Jordana is the Digital Skills Advisor intern: she is spending her summer analysing the digital developmental needs of Undergraduate students at the University, and recommending ways in which they can be improved. In other instances, you can catch her smuggling bags of Tayto crisps back from Northern Ireland and producing the best cardigan-and-shirt combos.
From student surveys to focus groups, producing my own videos and delving into the mysterious world of editing, the past five weeks have completely changed my opinion on the stereotypical ‘tedious office job’.
As a Mathematics student who spends most of her time up at Kings Buildings far away from civilisation and the lively bustle of the central campus, I am really appreciating the setting of my summer job. Argyle House is conveniently located right beside Edinburgh Castle, which offers some stunning views whilst you’re having your morning coffee break… And afternoon coffee break… And all of the other coffee breaks in between.
Even better, it’s a short walk away from Grassmarket, which is perfect for post-work socialising with the other interns. After all, when everything is on your doorstep it would be rude not to take advantage, right?
Not a bad view for a Monday morning, is it?
I still remember the moment I got the phone call offering me the position of Digital Skills for Students Adviser.
Excitedly jumping around my room and informing every person I could possibly think of that I’d gotten the job was first on my to-do list. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
After months of researching, applying for countless programmes and endless waiting, finally I could say this was the one for me! So I waved goodbye to my friends at the café where I worked, finished up my exams, and found myself on Monday 4th June 2018 thrown into a whirlwind of new people, new experiences, and new opportunities.
I’m absolutely loving every minute…but what exactly am I doing from 9am to 5pm every day, besides obsessively checking my emails?
As the Digital Skills for Students Advisor, I’m working with the Digital Skills and Training team here at the University to analyse the digital developmental needs of the University’s undergraduate population and recommend ways in which they can be improved.
I can attribute around 93% of my nerves on the first day to not being entirely sure what I’d gotten myself in to for the next 10 weeks. What if I forgot how to turn on a computer and they fired me immediately? What if my own lack of Digital Skills was so glaringly obvious that I couldn’t complete the tasks I was given?
The most humbling experience of the summer so far has been when I, the Digital Skills Intern, had to get another intern to show me the correct way to screenshot something on my fancy new laptop (thanks, Qais!). It’s definitely been a learning curve.
It turns out that all of my fears were completely unfounded.
The biggest challenge that I’ve faced is trying to get feedback from undergraduate students in the middle of summer. Shockingly, they are rather hard to come by at this time of year. However, I’m extremely lucky to be based in the same building as some incredibly lovely (and incredibly talented) interns, who are more than happy to help out when I need them to.
Lunch is always an inter[n]esting experience
As you can see, they’re a friendly bunch and we’ve bonded quite well over some unusual lunchtime conversations and a fair amount of Friday night gatherings. We even see each other on weekends! As someone who can be a little bit shy, I had been worried about whether or not I would meet people who I clicked with; but I really seem to have hit the jackpot.
Not only do I get along well with my fellow interns, but I am also surrounded by some lovely people in the Digital Skills and Training team, who happily answer every silly question I ask them. Believe me, there’s been quite a few. Without them, I’d probably still be slowly wasting away by the printer, trying to figure out how to scan things.
This summer one of the best things I have learned is the importance of work-life balance – ironically, I have more free time this summer working a full time job than I have during the academic year.
It’s refreshing to finish at 5pm and know that there is nothing else to be done that day. No assignments to feel guilty about. No extra reading that you know you really should be doing. It’s been a long time since I’ve had weekends and evenings entirely to myself: I’m slowly learning to relax, take time for me, and leave work at work.
For someone who constantly feels that if they aren’t working then they’re not doing enough, this has been a huge shift – and definitely something that I needed to learn. Hopefully I’ll be able to take this new mind-set with me as I enter into my final year of University.
Unbelievably, I’m already half way through my internship. If you’d told me time would fly by this quickly when I first started, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can only hope that my final five weeks are as amazing and varied as my first five have been. If that’s the case, I won’t want it to end.