November 8, 2022, by Leah Sharpe
How Bright Network Internship Experience Helped Decide on My Career Path
By Alice Bennett, Politics and International Relations student blogger
During a summer of frantically applying for internships and work experience at the last minute, taking part in the BRIGHT Network internship saved me from wasting three months of free time, made a great addition to my CV and, most importantly, was a starting point for deciding what I wanted to do after university.
Having been living in blissful ignorance trapped in the university bubble for two years back in 2021, thinking about my life after education was something I avoided until the summer before my final year. Although I had good grades, I suddenly felt inadequate when it came to actual work experience. This, along with the pandemic limiting many opportunities concerning societies and internships resulted in an anxiety-ridden summer as I finally realised that my CV was severely lacking and I only had one year left.
Suddenly, in a frenzy, I applied to anything and everything I could. But, because I hadn’t organised or applied to anything in advance, my options were limited and many deadlines for internships and work experience had passed. Everyone else seemed to have done summer-long internships and placements and I was stuck at home.
How BRIGHT Network saved my summer
Eventually, because I had started to be proactive and apply to things, I was able to take part in the BRIGHT Network Internship Experience UK in Public Sector, Policy & Charity. It took place over a few days and consisted of taking part in workshops and skill sessions, learning about soft skills such as resilience as well as professionalism and workplace etiquette; I didn’t realise that appropriate email styles were so important.
Discovering my interest in politics and the civil service
On top of this, I also attended several talks by people in this wide and variety-filled sector. One speaker caught my attention who worked for the Civil Service. They gave us a practice project in which we drafted a proposal for changes concerning the allocation of museum funds, learning how to meet different groups’ needs whilst considering the budget that we had and the cultural and economic implications.
This was a particularly useful aspect of the experience, as I already had an interest in politics from modules that I had taken in my undergraduate degree (International Media and Communications). In fact, it partly motivated me to apply for a master’s degree in the school of politics, which I started this academic year.
Learn from my mistakes and apply early!
When looking for internships and work experience, I would strongly advise other students to be more organised than I was. Start looking for summer internships and experiences well in advance to avoid unnecessary stress! The Nottingham Internship Scheme is a good place to start, as well as looking at the Nottingham Advantage Award and thinking about what societies to join. Even just googling “online internships” like I did in my panic-stricken state can help you find some great opportunities like the BRIGHT Network.
How to get involved
The BRIGHT Network Internship experience is a great starting point if you’re not sure exactly what you want to do but want to do something about it. It also looks great on the CV and has many other internships for different sectors.
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