My Internship experience so far…
Fresh from the plane after completing my year abroad in Hong Kong I had just a few days to recover from jetlag (and relearn how to use cutlery instead of chopsticks!) before becoming fully immersed into the world of work. Prior to commencing my internship, I had no idea what to expect. Family and friends joked that my role would undoubtedly consist of the stereotypical internship tasks of tea-making, photocopying and filing… This could not have been any further from the truth!
Having previously spent my summers waitressing in small local pubs and restaurants, undertaking a ten-week internship in an entirely new setting seemed like a refreshing and exciting challenge. The job description highlighted that analysis and undertaking investigations would be key components of my BUIP and as a Politics student, this appealed to me immensely and I have been very grateful for the opportunity to further improve these skills in a professional environment.
My internship is based in the School of Biosciences in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences and I am sharing an office with the Student Recruitment Team (who are all really lovely!). Welcome Week in LES is currently under the remit of the Student Recruitment Team (essentially the team responsible for all student admissions to the College). This is an anomaly across the University, as in all the other Colleges and Schools the admissions team has either very little or no responsibility for Welcome Week.
Within my role as Welcome Week Reviewer, I am responsible for conducting a detailed review into current Welcome Week systems and practices within the College. So far, this has involved organising and arranging multiple interviews with Professional Services and Academic Staff from across the University to identify best practice and opportunities for enhancement. So far I have attended over thirty meetings – this has undoubtedly increased my confidence levels and communication skills! Other than this, I am developing an array of other valuable skills which will hopefully be extremely beneficial when I begin applying for graduate jobs next year. Setting up and attending numerous meetings has allowed me to improve my professional etiquette and the opportunity to analyse Welcome provisions across the University has allowed me to develop my analytical and report-writing abilities.
Before starting my internship, I was utterly unaware of the complexity of the University’s structure and how many different teams operate within it. The University has over six thousand staff; this is hard to comprehend when studying here but working within such a busy team and meeting so many colleagues from different departments has allowed me to gage the real extent of how many people and teams work towards making the University of Birmingham so successful. Working in such an inclusive environment where I feel like a part of a much wider community is truly fulfilling; everyone is working towards providing the best possible experience for the students.
As part of the internship, I have also been attending weekly sessions run by Careers Network with the other BUIP interns. We have attended two sessions to date and they have been particularly informative and will be useful for future job applications. We learnt valuable information about how to structure our CVs and other essential skills that will be undoubtedly utilised in the future, encouraging us to make the most of our professional development in the coming years.
Almost nearing the half-way stage in my internship and I am truly enjoying this new and challenging experience, with every day offering something new. I am given new responsibilities and a great degree of independence with my report, something I am enjoying immensely. After five weeks, I have (almost!) become accustomed to the early starts and am excited to see what the next few weeks will bring… and to the dismay of my family and friends, I have not yet made a single cup of tea!