A friend of mine, Rupa Patel, died this week from meningitis. She was 24.
I feel utterly wretched about this. Will you forgive me, blog readers, for writing about it?
Rupa was a lovely, sunny, kind person with so much enthusiasm for life. Everyone trots out these cliches but in Rupa's case they really were true.
After we graduated, Rupa asked me to review her CV which I gladly did. Frankly, it didn't read well. Nothing like the real Rupa, who was so fun and vivacious and natural. It was full of management speak, trying to sound professional, trying to sound as though she was someone else. The thing is, Rupa didn’t need to be anyone else.
In one hilarious example, Rupe wrote this under Interests and Activities:
In my spare time I like solving brainteasers, and other mentally stimulating word and numerical problems.
To which I wrote:
Do you really? Is that true? I am not sure how I feel about this. It sounds a bit weird!
I still to this day cannot imagine Rupa solving brainteasers, she was FAR more likely to be chatting animatedly with someone about psychology or the latest gossip in the pub, but there you are.
After the CV was finished I wrote this:
Overall, I think you should think about your core strengths. What are they? What are you really interested in? What are you like as a person? Your strengths – the real Rupa – are the things I would be really interested in as an employer. They are the reasons why I would employ you. So they should be the theme of the CV.
To help you, here are some of your strengths I have observed: bright, conscientiousness, funny (ha ha not weird), friendly, great teamworker, responsible, organised (very), fun to work with, willing to learn, highly capable, interested in psychology, ambitious, presentable and reliable (you’re always the first to respond to my e-mails), enthusiastic, intelligent. THIS STUFF DOESN’T COME OUT IN THIS CV.
Of course, Rupa didn’t need my advice really and she soon landed an excellent job. But there is something in what I wrote that consoles me a little bit. I hope she believed me when I said these things. I hope she felt good when she read them. And I hope she felt some confidence as she went out into the brave new world knowing that the people she met really did think she was amazing.
And at least I said them... So often I don’t.
Rupa, you will be missed terribly and my heart goes out to your family and friends.
Everyone at Bloom Psychology and The Career Psychologist will remember you, and we will do our best to honour you in the work we do.