Sprint is a cost-free female empowerment project sponsored by Goldman Sachs and Severn Trent offered to female students. Before Christmas, I still had not quite found my feet; I was still in what I would describe as the ‘Warwick Whirlwind’. The Sprint programme seemed to offer explanations for some of these questions such as how to participate more in seminars, hence I applied and was successful. The Sprint programme was three days long and ran during reading week (week 6 of Term 2) and had a variety of great outcomes which I have listed below. So if you identify as a female this is why you should participate in Sprint:
Sprint enabled me to meet people from all years, backgrounds and courses. On a day-to-day basis, you are probably spending time with your coursemates and society friends. However, Sprint allowed me to meet people who shared similar worries, but also similar ambitions, in my student life. At the event they put us into groups of about 6-8 and the first day was spent getting to know your group. This made it much easier to make new friends. Even now the programme has finished I continue to meet up with these friends and have a good old chat. Sprint was worth it for the friends alone.
Another fabulous opportunity that Sprint provided was hearing from Warwick graduates. Each day, before lunch (which was included), a speaker would talk for around thirty minutes;sharing what the world of work was like for them as females, and how they had used (what is usually perceived as more feminine skills) to reach the top. Speakers came from different sectors; from global sustainable development and finance to scientific research. The speakers promoted the ability to ask for what you want and to talk to your employer about how best you can work for/with them, but also how the employer can support you to do so.
One way in which the employers supported the speakers in their working life was to provide mentors to ask questions of and help them see different ways of approaching different situations. At the end of the programme, we were able to select a mentor to whom we could pose questions and ask for guidance. My mentor works for Severn Trent and I will be meeting her later this month to gain guidance on internships, future career goals and also general working life, including application forms. There were a variety of mentors to choose from and this meant that you were able to find one that suited your personality and the type of guidance you were seeking. Sprint showed us that although the mentors were there for support, they were not there to lecture you or tell you what to do, but rather a sounding board to help you make the change you wanted.
Sprint was made up of a variety of activities; discussing within groups about issues we faced at university such as the ever-growing reading list, time management and how to be assertive without being aggressive. Workshops gave you ways to approach these goals, but also ensured you put them into practice through mini-exercises. This showed that we also had different approaches, but we need to find a balance; one task was about what time we got up to work. Times varied from 3 am to 2 pm, showing a balance is needed to find what works best for you.
At Sprint we had to talk to people of different backgrounds and perspectives which provided us with confidence and each component of Sprint helped build our confidence in one way or another. For example, talking to new people or it finding strategies to have confidence in the workplace Sprint provided the support for your confidence to grow.
I hope that this blog has provided you with an insight into what the Sprint programme offered me. Please feel free to ask questions about the programme in the comment section below.