Subject: English Literature and Philosophy
Student status: Home, Graduate
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I think the transition from being a student to being an employee is quite hard actually, harder than I expected.  Not only because you're suddenly working in a team, you're working in an environment with people who have been employees there for quite some time who know what they're doing. And you really can feel sometimes that you're thrown in at the deep end particularly as I said I was leading the organisation, which is a huge step up from being a student in a lecture hall or a seminar room to then being someone who is making decisions at the top of an organisation working with senior management. 

Delegating as well, I found delegating to people really hard.  I suppose sometimes I'm quite bossy but I've never had experience of delegating to people in that way in an organisation before because I had always worked in part-time jobs you know for instance waitressing or in shops where really you are delegated to, you don't get the opportunity to delegate to others. 

There is less structure as well.  I think this more specifically to the job than employment generally and actually when I was doing my degree I didn't feel like there was much structure because I was doing an arts course and I only had four hours a week in my final year.  But I always had tasks set for me, I had deadlines to work to, I had modules laid out for me and books to read each week and so actually it was more structured than it felt. 

Whereas when I started my job it really was left quite open for me, I could do projects on a whole range of things.  I did get training but I think partly because the organisation was changing quite a lot at the time I perhaps wasn't supported as much as I am now.  And it was quite daunting actually.  But as the year progressed I've had more and more support from the staff there, from the other student officers that I work with, and been able to really work a lot on my strengths and my weaknesses.  And of course I've had to do some things that I enjoy like sitting in meetings in formal environments, which I don't enjoy.  But there are other aspects that I do really enjoy like supporting the students, getting the students involved in projects and activities that they wouldn't of otherwise, giving them support and advice.  It's been a steep learning curve but it's been really worthwhile.

You talked about the organisation being quite open could you say a little bit about the things that you've had to pick up in terms of adjusting to the culture and expectations of the employer and employing organisation?

The culture of the organisation actually I found fairly easy to adapt to because I've been involved with the organisation as a student.  And so I was used to some of the faces that worked there, I was used to some of the aims of the organisation, which are to represent students and to support them. 

What was quite a culture shock I guess for me was to be in that position of power and to be leading tasks, leading projects and liaising with senior management.  But it's quite a laid back organisation in one sense and so in some ways that made it easier because it was very easy to get along with the other employees.  But in another sense there seemed to be a lack of structure I guess for someone like me who only recently graduated.