BUIP: Information and Communications for the Student Hub
Having only ever spent a grand total of 2 weeks in the working world before, the idea of spending my entire summer in an office job was an exciting but daunting prospect. Before the internship began I tried to prepare as best I could (mainly trying to find the Holy Grail of a comfy pair of heels and reading unhelpful articles online about New York Interns going on the daily ‘coffee dash’), but ultimately I realised that nothing could really prepare me for the giant leap that lay ahead.
By 10am on my first day I’d had my introductory meeting with my line-manager who explained the general scope of the projects I would be working on. I realised then that this internship was going to be a genuine stepping stone onto work after graduation; I would be treated like a junior member of the team with my own independent projects, rather than picking up bits of work here and there.
My role in the Student Experience Projects Team is to contribute to the launch of the new Student Hub, which includes two strands. Firstly, the ‘information’ side of my role includes practical elements of the launch such as making sure everything is updated online and on printed information for when each department moves to the Student Hub. Secondly, the ‘communications’ strand involves marketing and events planning such as creating a marketing plan, a social media campaign and other promotional materials. I’m developing valuable skills from both sides of the role that will hopefully put me in a great position for when I apply for graduate jobs next year. For example, reviewing the Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) produced throughout Student Services has involved setting up meetings with a number of people across the University, improving my interpersonal skills and professional etiquette. Likewise, the communications work is teaching me to have confidence in my own ideas but also to learn from the rest of my team when given feedback; even in a tweet or a Facebook post I am representing the University of Birmingham, which is a big responsibility!
Before starting this placement my thoughts about how the University was run didn’t go any further than a vague notion that ‘some people’ were working behind the scenes. I soon discovered the sheer scale of the operations behind every aspect of the University and just quite how many teams of people contribute towards making it what it is to students. Though you might assume that working within such a vast institution means staff simply feel like part of a machine, the opposite is true; I’m quickly finding out that every role is important and valued and the sense of community and a common goal is really rewarding.
As part of the internship I have also been having weekly training sessions run by Careers Network with other BUIP interns. These sessions really help put our placements in the perspective of our future careers, and encourage us to make the most of every opportunity to develop professionally. After finding out how competitive the application process was for the scheme, I have been reminded that it is a real privilege to be able to learn and progress in such a supportive environment before having to do it ‘for real’ after graduation.
Four weeks in to my internship and work now feels ‘normal’, yet every week offers new experiences and new challenges. Though working full time after two years of a low contact hour course was a shock to the system, I quickly got used to the new pace of life and I look forward to each new week of exciting moments, proud moments, and yes, a couple of classic ‘intern moments’ too for good measure!
By Emily Muscat