BUIP: Welcome to Welcome Week

Earlier this year, I came across an advert on Worklink for the Web Project Assistant Internship in Academic Services – a role which involved the coordination of content uploading for the Welcome Week timetable. Having experience in content creation, web editing and publishing and eager to develop those skills even further, I submitted my application and waited to hear back. A couple of months later, having revised the job description, I nervously attended my interview (which I had to reschedule because I was on holiday – oops!) and subsequently received the job offer. Even then, having read the job description and survived the interview stage, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the role or even entirely sure about what I would be doing.

Therefore, on my first day of work, I was immediately overwhelmed with the amount of work that I was being asked to do over the next eight weeks. First, I was introduced to the Academic Services Operations Team and given a tour of the offices in Ash House, before being set loose to get to work on what seemed like an incredibly scary task: to gather data on all 2469 courses offered by the University, break them up into colleges, schools and degree level and provide these lists to contacts in each department.

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It was at this point that I realised the amount of planning that goes into Welcome Week. When I joined the University two years ago, I remember being overwhelmed with the number of events open to me as a new student and having to scrutinise every option to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything important or trying to fit more hours into the day. A huge number of people are involved, from each individual college to the staff at the Munrow Centre, from the Guild of Students to the Library staff. It’s an enormous task for a new student but, behind-the-scenes, it’s even bigger. This internship has reminded me that every student at the university has a different experience.

My primary responsibility has been to send out information and help colleges and departments to upload their Welcome Week events for the online timetable. And, ultimately, I look through the uploaded pages and approve them for the website. Although I have experience in publishing, knowing that I am the last person to check through a webpage before it gets posted to the website can be quite daunting. I’ve also attended the Welcome Operations Task Group, where I’ve reported on the progress I’ve made and if I’ve had any problems along the way.

The independence that this internship has provided me has been surprising. The media had not provided me with good preconceptions about internships but the faith my colleagues have put in me and the responsibilities I have been handed have demonstrated that those preconceptions were misconceptions.

Although it has, at times, been quiet, I have been able to pick up additional responsibilities not necessarily included in the original scope of my internship’s description. I’ve started working on the reorganisation of the library’s intranet website to make it easier for students to navigate, based on feedback received earlier this year, and I’ve been designing graphics and e-mail templates for the department’s monthly newsletter.

The role has helped me develop skills that I already have, such as proofreading and timekeeping, but has also helped me develop my interpersonal skills, independence and confidence. I know these skills are absolutely vital for my preferred career path: journalism.

I’m now halfway through my internship and there’s a lot more work to come, but I know there’s a lot more I will learn yet. It’s now less than a month until the Welcome Week timetable is launched and I’ll be able to see the final result of my work over these eight weeks.

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About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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