I found out about the Warwick Summer Internships (WSI) during my role as a Student Careers and Skills Engagement Agent. I received weekly emails from my line manager about the opportunities within the University and I advertised them to and informed other students about them. Around February, I started advertising the WSI and decided to browse through them myself. I expected to be disappointed because “internships” do not tend to go with psychology. Well, unless you want to go into banking. However, browsing through the options, I was astonished by the wide range of opportunities and industries represented.
All in all, I applied for around seven internships (more than I care to admit were last-minute applications!). I received two interviews and went to one. Around fifteen minutes after the interview, I was given a phone call and told that I got the internship. I screamed down the phone and then asked my employers if I had actually heard right. ==
Fast forward, two months, I started my internship. I am working as a Widening Participation and Evaluation Intern in the Student Recruitment Outreach and Admissions Department. My project is working on a year eight summer school and evaluating if it is effective for the children. I am four weeks into my internship and so far, and I have learned so much already!
Foremost, I have broadened my knowledge of research. As a Psychology student, I am not a stranger to research. However, there has been a huge focus on quantitative methods (using numbers and running lab experiments). My internship has had a huge focus on qualitative data (finding out about experiences through words) and as part of the project, I have had to run a focus group, phone interviews, and observations. Initially, I felt as if collecting this data would be biting off way more than I could chew. However, I quickly learned the skills on the job, through training and asking my line managers questions. Once I collected the data, I had to write up and analyse the data. Again, I have very little experience analysing qualitative data, so I had to do a lot of reading up around the different types of analyses. I will not lie – it has been a lot of effort, and I never run out of anything to do. However, this experience has boosted my confidence in research. I have realised that I am able to pick up relevant research skills quickly and efficiently.
Additionally, I have learned about the pragmatics of work. Prior to my internship, I have worked many part-time jobs. However, most of them have been remote. Therefore, I have never had much routine work. With my internship, I am working full time in an office. I now have a better understanding of office etiquette. For instance, starting at nine in the morning really means arriving at least five minutes before. Also, working in an office doesn’t mean sitting at my desk all day. I can go to get a coffee and maybe have a quick stretch every hour or so when my body is feeling a bit stiff. In doing the internship, I have had to challenge many of my misconceptions about working full time and in an office. I feel like going forward, I have a better idea of what works for me in terms of work.
I have two more weeks left on my internship, and I will be sad to finish. However, I will (hopefully) take away all that I have learned and apply it to my future.