A Day in the Life of a UCL Intern
23 September 2013
A paid internship with a London small business is an experience I would recommend, says Palmyre Manivet
For the last three months Palmyre Manivet, an archaeology student at UCL, has been an intern at digital experience agency Matter of Form, through the UCL Advances internship scheme. She explains how her experience has opened up a new world for her and what she’s learnt from a summer spent at the cutting edge of communications.
From being an archaeology student with an inordinate love of sitting in dusty libraries, reading about old things that have come out of Middle Eastern soil to have somehow been allowed to participate in an agency that is at the cutting edge in website design and social media marketing was a fantastic opportunity.
Working there for three months has taught me a huge amount, and I look back fondly on the early days when I would desperately try to hide the feeling of terror rising up inside me as talk of SEO, Google Analytics, CMS and CRM was flying all around me (‘do you know what that is? No? Right. OK… Let me explain’).
I’ve had the opportunity to try my hand at a huge variety of tasks – from conducting research that would feed into (and in one case, even become the backbone of) pitches to potential clients, to daily social media updates (I’d never used Twitter or Instagram before), to building an IKEA desk during the office redesign (it’s still standing solidly, I’m pleased to say), to serving as a hand model for one of the creative team’s photo shoots (next step: being on the cover of Vogue), to writing articles promoting particular clients and that were posted onto various blogs whom I’d emailed offering to write a guest post for them. There was never a dull moment.
The rush you get when doing something you don’t feel at all qualified to do is heady- a mixture of worry and disbelief and excitement that you’re actually being allowed, no required, to get on with it and prove that you’re capable of doing that thing you’ve never done before. Most of what I’ve done here fell into that category. And the feeling is indescribable when you complete that task and find that no one is telling you it’s a total disaster but, on the contrary, feedback is positive.
It has been hugely exciting working in a small agency. It’s highly stimulating: you’re never lost in your own bubble as you get to interact with people whose minds will totally boggle yours.
Secondly, everyone is busy, which means that no one has time to nanny the intern: I was instantly given individual responsibility and accountability for my work.
Related to this is the fact that I have never felt like I was ‘just’ an intern – my ideas and my work were treated in the same way as everyone else’s: with the same expectation of high standard and the same respect, giving me confidence to express my opinions and suggest ideas, and giving me a real sense of satisfaction.
Working for an SME has been invaluable – I would recommend it without any hesitation to other students.
Matter of Form digital experience agency - http://matterofform.com
UCL Advances internship scheme - http://www.ucl.ac.uk/advances/support/internship-programme