Subject: History and Film
Student status: Home, Finalist
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I didn't do anything in the first year work-wise, I'd never taken job whilst I was studying because I've always been really focused on trying to get the best grades and I just about had enough money on the bursaries and grants so I didn't need a part time job. I thought after uni what did I want to do and I realised that you can get a degree and it can be great but people do want work experience now. I thought, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but I did do quite a lot of charity work. I thought, 'Oh maybe I could do that.' I went to the careers office, they were really helpful and they found me two different kinds of charity work which I did at the same time in my second year.

Again, I also used coping skills, I suppose, with that because I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I should have just done this in first year when it didn't matter. Now I'm at the end of my second year and I'm taking on …' because I did these interviews, one interview took much longer so I didn't think I was accepted for that one. I took the first job and then I got the other one. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, they're both really good' so I thought, 'I'll just do them.' I had to hold down both the jobs and then also do the degree in second and third year but I managed it fine. I obviously built up my skills there.

They got me two jobs, they got me one that was fundraising but not on the street, not that kind of stuff. It was in an office for a charity that works in India with women. I was writing grant proposals and going through the database and just writing thank yous for donations and stuff. I did get to do quite good work, the grant proposals was you had to write about the whole of the charity and you had to tailor it to the company or the fund that you're writing to. If they have specific people that they donate to you have to tailor the charity to what they want. One was for £5000, the other was for 25 so it felt like quite a bit responsibility.

Then the second job that I did which I'm still doing, that's social work and it's at a women's centre at the drop-in service. You deal with all different kinds like distressed women, just women who want to use the internet or they need to know how to get to their council or serious cases like sexual abuse. Two really good experiences. I think mainly one of the skills is working better with people, not to say that I wasn't or was antisocial before but especially the women's centre, you just have to be able to listen better, cope with stuff. We had one case where the girl was really distressed and she brought in injurious weapons to hurt herself with. We tried to get her to hospital where she actually knew somebody, she then started hallucinating in the street, we had to call the police and the ambulance. I think that before I'd be really daunted but I was absolutely fine.

Those are extreme examples but I developed much better interpersonal skills, just being more confident, just more on the ball, really, you just grow up a lot at university. Those jobs were really good. The fundraising job, with the grant proposal I had to write then, it helped with my essay writing skills and just my general literary skills.