Cecily Plascott: A Mammoth Achievement


credit: Jordana Black

 

 

Cecily Plascott is ISG’s Open Content Curator Intern. She is responsible for classifying open content for the University as well as sharing available resources and information on Copyright. Outside of her office work she is known for her self-assigned title of ‘most charming intern’ and the many History facts she revels in sharing.

 

 


I don’t remember the exact moment I decided an internship with Information Services would be the best, or at least the most sensible way to spend my summer.

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It probably began with the realisation that I couldn’t stand the thought of another summer making cocktails for other people’s enjoyment. Working in a bar is great during term time – it keeps you relatively fit, hours are separate from the working day, strenuous amounts of thought are not required and it’s highly sociable.

It’s also exhausting. Shaking cocktails looks cool, but it is extremely not cool for numerous parts of your body. Regardless, I was worried I would regret trading bartender life to work at an office. I owed a lot to working on a bar – friends, questionable cocktail skills, my Swans…

Could I really handle the repetitiveness of a 9-5 schedule? Working at a desk? Potentially being the only student in sight?

I weighed up the pros and cons. I decided it was probably time for a change.


 

The Open Content Curator position seemed a good fit for me –

 

I have experience working with online content alongside an interest in open education and the process of opening resources up. I had never had an entirely formal interview before so facing four interviewers at once seemed like somewhat of a baptism of fire. It was also extremely hot on the day of the interview. This made me anxious as I’m from the North of England and therefore not particularly well acquainted with, or prepared for heat.

If anything, moving to Scotland was supposed to facilitate my avoidance of it. I quickly realised that the decision to only wash, dry and iron a long-sleeve grey shirt had been a terrible one. I looked up the route to Argyle House – a 20 minute walk. There’s no way, I thought. I’ll be more sweat than person. I continued to worry until it was too late to do anything but order an Uber.

In hindsight, all the anxiety I felt that morning was derived from the potential transition ahead. I had never worked in what felt like a Proper Grown Ups office before, and I knew it was going to be hard to figure out how to be a Proper Grown Up as opposed to a student who throws tequila around for a living.

Fortunately, the presence of other interns has eased this transition somewhat. They are all seemingly good at whatever it is they do, and particularly good at socialising. I like them – they are an unexpected and extremely significant bonus.

My line manager, Charlie, has also done a lot to diminish any lingering anxieties – at no point have I felt like a hassle, and she’s been very generous with her time in order to bring me up to speed on important areas of my work and generally figure out what I want to get out of this experience.

 


 

From Content Curator to Content Creator (Annie Adam’s Mammoth)

 


 The first month at IS has gone extremely quickly and it is great to be getting stuck into work. I haven’t missed the bar life at all: I’m a 9 to 5 convert and loving it.

My overarching project this summer is to assist the creation of open educational resources using work produced by students on the GeoSciences Outreach Programme. This has provided some opportunities for creativity insofar as part of my work involves the replacement of images that infringe on copyright.

This can prove to be quite the challenge as I discovered during what will now be known as the Woolly Mammoth Saga. To be brief: there are not enough free images of Woolly Mammoths for the extraordinary amount of Mammoth photos that I required. I exercised my apparently brilliant networking skills to call upon a fellow intern and colleague, Annie Adam, to put her artistic talent to work. I am pleased to say there is now at least one additional free image of a Woolly Mammoth available than there was when I started this quest – a feat which I think counts as a mammoth achievement (shout-out to Susan Greig for the great pun).


If you’re a fellow student reading this in hesitation – pre, mid, or post application process – I would advise you to be ready to put a lot of effort in potentially more aspects than you anticipate into your placement. Be sociable. Be creative. Be willing to find and exploit less usual opportunities that come with a working in a great place like IS.

Alternatively, if you are a Potential Employer reading this and would like to see how I could meet your mammoth needs, please reach me via the email address on the ‘About’ section. If you are Annie, thanks again for the drawing– you really helped me out.

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