“The future depends on what you do today.”
Progression through life always requires change and spur of the moment decisions, there’s no way around that. The basis of this statement is what encouraged me to start on this Internship. My current degree and hopefully my future career is completely technology based, but when you focus so much on that side, on the side of technological advancement you start to lose focus on your other skills as a human, namely communication and a variety of social skills. I didn’t want to spend all summer on another internship sat behind a computer with no other real way to progress the other skills that can always be viewed as some of the most important in life.
After viewing the job description and person specification for this newly created Student Intern role, it seemed like such a pivotal opportunity for change, to be able to build upon my skills. One of the duties within the Internship was to “work collaboratively across the team with fellow students” and that seemed to be the best way for me to improve my communication skills. Even at the time of applying to the internship the idea of being thrown into calls and meetings was daunting! But to truly create change you need to face those struggles, you have to fight off that which scares you.
The application process consisted of mainly describing yourself, your current degree, times when you’ve faced hardships and faced defeat but still prevailed, and why you want to take part in this new initiative. It was different to anything I’ve ever done before. I’ve only had one job in the past, which was purely customer based and most of the time I would be working independently. So this internship seemed like a challenge. After filling in this stage of the application, I received an invite to an interview (I think anyone who’s ever had a job can agree interviews are the scariest thing on the planet.) I had no idea what to expect and sometimes that’s the best thing, going into something with no expectations because then in a way you can face anything.
Straight after the interview I realized there was no reason for me to be scared. The interview room consisted of me and 3 members of staff and it was played out as more of a dialogue between us. For example, questions were asked regarding my experience and how I have dealt with certain situations in the past. Overall the interview, which was what I thought was going to be the scariest part of the whole thing, turned out to be the easiest. I had no idea how well I did and it was hard to judge myself.
There was then a short gap between hearing back about my application being successful and starting the Internship – it was a perfect amount of time to be prepared. I was delighted to be chosen for such an opportunity, to not only help future students and to further develop my skills, but to do so at the University I am currently studying at and to be able to see the impact of those changes.
On the first day, I joined a link to a meeting, not knowing what anyone would be like or what the environment would be like. But I was met with 40 other people in the same situation. That first day mainly consisted of getting to grips with the Internship, what a typical day would be like and what would we actually be doing in the forthcoming months.
Of course, what would the first day of any sort of job or course be like without the typical ice-breaker activities. But I must say, the activities that took place on this first day were completely different to what you might expect! It was scary being put in a smaller breakout rooms and actually having to talk for the first time on that day, but I had to remember when I was in that room that everyone there would be feeling the exact same as me!
The first activity was a “Get to know each other” kind of talk. It was so much easier to introduce myself to 3 or 4 other people than 40 other people. The other activity is what really homed in the fact that the internship would be different to anything else I might’ve chosen to apply for over this summer. It was to choose 3 celebrities, dead or alive, to have the ideal dinner party with. My group came up with: Gordon Ramsay, Shakespeare and Russell Howard. (Gordon Ramsay was the only one I was a bit hit or miss with – I would love his cooking but there was always the high chance of him throwing something at me.)
After that first day, it was like I was a completely different person, all of my worries and doubts about how the Internship would go had vanished. The rest of this week was based around building up on our current digital skills. I like to think that I understand technology, but this week really made me realize that there was so much I didn’t know! Even if the internship was just one week long I would have taken away so much! But the fact that I would still have 11 more weeks left made me excited to carry on forward! There isn’t anything I would change about this first week! All of the fellow Student Interns and staff I encountered and worked with couldn’t have been more engaging and supportive with my learning and development.
At the time of writing this blog, I’m currently at the end of the second week. As of now I’ve been allocated to the department I’m going to be working with for the rest of the Internship and it definitely feels different from the first week. I’ve gone from working with 40 people to working with 2 others. I’ve been placed in the Faculty of Health and Social Care under the Nurse Education and Midwifery department. I’m super excited to be working through the rest of the Internship and to see how my digital skills and interpersonal skills develop.
I would suggest to anyone wondering what to do in the future, to find what resonates with them. No decision you make is going to be final! I would urge others to look for new and exciting opportunities that may feel at first different and challenging – apply for new jobs, apply for internships and just do what makes you happy in life and what’s going to help you turn into the person you want to be.
Liam Boyd (Student Intern)