By Natalie Campbell, Student Support Intern
I’m Natalie, a now third year (ahh!) English with Creative writing student.
My internship has been with the lovely people in Student Support Services, working on three major projects. I have been working my butt off for the last eight weeks to meet deadlines for various different aspects of these projects, which has been an exciting whirlwind experience, hopefully you can get a flavour of what I’ve been up to!
So, what is Student Support Services?
To be honest, since I’ve studied here I haven’t needed to interact with Student Support, so going into this internship I wasn’t sure what to expect. Turns out, there are four main branches of Student Support Services; the Student Advice & Support Office, the Multi-faith Chaplaincy, Counselling and the Student Resident Assistants (SRAs). Each branch handles different aspects of support, from ensuring students have practical help and provisions in classes and exams, to being a listening ear when everything goes to heck and you need someone to talk to. Everyone plays an important role in encouraging students to make the most of their time at University and making sure students can stand on their own two feet by the time they graduate.
Brand New Marketing!
This was the first project I began to tackle as I have experience of writing copy so I had at least a vague idea of what I needed to do. I spent a lot of time trawling the University website, meeting with people from all branches of student support and trying to organise ideas into a cohesive jumping off point. After meeting with the Student Experience team and working out exactly what materials were needed, I got to work writing up the copy. Eight weeks in, I am now reviewing the first draft of the new branded materials, which are already looking great, and making any adjustments that the team or I think would be good. These should (fingers crossed) be ready to go for the start of the new semester, both online and in print, so if you’re wondering what Student Support can help you with check them out!
Flowchart of all the new marketing materials I’ve worked on!
My role here was much more involved than I originally thought it would be, which was an exciting prospect! The transition event was to take place over two days and was to be a comprehensive university experience for incoming students with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC). The event itself happened last week, we had nine incoming students attend, staying in Hillhead Student Village and visiting lots of different people and departments all across the campus, as well as having a tour around Aberdeen Sports Village, a visit to Lidl, and a cooking session in the evening which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. I also wrote lots (and lot and lots) of copy for a Transition Days Guide which covered every aspect of university life I could possibly think of. I had a brilliant, though a little stressful, time over the two days the event took place and interacting with the incoming students was an absolute highlight!
The finished Transition Days Guide! It was amazing to see my work in real life!
Staff Guide to Supporting Students
This began as a very basic guide, but after talking to staff across Student Support, Personal Tutors, School Administration Officers, and anyone else I could catch a few minutes with, it grew arms and legs. The guide, currently still only in second draft of copy, is now a behemoth of around 8000 words, which may bode well for my dissertation writing skills but not so well for a ‘simple’ guide for staff. I have included every form of support students can access internal to the university and externally, as well as different scenarios that frequently appear and how to support students in distress. It’s all useful information, however we’ll see over the next few weeks what will stay and what we’ll cut. This will be the final project for me to wrap up, which is a bit bittersweet.
My time at Student Support Services has been a wild ride; I’ve developed so many skills and participated in projects I wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to get involved in. I’ve gained a real insight into the innerworkings of the University, and all the fantastic people that are here to support students through their individual journeys. I’m so happy that I took the opportunity to gain experience in a field that I’m looking to explore after my own time at the University.