In my role as Research Data Services Development Officer, I have been responsible for providing an understanding of what research funders require in terms of the management, retention and publication of the data arising from research projects they fund; highlighting how the University meets these requirements and gaps in the service provision; benchmarking what the University does against other leading research institutions, as well as proposing recommendations for further service development.
I have come to the end of my internship with mixed feelings.
I’m so glad that I can finally just do nothing for a couple of days, get some light reading done, as well as a literature review for my dissertation. But I’m going to miss these past 8-weeks, the snoozed alarm incidents, post-lunch lull, laughing at office-banter between members of my team, sitting in on meetings and just the whole experience.
I must say, it’s been a bit stressful. Stress isn’t always bad though, we all need a certain level of stress to work optimally. This is so because I wanted my work to leave a good impression of me, something I’d be proud of, something my line manager would be proud to present to high level stakeholders in the research data management working body of the University. Research data management is a relatively new area for research institutions, lots of work is still being done to understand it fully. Also, it’s the 1st piece of work I’d be doing that is in a wider sense for application in the real world.
I have enjoyed every bit of my time here. The early mornings (I’m still a student, 9am is early) sitting in on meetings and feeling professional, desk research, discussions with the various stakeholders and trying to make sure I accurately get across their needs. I have been lucky to have my line manager, I couldn’t wish for any better guidance. And also the people I share office space with, I wasn’t treated like “just the intern”, I was treated like an actual colleague.
Having to work in a room with other people at set times did take me a little getting used to though. Normally during term-time, I tend to work in my room on my own; at my own time (could be 3am in the morning, who cares?).
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt that will stick with me for a long time, it’s that a lot of work behind the scenes goes into making anything run smoothly and successfully, especially organisations as diverse and wide-scoped as higher education institutions, so to be more appreciative and tolerant.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect before I started my internship, but I know that my time here has helped me develop professionally and given me a better idea of what the working world is like. I’ve gained and developed further skills which would most definitely be transferrable e.g. being able to work in multi-disciplinary teams, conducting a research project from start to finish by myself, adapting and presenting information to an audience with varying level of content familiarity etc.
If you’re a student and you’re thinking about if an internship is right for you, my advice is go for it!! There’s no harm in trying something new. If it’s not for you, then you can tick it off your list, but if it is for you, you’ll be glad you did give it a shot.