It’s been an amazing journey for the last 3 months, and I can’t say enough how much I’ve enjoyed my time as an intern. Through it all, I’ve learnt a lot and improved my skills in web design, as well as having learnt a lot about Customer Engagement, a field of work I never fully understood before this role.
I’ve met so many people and I feel like I’ve had a chance to get to know a little of everything that happens in the Library. It’s amazing how much goes on behind the scenes to bring the fantastic experience we get as students at the University of Hull, and I appreciate it more having seen behind the curtain.
Well, it feels like a whole bunch of stuff. I’ve done research into Customer Engagement Strategies, delivered presentations on the same, helped edit SkillsGuides, gave my input on a wide range of stuff to help the Library have a student perspective. I’ve helped design and run Usability Testing sessions and fixed bugs or improved aspects of the Library website.
I’ve also done some less easily defined things, like learning how a workplace works, making connections, and speaking to a wide variety of people working in different roles so that I can get an insight into what they do. I think these skills will really help me in my job search and future careers.
Speaking of, what’s next?
Well, I’m hoping to continue now to get an IT job in another University (or academic library) somewhere in London, where I live. As fun as it’s been to work remote, I’m excited to learn how to work in a physical workplace and everything that comes with that, including interacting with and directly helping customers. Wherever I end up though, I’m planning on keeping in touch with the amazing people I’ve met during my internship here.
Two weeks ago, the public communication skills guide I’ve been working on went live and is now available for all who need/want guidance and advice on these types of assessments, but also for anyone who wants to learn more about writing for the public. I am incredibly proud of myself for completing this guide and the amount of work I’ve put into it.
I’ve also been working on the content for another new SkillsGuide about infographics, using the information provided by Dr Dom Henri, a lecturer at the university, as well as my own research into visual communications and design principles.
Writing these guides has provided me with more research expertise and taught me about how to communicate efficiently to the public; this will help me with furthering my career.
As well as working on the guides I’ve been writing weekly blog posts (like this one). I concentrated mainly on student well-being and mental health due to this being incredibly important to me. I also wrote about my experience as a creative writer and aspiring indie author. Me and the other interns collaborated on a few posts too, to help students with time management and procrastination. Writing these posts alongside the skills guides content has given me the opportunity to be more creative whilst working which I have really enjoyed.
Even though my internship has included a lot of writing, I have also helped start discussions between one of my old lecturers and the Skills Team to provide more guidance to Creative Writing students. This involved setting up a tutorial session for first-years to teach them how to get the most out of the library and skills guides, as well as the Creative Writing department potentially writing content for a SkillsGuide about creative writing assessments. I was very proactive as a student, so am passionate about helping other students as much as I can.
What have I learnt whilst being an intern?
I realised that I am good at working on my own initiative, and always have many creative ideas. I can be impulsive, however, but whilst working I learnt how not to jump the gun, instead, I should talk things through with the team to get the best results. I found that I am incredibly passionate about collaborating with other departments/teams to help student experience and engagement. This passion has led me to apply to become a Graduate Ambassador at the university. (Hopefully, I won’t be leaving the university just yet)
Being an intern at Hull has offered me many new opportunities. Not only have I applied for the ambassador position, but I’ve also been able to apply for copywriting, marketing and social media positions. I now have more confidence in my capabilities, and I am a lot more ambitious after these 12 weeks.
I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity of being an intern with the Skills Team and can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Oh, one other thing, I am still working on my book and am now a Master of the Arts!
Well, my internship adventure has now come to an end and I’m writing this after saying all my goodbyes. This has gone very fast the past three months only feel like a few weeks, but it has been a great learning experience for me. I have learned new things got to build on my experience as a copywriter and met some nice people along the way.
If you are a former student and considering an internship at the university I would highly recommend it. You will have a great time whilst also gaining valuable experience in your chosen field.
