So you think you want to be the PGR Office Intern?
From events management to tweeting about knickers, in this post, PGR Office Intern 2016-2018 and UofG PGR Cia Jackson (@miss_ciakate) shares some of the experiences she's had working in the office for the past two years, and why she doesn't want to leave just yet!
Okay, cards on the table, this post has been a nightmare to write. Forget literature reviews and responding to calls for papers, forget the time I changed thesis topic after one year and had to start from scratch- this post really tops it. Partly because I don’t want my contract to end (though I suppose even HR are probably sceptical as to why/how I’m still here after two years), but also because I honestly don’t even know where to begin. Two years is a lot to pack into one post, but who doesn’t love a challenge?
Firstly, I hope you like being part of a warm, friendly and supportive team because that’s what you’ll get.
I’ve felt welcome in the office since I rocked up on my first day and met a colleague on the doorstep. She already knew who I was, and we had a lovely chat as we climbed the stairs to the attic (oh yeah, I hope you like stairs, by the way. You’ll get thighs of steel within about a month working here). Not to mention my name was already on doors, staff lists, and the in/out board in the entrance. Whilst the latter was largely for fire safety, there was definitely a novelty factor there.
On a less whimsical note though, I’ve loved working in this office, and everyone has gone out of their way to share the life hacks associated with this side of the academic/PGR fence from the very beginning…and also helped me wrestle the printer on more than one occasion. I’m really going to miss my colleagues when I do leave- working with them has made Monday morning something to look forward to.
Then there’s the skills and career development to think about. If you think you’ll mostly be keeping your head down and getting on with tasks, think again my friend.
Sure, I’ve sent plenty of emails, made coffee for guests at events, and wrangled the odd spreadsheet- the next PGR Office Intern will undoubtedly do similar. But Elizabeth and the PGR Office team have really made a point of ‘throwing the ladder down’ and developing my skills beyond the duties and responsibilities listed on my internship contract, or even the initial advert I replied to. I’ve gained so, so much more, and I really value the freedom I’ve had to direct my own training. For me, a love of social media has been repackaged over the past two years into communications roles- managing the PGR blog, running several social media accounts, presenting at conferences on blogging, tweeting and blogging about knickers (and not just for the PGR Blog!), networking at media events… Not to mention receiving additional training in UofG branding and web development, interviewing, and Scottish Mental Health First Aid to name just a few things. As far as I’m concerned, this internship is worth its weight in gold, and I’ve not even begun to talk about the opportunities it led to outside the PGR office. I’ve also been able to work with the Ingenious Women team, helped out with the CoLab during Freshers Week 2017, and traveled to Amsterdam where I joined a communications team comprised of other institutions too.
Speaking of which, there’s obviously the UofG PGR community…
I’ve had the privilege of meeting and spending time with so many talented UofG PGRs throughout this internship. Organising events such as the Three Minute Thesis competition and the PGR & Postdoc Bake-Off obviously present challenges, not to mention wonderful opportunities to learn about the research PGRs from across UofG are conducting, it’s also been a chance to learn about other PGRs themselves and hear their experiences. On a personal level, being a part-time PGR has had its isolating moments, but it’s been great having the chance to support others with similar- or even wildly different- experiences to my own. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with two (soon to be three) PGR Blog cohorts, and I hope that collectively, we’ve been able to make helpful contributions to PGR life here at UofG.
Still fancy being the PGR Office Intern?
I don’t blame you. Yes, there will be occasions where everything isn’t instantly easy. The Beast from the East certainly tested my patience this year, and you may find yourself chasing up things via email, but overall, whoever takes on this role next is going to have an absolute blast. This post only scratches the surface of the amazing opportunities you’ll have working in this office. I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for the experiences I’ve had as an intern, and I’m genuinely sad to be moving on. There have been some threats to chain myself to my desk, and whilst Elizabeth has politely laughed in response, I’m not entirely sure that I’m joking at this point…If you are thinking of applying, you might want to bring some bolt cutters to the interview, just in case.
Apply to be a PGR Office Intern via the Internship Hub. Applications close 8th August.
All images- Cia Jackson
Cia Jackson is a 3rd year, part-time PhD candidate in Comparative Literature, researching the portrayal of fangirls and power in DC's Harley Quinn and Batgirl comics.