The Warwick Summer Internships (WSI) have been developed exclusively for University of Warwick students and paid opportunities will be available this summer at either small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s), charities or with an internal university department. You can find out more here and in this article, Psychology graduate Linda Moronfolu reflects on her experience lat year.
Internships seemed very corporate to me. The dreaded early mornings; coffee stained breath and severe sleep deprivation! Wearing awkward and dull coloured business suits, jam packed into a train with other weary commuters. Boring office work, inputting numbers into spreadsheets and coding. This contrasted with my perspective of what a career in Psychology could look like. Therefore, I had never considered applying for internships. However, when I received an email about the Warwick Summer Internship (WSI), I figured that I could at least browse…
To my surprise, there was a wide range of options and industries represented! For example, working on campus, for small and medium enterprises, start-ups. Assisting with marketing, programming and educational experiences. Impressed by the diversity of opportunities, I applied for seven internships and received the role of Widening Participation and Evaluation Intern for Warwick’s Student Recruitment Outreach and Admissions Services. This involved collecting data about a University based summer school for year 8 boys.
During the internship, I gained insight into a full-time work environment. Very early in, I struggled to fully commit to my working hours. I was physical and mentally unwell. Therefore, I needed regular check-ups and blood tests. This meant that I had to constantly nip in and out of work. Additionally, working full time was a lot of pressure emotionally and socially for me. I am quite an introverted and anxious person, so working in a large office (of over 100 people!) was immensely difficult. My colleagues were welcoming and warm. Regardless, I spent a lot of time overthinking. Do I sound stupid? Do they think I am unfriendly and rude? Am I supposed to talk to my colleagues whilst I am working?
A couple of weeks in, I had a panic attack at my desk. I spent seven to eight hours a day sitting at a desk where I felt miserable, anxious and uncomfortable. This wasn’t at all the fulfilling and exciting feeling that I had anticipated. Finally, I talked to my line manager. She was very accommodating and kind. She allowed me to start my shift earlier in the day when fewer people were in the office so that I felt less emotional pressure. Additionally, I had the option of breaking up my day and working only in the mornings and evenings, or potentially somewhere outside of the office if need be. As a result, I worked more effectively, efficiently and happily. Therefore, moving forward, I think that I will thrive more in a flexible, reduced hour’s environment as opposed to full time work.
Additionally, I learned is that research can be creative. Prior to starting my internship, I applied for and was accepted to study a taught MSc in Psychological Research. However, during my third year, I lost all my motivation to study. Research had become dry like concrete and I hated dragging myself into university every day, hunched over a computer. Therefore, by the summer, my MSc felt like an impending doom.
However, during my internship, I rediscovered my love for research. I realised that it was completely possible to integrate creativity with research. As part of my research, my line manager and I wanted thirteen years old’s to talk about their perceptions of university and higher education. To do this, we played a game with the students. Additionally, the writing process was quite enjoyable. The method that I was using, a thematic analysis, was like using other people’s words to write a story. Moreover, my line manager was keen on developing me as a person. She pushed me as a researcher, providing constructive criticism on my writing and scaffolding my understanding of Widening Participation. She also encouraged me to grow creatively, especially during the process of presenting my research to the department. Instead of a computerised poster or presentation, my line manager let me draw a poster. She helped me with developing templates and bouncing ideas. Additionally, whenever I felt like I had taken on a mammoth responsibility, she assured me that I was competent enough for the task. In the six and a half weeks of my internship, I had not only started and finished a full research project, but I was able to channel my creativity into the role.
The WSI was definitely a great experience for me and I would definitely recommend that if you are considering applying, you should!