My Internship first began back in August where I was nervously and excitedly pondering where the journey would take me. The first couple of weeks was just about getting to know the basics. Then I really started to get into my job role which was to write and adapt the digital skills course for students. If you want to know more about how this went check out my previous post at the halfway point of my journey.
I have now come to the end of the road I have finished all the content I was writing for the digital skills course. I overcame a few obstacles and actually exceeded my expectations in terms of how much work I completed. Over the course of the university year, you will all get to see my work published on the library blog and hopefully it will be both informative and enjoyable. As I planned with the help of my supervisor Lee the course is delivered in a different format to how similar courses have been delivered so as to hopefully be more engaging for students.
Goodbye and thank you
I would just like to thank all the staff I’ve worked with as well as my fellow interns, and my supervisor Lee whom I previously mentioned. I will now probably consider taking a taking a couple of weeks off before I get into job searching for copyright work in the London area. Although I’m not ruling out the possibility of working with the university again at a later date. Goodbye and thank you for the experience.
Stella Cottrell thinks so. Cottrell is the author of Mindfulness for Students (2018) which isn’t only a book explaining what mindfulness is and how it can be useful, but it’s also full of exercises which can help you learn how to be mindful.
What do you think of when you hear the term “being mindful”?
You may scoff thinking it’s some mumbo jumbo about meditation and spiritual healing. You wouldn’t be wrong, it is to do with meditation, but there is a reason mindfulness has been practiced throughout the world for at least 2500 years. It helps build your awareness and makes you more focussed. It can teach you techniques to help you in stressful situations and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. These techniques can also help with productivity, therefore can be very helpful for students.
What is Mindfulness?
Cottrell simplifies it by not simply telling you but showing you by having you do an exercise – something we will do at the end of this post. For now, I’ll tell you this, to experience mindfulness first you must stop. Stop moving, stop doing and simply be in the moment. Take time out of your day, even if it’s five minutes to do nothing but be aware of your surroundings, your mind and body.
To become mindful, you are asked to simply observe, but this doesn’t mean you must stop thinking. As we know this is almost impossible, and a misconception of mindfulness and meditation. You don’t need to stop thinking but become aware of your thoughts. For example, if you were sat listening to your surroundings and thoughts emerged, you acknowledge them and then refocus on your listening.
As I previously said, the techniques you learn as you become more mindful not only help with your mental wellbeing, but also your productivity. You learn how to refocus your attention, not become as easily distracted and enjoy your studies. Yes, enjoy them.
How can mindfulness help with studying?
Firstly, you want to start every day mindfully. Don’t worry this is incredibly simple and you will no doubt forget to do it sometimes to begin with but creating a new habit can take time. Be persistent and don’t get annoyed with yourself for forgetting. Just tell yourself you’ll remember next time and be proud of yourself for doing so.
At the beginning of each day, you want to do a meditation or mindfulness exercise, like sitting concentrating on your breathing or listening to your surroundings for 5-10 minutes. If you are unable to do this, you can bring the exercise to an activity such as brushing your teeth or even as you travel to campus. When doing this exercise set the tone of the day, what will you be doing and what do you want to get out of your day. By doing this first thing you are more likely to continue having this mindset throughout the day.
Speaking of the structure of your day, try and set time aside for meditation and/or mindfulness exercises. Again, this could be simply doing a 5-minute breathing exercise to help your concentration. It is also advised to do these before lectures and study sessions. If you’re self-conscious about doing this in public, you could go to the chapel in Larkin or find a quiet place away from crowded areas.
When it comes to your study time you can also learn how to have a mindfulness approach to this time.
As first years we are, usually, eager to get started and excited about our studies, but as we realise how tough our studies can be at times our relationship with them may change and become more negative. We want to change our relationship with studying and how we think – yes this is still about being mindful. Being mindful, as I’ve said previously is becoming more aware of our thoughts and feelings and asking ourselves why we may feel negatively at times. Change how you communicate about studying.
