Student story: I’ve sorted my summer

SharikaHi, I’m Sharika and I am a second-year English student. Alongside my studies, I work as a Student Ambassador for the Widening Participation team at Queen Mary. The aim of Widening Participation is to encourage students from disadvantaged social backgrounds to consider pursing higher education. Not only is this an incredibly rewarding job which gives me the opportunity to make a positive impact on the local community, but being a Widening Participation Ambassador has also allowed me to gain a plethora of transferable skills through working in a diverse range of environments.

This summer, for instance, I am involved with a number of exciting projects. For example, a couple of weeks ago, I worked at the Experience University Week: Creating a Language. In this summer school, a group of Year 10 students learned all about linguistics, and then they constructed their own languages. Through this event, I gained experience working with young people, and at the same time, I was able to learn about linguistics myself! Next week I will be giving a speech to 60 Year 7-9 students at a celebration event (every one of the students has read more than 25 books in the past eight months!). I will be talking to them about reading, English degrees, and about my university experience. Later this month, another Student Ambassador and myself will be delivering a joint-lecture to Sixth Form students. Both of these opportunities will hone my public speaking skills. Moreover, I am currently in the middle of preparing for both of these events and already it has taught me a great deal about how to adapt my communication style to effectively interact with people from different age groups. Furthermore, in July, at the Verbatim Summer School, I will be working with young care experienced students thinking about coming to university.

As well as participating in these projects, I will also be working as an Evaluation Project Leader at the East End Community Foundation, which is a philanthropic advisor and grant-making organisation. I gained this internship through the Careers & Enterprise Centre’s QProjects Summer programme. I am really looking forward to starting my internship, but I must say, even the selection process itself was beneficial and very informative. For example, I had to submit a written application, along with my CV, and then I had to do a graduate-level interview. This has given me a taste of what to expect after graduation, and now I feel slightly less nervous about applying for jobs and doing interviews!

Summer holidays are a great time to gain as much professional experience as possible. I would strongly recommend that you use all the resources that are available from the Careers & Enterprise Centre at Queen Mary to secure a summer job or internship that interests you.

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