Cassidy Locke, LANS Extracurricular Programme Project OfficerAs I come into sight of the end of my internship, I can’t stop thinking, ‘I can’t believe how quickly these 8 weeks have gone.’ They’ve flashed by.
It was June when I started as the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences intern. Already a student in this department I felt at ease very quickly and settled into my first task: collecting feedback from the other LAS students about the extracurricular programme that the department runs.
So what is the extracurricular programme? It runs alongside the academic element of LANS and is a series of trips to watch theatre, see dance, discuss film screenings, visit exhibitions. Since it began, the department has found that students aren’t that engaged with it and they also have a tendency to sign up for things and then not turn up on the day. My task? To increase engagement while decreasing no-shows.
I liked gathering my feedback – it involved Facebook conversations and coffees with my friends – and nearly everyone I spoke to was full of good ideas for next year and eager to share their thoughts. Floating on the suggestions of my peers, I began to figure out a programme for next semester, struggling at times to sift through the wealth of events available to us in Birmingham. What opera would be best? What performance at Stratford?
I balanced this with so many other tasks and focuses during my internship – another especially interesting part was developing links between LANS and cultural organisations in the city to see if any partnerships could emerge in the future, with a focus on the interaction between arts and sciences.
I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship and juggling all its different elements. I liked having my own project to manage – I was terrified on the first day when Ruth, my manager, told me that she wasn’t going to stand over me and tell me what to do, but it didn’t take long before this became my favourite aspect of the role. It meant that I really felt like a valued member of the team. I wasn’t photocopying or doing basic admin; I really had my own project.
This project allowed me to gain insight into other departments in the uni and how it all works. The internship has given me confidence in interviewing students, taking part in meetings, emailing, writing letters, reports, job descriptions and so much more. It has picked up many strands of experience that I have from all over the place and wound them all together.
Careers Network put on Skills sessions, where I learnt that the only thing that has to be on your CV is your name and contact details, and I built a really strong relationship with my mentor who was there to help me out whenever I needed it.
I am so glad that I spent my summer doing this internship – it really is rare to have an internship that really does feel meaningful and independent while at the same time I have felt totally supported and valued. I am so grateful to the department and Careers Network for this, and I can only hope that I have contributed as much to them as they have given to me.