Do you have an essay coming up that you’d rather not write? Before you start your assignment why not sit for a moment and think about how this could be enjoyable. Is the topic something you’re interested in, have you enjoyed learning about specific things related to it, what are they? Does this essay relate to something you want to do in future? Try not to divert from your assignment by daydreaming about the future though, set a 5-minute timer and allow yourself this space to feel positive about the assignment. You’ll find yourself enjoying your study time a lot more if you go into it positively.
Continue learning how to be mindful
I have only touched the surface of mindfulness in this post, but I hope you have found something useful here. If you wish to learn more about how mindfulness can help your studies, I highly recommend Stella Cottrell’s book, Mindfulness for Students. It is full of exercises you can do to help with studying.
A mindful exercise
Set a timer for 5-minutes.
Close your eyes and smile gently to loosen your face muscles, then relax your face.
Bring your awareness to any sounds you hear, don’t describe them just notice them.
If you notice your mind beginning to wander, try not to get irritated or annoyed, simply bring your awareness back to what you hear.
When the timer goes off, open your eyes, stand up and stretch.
Now you can go about the rest of your day. Have a good one and remember to stay hydrated.
Students have settled into their dorms, now the nights grow long,
Prepare thine selves as assessment season dawns.
Overindulgence crept up on the first years,
Overestimating the time they had before essays were due.
Karaoke cats got thine tongues?
They didn’t realise being a student meant hard work,
October brings chilling realisations.
Books upon books soon cover their rooms,
Emergency study sessions are being scheduled.
Remember thy words: university doesn’t have to be that scary, you know.
Yes, a poem because sometimes you have to let your creativity loose and in my opinion, spooky season is a great time to do so.
What on Earth does the poem mean?
Basically, what I’m trying to say is, try to manage and organise your time, so you don’t find yourself overwhelmed. And, as it is Spooktober, remember to treat yourself when you’ve done enough studying. Go for a walk down Cottingham Road and the Avenues, it’s wonderful this time of year as the leaves begin to fall.
Arrange study sessions with coursemates and friends, you can book rooms in the library for a nice, quiet place to meet. Use the Booking Service to book seats, rooms with or without computers. We now have a lovely Family Room too so parents can have a quiet place to study whilst keeping an eye on their little ones.
Then you can treat yourself to a nice warm drink in the café on the ground floor, you might even want a cake!
Another way to help you manage your time is by contacting your lecturers and personal supervisors for advice on assignments and how to arrange your time best. Remember, they are there to help.
Most of all remember that university doesn’t have to be full of tricks, schedule in your day some nice treats too!
It is strange to think that I’m already halfway through my internship, it has been about 6 weeks since I joined the Library Skills Team. As you may remember from my first blog post when I first started, I was a mixture of nerves and excitement wandering where my internship journey would take me. It is always natural to be nervous I think when starting a job. Though it’s safe to say those nerves didn’t last that long working with such a friendly and welcoming team.
What have I been up to?
In the first week of my internship, we just had our basic training going through fire safety and things like that. We also met all the staff and I got to meet the other Interns. At first, there was not a whole lot to do but Lee my supervisor gave me an opportunity to write a few small sections for the staff Digital Skills course. I got to write about Fake News and how to avoid online scams like phishing. In addition to this Lee also recommended to me and my fellow interns some MOOCs (Massive open online courses). These courses are very useful and when I had any downtime while working, I took a look at them and enrolled in a couple of courses.
Digital Skills Course
So, that was pretty much my first couple of weeks, but things didn’t really get going till it came to adapting the study skills course for students. For this, I first looked through everything that was written for the staff digital skills course and considered what could be useful for students. Some aspects I could use and just change slightly for a student audience, and I found ways to adapt some of the material aimed at teachers to work for students. I also came up with my own ideas and what digital skills I felt were relevant to students.
