Blair is the Digital Skills for Students Advisor intern. His role is to map out all of the activities that students carry out over the course of their degree and to determine the digital skills and resources that they need to be able to achieve these tasks. In addition, he is looking at the digital skills and resources that students require in order to be successful after graduation and in employment.
What is an intern?
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Joking aside, being an intern is a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish, so I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became the in-tern whose name is B-lair.
What time is it?
Somebody once told me that there were 104 days of summer vacation and university comes along just to end it. The annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it.
I was dreading the summer. All my friends were flying off to exotic corners of the world and I was going to be stuck here without any plans. Now 3 months with nothing to do might sound nice in theory but after about a week you start to go a little stir-crazy. So I hopped on MyCareerHub and lo and behold there it was. ‘Digital Skills and Student Advisor.’
When I first saw the position, I can’t say I really knew what to expect. “I’ve got some digital skills.” I thought to myself. “And I’m a student. I must be qualified for the job right?” Fortunately for me, the Digital Skills and Training team thought I was and so here I am.
It would be my first full-time position in an office environment and I felt nervous just thinking about my job description. How could a second-year student possibly be able to find out what digital skills students across the entire university needed? How could I possibly survive an intense 9 to 5 job when it was already a struggle to make 2pm classes?
Error 404 – Intern Not Found
I’d like to say that all my fears were dispelled on my first day but that was far from the case. When I first arrived at reception they said they had no idea who I was or why I was there. Had I gone to the wrong building? Was I even employed by the university? Had the whole application process and interview just been part of some crazy fever dream? I eventually made it to my desk but of course I also didn’t get a staff card which meant that whenever I left the office, I had to wait for someone to let me in and explain that I was, in fact, an intern and not trying to steal top-secret ISG documents.
I had no email account to and not long after I logged onto the system the entire network went down. The fire alarm went off twice in my first week. I couldn’t help but think that my arrival had brought some curse upon Argyle house. I had barely even started my job and I was faced with one overwhelming feeling:
I am thou… Thou art I…
However, speaking to the other interns made me realise that I am not the only one who has felt out of place and worried. Some of us have been given an overarching goal to work towards but how we do it is up to us. Having so much freedom in how we work is both liberating and paralysing at the same time – it’s hard to envision the final product when you’re starting with a blank page. Others have a much more structured workload but feel a greater pressure to live up to their instructions. No matter what our work is, we all suffer from feelings of self-doubt, but by sharing our experiences we can at least feel a little less alone in our fears.
Meeting with my line manager and other members of staff has also given me the opportunity to reflect on the work that I have been doing and how my internship has been going. Everyone has been incredibly supportive and knowing that I am surrounded by people who are always willing to help has made settling in that much easier.
I’m still not really sure I can say what it means to be an intern. There’s a mix of fear, excitement and determination but perhaps, above all, there is a sense of camaraderie – helping us to persevere in even the darkest depths.
It took 2 weeks to get my card but better late than never right?