I’ve taken, and it was important for me to show the students that reaching out from the conventional “banking” job in Bahrain is truly the way to go in this day and age.
One of the high-growth careers we discussed is in technology and how it plays a big role in the way businesses operate today. They learned how to plan out their careers and how to conduct themselves in a job interview. Sharing my personal experiences really helped them see what it’s really like out there. This was by far my favorite session because I had hung up 5 posters around the classroom that touched upon the different stages of getting a job interview and being hired. The students had a list of 20 questions where the answers lied within those 5 posters. The team with all the answers correct would win a prize. The students took this exercise very seriously and the first group was awarded with iTunes gift cards. You can bet that these teenagers were stoked to get those as gifts!
The students stepped away from the program having clarity in what classes they were going to choose next year, what college they would likely end up in, what major they would specialise in, and ultimately what industry they would plan to work in. I stressed on the fact that getting your foot in the door, even at a young age, is really beneficial to getting hired later on. I interned every summer I was home from college, and that played a big role in me deciding where I eventually wanted to end up working. These programs weren’t around when I was in school, so being a part of a program that opens up the students’ minds to what lies ahead is truly a benefit not many people would get the chance to have.
Injaz runs programs yearly that range from career planning, entrepreneurship, and personal finance, to name a few. If anyone is interested in conducting similar volunteer work, I’d be happy to pass you on to the Injaz personnel!