Later I discussed with Lee how we were going to deliver the content for students. We both felt that students would probably not engage as much with the course the way it was presented on Canvas so, we had to go in a different direction. As I have experience blogging and Lee wanted to get more content published on the library blog, I suggested writing the course as a series of blog posts. Lee seemed very interested in the idea and we came up with the plan for a post each week throughout the year. This way it feels less like a course, and it makes it easier to digest all the content over a full year than over a few weeks. We decided to call it #TechItUpTuesday if you want to see the latest post, please check it out and feel free to give me any feedback you have.
I am very much enjoying the experience so far; I’ve got to meet some very nice and friendly people. As I am working remotely it has also been most helpful to have a half-hour call almost every day just to talk about things other than work. I have also got the chance to stretch my writing muscles particularly with all the posts I have queued up to write for the digital skills course. I am now anxiously looking forward to what the rest of my internship has in store.
I can’t believe it’s already October. It’s autumn which is my favourite time of year, Halloween is upon us, but more importantly, I’m halfway through my internship with the Skills Team.
I am creating a brand- new, Public Communications skills guide. One section is all about blogging (ironic isn’t it), because Public Communications are pieces of writing, or visuals like posters and infographics that are created for the public sphere. This guide will go into detail about everything students need to know for such assessments.
What I’ve learnt in the last 6 weeks
By researching what it means to write for the public and the different formats used, I’ve developed new writing techniques and learnt the many factors of what goes into these formats. I’ve realised that the language I use, and my vocabulary has broadened, because writing is a craft. The more you practice, the more skilled you become.
As well as my writing, my proofreading and editing techniques have also developed. These are crucial to me as an aspiring author/poet, but also a blogger. Even though I’ve now completed my masters in English and Creative Writing, I will always be striving to develop my writing and editing techniques and this internship is providing me with this experience.
Something I haven’t had experience in before was copywriting, but it is a career I have been contemplating. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to learn how to copywrite and develop this skill further. The research for the copy was extensive; going down numerous rabbit holes, but if my studies taught me anything, it’s that sometimes these rabbit holes can be fruitful. It just so happens this was the case as I’ve now completed the copy for the guide.
The best is yet to come
With the copy completed, it’s time to build the skills guide. Helping with its construction and design were optional to me, but I want to make the most of the time I have working here. Learning how to design a website and how to use HTML coding is an area I’ve been wanting to get into. After completing my internship, I am looking at working in marketing and/or social media and having some web design expertise will make my applications stand out.
To sum it all up
In the last 6 weeks, I have become more confident in myself and my capabilities whilst gaining expertise in areas that will help me in my future career. A lot can happen in 6 weeks, so who knows what I’ll write about in my final update come November.
Here’s another autumnal image, because it’s pretty. There’s really no other reason for it being here.
The Journey so far – this is the sixth week and halfway through my journey as Visual Design Intern. The experience has been enlightening, eye-opening and fun to experience the work environment. I have not just sat at my home computer; I have also experienced the office life twice. This is very new but familiar as I was also a student that visited the library. As an Intern, I have seen different aspects of the library such as where the staff work.
These two work styles are very different from my experience with working from home I gain access to my software and a familiar atmosphere. The downside to this is face to face contact which is now slowly getting back to some normality. The one thing that I have found helpful is the daily meetings. These help me start and motivate my day and helps me practice using a camera and teams.
Within this time, I have gained a clear understanding of my role which is to help the other Interns design images and videos. This is for the Skills Guide and Digi skills. Creating images, I used PowerPoint and their icons. To create these icons I changed their size, colour and merged them together to create simple images. For the videos, these are instructive videos on how to create blogs, magazine articles, letters, opinion pieces and wikis.
In conclusion to my journey so far, I would say I have gained valuable experience and knowledge to move forward and carry on with my journey.
Hi again, it’s me, Codey, and I’m back with an update on the progress of my internship. Last time I mentioned that I’m the Customer Engagement and Communication intern, and I talked a little bit about what customer engagement broadly means. Now that it’s been a few weeks I’ve had a chance to dig into the role and figure out exactly what customer engagement is, why it’s so important, and how I can take that information away and produce something insightful and interesting by the end of my internship. I’m going to share some of what I’ve been up to with you all, and my thoughts throughout the process.
