Hi everyone, my name is Georgia and I am currently an intern with the Directorate of People through the InternPlus scheme at the University of Aberdeen. I am also in my fourth year studying for a joint degree in Anthropology and International Relations.
I applied to InternPlus with the hope of expanding my professional skills in my final year of university. The intern-project aligned with my previous experience last summer when I was a Saltire Human Resources intern for a biotech company in the USA. Similarly, both roles consisted of drawing upon quantitative and qualitative data to create results and an action plan for future satisfaction in the organisations.
My role as an intern during InternPlus is to analyse previous NSS student satisfaction; specifically, the idea of academic interest representation being met by AUSA. I am liaising between both the University and AUSA to do this. Student voice representation is something I am passionate about as a fourth-year student and I hope my work can help enhance future students’ experiences. Gathering both qualitative and quantitative data is enabling me to design and run my own surveys and focus groups, by the end of my internship I will have created a detailed action plan for the future.
My onboarding process was entirely held online, involving a group presentation with all the interns and then a separate ‘welcome’ style meeting with my two line-managers, Karen and Scott. I really enjoyed the breakout room element of the intern group meeting as I was able to meet other students in a similar position to myself and create connections for networking. Getting to know a team online is a difficult process. In-person you have the ability to be in control of your first impression, on a slightly bad quality MicrosoftTeams meeting, not so much!
I think the key piece of advice I would give to students in professional online meetings is to make sure you are sitting upright with your camera on and microphone on mute (until the time for you to talk comes), looking alert (you never know who is watching your video square) and ready to offer your voice with enthusiasm to the conversation. Now more than ever, it is important to engage with others at different levels in a professional setting and ask for help when needed. Just because something is online, doesn’t mean to say that it won’t look just as impressive on your CV to a future employer. Give it your all as if you were there at the office.
A benefit of at-home working is time management. There isn’t a specific time to be in an office building or running from one meeting to the next. I found it difficult in the beginning to motivate myself to do anything before rolling out of bed and logging onto my laptop to start the workday. I have now, thankfully, taken full control of my workday. I balance university work and internship work equally, lending an hour or two on either side dependent on workload, and I enjoy the flexibility of this. I think it is incredibly important to plan your day in order to be productive and on top of your game.
Over the next several weeks, I hope to have completed my internship and gain valuable experience that will assist me in the future workplace, wherever that is, virtual or in person!