23 May 2018 - 10:20 am

Being an enterprise intern – a year in review

This year, whenever I met someone knew, the conversations went like this:

Person A: So what do you do?

Me: Well, I’m doing a full time Masters, but I also have three part time jobs.

Person A: Oh my, three jobs?

Me: Yes, but I don’t work a lot of hours overall. I still have time to study and to occasionally go to the cinema and theatre.

Person A: So what are the jobs?

Me: Well I work as an ambassador, I work in a coffee shop and I also work as an Enterprise Intern.

Person A: What’s that? The intern thing, I mean.

And this would be the moment when I would have to take a deep breath because this job is not a one-sentence description type of job. Even though I could technically describe it through one sentence: developing and supporting projects. But what does that sentence mean exactly?

Well, every intern role is a developmental learning experience. You’re meant to challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and do some experience based learning. At USE, this takes the form of projects. But projects are very widely defined. Having a project at any given point can mean any of the following:

* It’s 5pm on a Tuesday, I am in the Diamond preparing the materials for the next session of Social Innovation Lab, whilst also answering questions from students and recording attendance. I’m supporting the running of the sessions for five weeks in which students (and myself) learn more about social enterprises.

*It’s 8pm on a Friday night and I am in Endcliffe, at The Edge, running Pitch Club, a Business ideas pitch competition for students, where the best idea of the night wins £100. And I’m one of the judges.

*It’s 1pm on a Monday and I’m designing my very own project: a three days online crash course for Women in Leadership with materials and assignments and certificates. And I excitedly get to sign the certificates.

*It’s 4pm on a Wednesday and I’m writing a blog for the USE website to reflect upon my learning experiences, or because I’ve conducted an interview with one of our in house entrepreneurs or because I just want to share something interesting.

*It’s 2pm on a Thursday and I’m delivering a leadership training session to students that have been elected to be future representatives of societies. And I share my opinion and experience in a fun, interactive way, whilst feeling empowered by the empowerment element of the session.

*It’s 9am on a Monday and I’m supporting a session for students that came for a Summer School here from Singapore and it’s incredible to meet such brilliant kids with brillliang minds and personalities.

*It’s 6pm on a Tuesday and I’m attending the Student Employee of the Year Awards and I somehow win the On Campus Above and Beyond category and whilst I know I worked so hard for it, it seems unreal. And then I’m told I was got Highly Commended at the Regional Level.

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression from my unchronological recount of events: I didn’t work every day for USE, and actually I didn’t work more than 8-10 hours per week. But due to the very flexible nature of the job and its incredible freedom to do and join projects I was interested in, I could pick different hours in different days, accommodate that around my studies and support or develop amazing projects.

I’m soon approaching the end of my year with the only regret that I won’t be working in this supportive environment anymore. Nevertheless, USE gave me something more than experience: it set some standards around autonomy, freedom and empowerment that I want in a future work environment. And I think that’s an incredible thing for which I am grateful.

Here’s a picture of m being all teary and happy from getting recognition for my work at USE:

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  • About the author

    Ana-Gabriela Popa

    Ana-Gabriela Popa

    MSc Leadership and Management student at The University of Sheffield. Enterprise Intern. Global Citizen. Feminist. Avid reader. Series binge-watcher. Formerly International Students' Officer at Sheffield Students' Union, Chair of International Students' Committee, Vice-President Marketing at AIESEC Sheffield, Widening Participation Intern at USE. BA International Relations and Politics graduate.