What is customer engagement?
One of my first tasks was to do some research into the ways that other academic institutions consider how best to engage with their customers. They do this by creating a Customer Engagement Strategy (CES), a plan of action regarding how they can ensure their service understands and meets the needs of their customers. Customer engagement is also about communication, because how else can they know exactly what the customer wants?
Why is it important?
There are many more aspects that make up customer engagement – inclusivity and accessibility, marketing, feedback and setting expectations – but suffice to say, it encompasses so much and that’s part of why it’s so important. Having excellent engagement with our customers means that they’re getting the most out of all that the library has to offer and increases their trust that the library will continue in providing excellent resources.
What have I been doing to try to improve the library’s customer engagement?
After doing some research into other institutions’ customer engagement strategies and plans, I delivered that information in a meeting to the library’s CES team, highlighting similarities and differences between theirs and ours. I identified a lot of common themes and some interesting stuff that was missing, and I think that information will really help shape the library’s strategy for the better. Part of the reason for my specific internship existing is that as a previous student at the University of Hull, I was a customer of the library, and potentially have some fresh insights into what it means to engage with a customer.
As a result of that feedback, you can now find the library’s Customer Engagement and Communication Strategy online on our website and see for yourself the commitment the library has made to provide excellent support to students, staff, and the general public.
Another interesting thing I’ve been working on is user testing of the library’s website. It’s increasingly important to have a robust online presence currently, and ensuring that the library’s online content is useful, easy to use and not hidden away is vital. We recently hosted a user testing session where a first-year student helped us to see exactly how a user interacts with our website, and because of that amazing feedback we’re already planning to improve parts of the site. It’s important to the library that we’re able to see our content through the eyes of a customer, to make sure what is being produced is effective.
What am I doing next?
So far, I’ve got more user testing sessions planned, which should hopefully give us a nice range of feedback from which to improve the library website. I’m also beginning the process of delivering some information directly to customers in the form of a skills-guide or blog post.
That’s all for now – hopefully that’s been interesting and I’m looking forward to my next internship blog post where I’ll be reflecting on the internship and will have some more stuff that I’ve delivered to present to you all. See you next time!
JISC is a tool you can use to discover the range of your digital capabilities. These capabilities as JISC describes are the skills and attitudes that individuals and organisations need if they are to thrive in today’s world.
There are six key elements to consider when building your digital capabilities.
ICT Proficiency (functional skills)
Information, data and media literacies (critical use)
Digital creation, problem solving and innovation (creative production)
Digital communication, collaboration and partnership (participation)
Digital learning and development (development)
Digital identity and wellbeing (self-actualising)
Why are digital capabilities important?
Digital capabilities are important for students as they help you learn how to think critically, creatively solve problems, and express your ideas in interesting ways. Having a good level of digital proficiency will also help many of you in your future careers. Since Covid-19 these skills have become increasingly important as several businesses are moving to digital alternatives compared to in-person activities. This means that more employers will expect all staff not just those specialised in IT to be well versed in their digital capabilities. A company can have the best digital tools in the world but still be inefficient if the employees fail to utilise them proficiently.
As this video explains your level of digital capability depends on several factors: the requirements of your role at work or as a student, your subject specialism, career choice, personal, and other contextual factors. So for some of you, you may only need to be well versed in a few of these skills whilst others may need to know much more.
How to use JISC?
It takes approximately 20 minutes to create your report using JISC. First, use this link or click on the button under the image at the start of this article. Press login then select your organisation which in our case is Hull University and log in with your email and network password to initially set up your profile. Then press explore your digital capabilities, where you can then being to create your report. Once you have completed the report don’t forget to either take a screenshot or record your results down somewhere, otherwise if you want to view your results at a later date you will have to go through the whole process again.
As I previously said don’t worry if you aren’t knowledgeable in all areas you don’t need to be proficient at everything, it’s a personal reflection, so consider what skills are most important to you.