Lorna Hastings (2021 Philosophy and Theology) wasn’t immediately sure what she wanted to do after graduation. But after some dedicated planning and research, she found a role with IntoUniversity, an organisation that provides local learning centres where children are inspired to achieve. In her Sharing things blog entry, Lorna tells us how this role has developed her passion for helping children be the best that they can.
Current treasured object: my kindle – Since finishing my degree reading has become my favourite pastime.
Song of the moment: As It Was by Harry Styles or Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel (Song of every moment).
First thing I noticed this morning: Sunshine! I’m currently isolating with Covid so the sun was the mood booster I needed today.
I graduated in 2021 with an MA(Hons) in Philosophy and Theology. The day I got my final degree results was the same day I attended a virtual selection day for my current job. I spent three hours in various breakout rooms, Q&A’s and mini-interviews before logging on to EUCLID to see my degree classification. This was a pivotal week in my life. The following day I received an email inviting me to a final interview. Two days later I celebrated my 22nd birthday and then concluded the week with a virtual panel interview and job offer with IntoUniversity.
IntoUniversity is an educational organisation that provides local learning centres where young people are inspired to achieve. I joined IntoUniversity as an Education Worker as part of the August 2021 Graduate Scheme cohort. I work in the IntoUniversity Maryhill centre as the Secondary FOCUS coordinator and each day provides new opportunities to help young people gain the knowledge and skills to achieve their goals. A typical day at work looks like this:
9.20am – We meet as a team at one of our partner Secondary schools in Maryhill. As Secondary FOCUS Coordinator for the Maryhill centre, it is my responsibility to oversee the relationship between IntoUniversity and our partner Secondary schools. Today we are delivering 2 back-to-back workshops. We set up in the school’s assembly hall to deliver the workshops.
9.35am – The first workshop is ‘Communication in the Workplace’ with a cohort of 30 S3 students. This workshop allows us to better get to know the students, as well as helping them to build key communication skills. We complete the workshop by holding peer mock interviews. The students choose between a university/college, job or apprenticeship interview and put into practice the communication skills they have been learning throughout the workshop.
11.30am – The second workshop is ‘Higher Education Choices Beyond 17/18’ with a cohort of 30 S4 students. In this workshop, students explore different higher education pathways, thinking about why people choose to go to university, as well as learning about the various ways to fund their education. This workshop was a great opportunity for our team to build on student relationships and offer support as students start to consider their own pathways.
1.15pm – With the workshops completed, we head back to the IntoUniversity Maryhill centre for lunch.
2.00pm – As with all of our workshops, we take time as a team to debrief our morning. We discuss what went well and how we can improve. We consider our students individually and note any ways we can best support them moving forward.
2.45pm – I take some time to look over emails and make plans for an upcoming cross-centre programme we are running with the Govan and Craigmillar centres in April.
3.00pm – We head into the classroom to set up for our Primary Academic Support club. We have around 25 students who attend our Wednesday session, so we take time as a team to set up the classroom and brief the session. We ensure all resources are prepared and discuss any accommodations for specific students.
3.30pm – Students from P3-P7 start to arrive, today we are learning all about food chemistry while practising comparing and ordering fractions.
5.00pm – Academic Support has come to an end, today many of the students opted to take books from our classroom library. We take time to debrief and clean up the classroom so it is ready for the following day. We discuss ways to better accommodate some of the learning needs of our students and highlight students who may make a speech at our upcoming centre launch.
5.30pm – I take some time to reply to emails and make a plan for the following day. We have a ‘Choosing Success’ workshop with Primary 7 in our classroom that I need to prepare, as well as ensuring our resources are ready for Secondary Academic support the following day.
6.00pm – Time to log off and head home for the evening.
At IntoUniversity, no two days are the same. We work with students aged 7-18 in a variety of ways. We deliver various engaging workshops in both our Primary and Secondary FOCUS programmes. Our workshops differ for each year group but all focus on helping students to gain knowledge and skills to help them achieve their goals. We also run an after-school provision, Academic Support, on Monday-Thursday in our classroom. For Secondary students, this provides a quiet and supportive environment to work on homework, revision, personal statements/CVs or independent projects. For Primary school students, we deliver a curriculum that seeks to develop and support their in-school learning – this term we have been focussing on key literacy and numeracy skills while learning about Chemistry. In addition, we provide mentoring and enrichment opportunities for students, as well as running Holiday FOCUS programmes too.
Having been with IntoUniversity for eight months now, I can’t imagine doing any other job. I hadn’t always planned to work in education, or even in the third sector. It wasn’t until the summer between my second and third year at university that I started to consider this career pathway. In June 2019, with the help of the ‘Principals Go Abroad Fund’, I flew to the US to spend my summer working at Camp Morty. Camp Morty is a traditional sleepaway camp for children aged 8-15 living in Westchester County, NY. The children who attend Camp Morty are referred by the Department of Social Services and come from a variety of backgrounds, such as: homeless shelters, the foster care system and/or households relying on public assistance. Working at Camp Morty equipped me with invaluable skills in teaching, support working and behaviour management – further igniting my passion for youth work and social mobility.
Throughout my final year, I spent a lot of time considering my next steps and found myself completing various graduate scheme applications for jobs that I didn’t feel passionate about. I was nearing the end of my degree when I sat with my parents discussing what area of work I really wanted to be in. I started to consider the times that I felt the happiest or most driven and kept coming back to my time working at Camp Morty. I revelled in the opportunity to work with young people and to help build positive attitudes towards learning. With this in mind, I started a new job search and quickly came across the IntoUniversity Graduate Scheme application. Reading the job description, I started to feel the drive that I had lost previously.
Like many students completing their degree, I spent the majority of my final year balancing university with applying for various jobs and graduate schemes. I was living at home in Ayrshire having moved back from Edinburgh for my final semester.
Most of my days were the same, I would spend the majority of it on my laptop, attending online seminars and writing my dissertation. After hours spent on university work, I would close all of my tabs just to open new ones to apply to any and all graduate jobs I could find. Completing my degree against the backdrop of Covid had me longing for more variety in my life, I couldn’t wait to have two days that didn’t look exactly the same.
Working for IntoUniversity has already provided me with various opportunities, both professionally and personally. Starting this job meant moving to a new city. Though I was familiar with Glasgow, the city is vastly different from Edinburgh and I have relished the opportunity of living in a new environment. I felt like this move came at an ideal time as we slowly eased back into socialising in a post-pandemic world. Moving to Glasgow has allowed me to be surrounded by some of my closest friends from both school and Camp Morty, making settling into a new lifestyle much easier.
Each day at work offers a new opportunity to help young people achieve their goals. The positive impact that I feel at work, and the strong support of my team has helped me to prioritise my own happiness. I feel settled, happy and supported both personally and professionally, but most importantly I feel content in my day-to-day life and feel I have achieved the variety that I longed for last year.
Lorna previously contributed to the University’s GoAbroad blog and wrote about her experiences at Camp Morty. You can read it here: