My name is James, I've just finished school, and next year I will be off to university. I'm a keen tennis player, and I enjoy writing. At school, I did English, History and Religious Studies, and, as with a number of humanities, it does not necessarily lend itself directly to a career. However, I was pleased to find that the transferable skills I had developed could be applied to work in communcations, a career path I had never previously considered. Communications covers a range of work including student news, social media, videography, and press releases.
Working at Anglia Ruskin has been great. Given that my only previous knowledge of what working might be like was the monotonous and depressing setting portrayed in the BBC's hit satire, 'The Office', I was met with a pleasant surprise as I settled into work at ARU. I found that the work was fulfilling and fun, instead of arguing with my new colleagues about the prices of different pieces of stationary, I occupied my time thinking about the best ways to frame a news story, or how to construct gripping social media post; engaging people in the great work which universities do.
Beyond reassuring me that not all offices I might eventually end up in are boring, and monotonous, my experience taught me valuable skills. In addition to honing my writing skills, I have a better understanding of working in a team, as well as the IT skills which are necessary for work in communications. The experience has allowed me to develop the practical skills which are often overlooked in traditional school curricula in the all-encompassing quest for good exam results.
During my time here, I have tried to do my bit to improve student life. As someone who has recently applied to university, I was disappointed by the way universities treated prospective applicants as customers. Recieving countless emails from faceless institutions trying to force you to choose them, I felt one area I could help ARU with is their communications with applicants. I suggested sending less emails, of a more personal quality; rather than bombarding busy students, I hope this feedback will make the process more palatable.
Nonetheless, working in a university is fundamentally different from the standard work undertaken in typical offices. Although many would like to reduce universities to the same status as companies with customers and profits, there are still important differences. Working for Anglia Ruskin, I have been struck by the focus on improving student experiences, and ensuring they get the best possible education. In this way, I would say one of the key advantages of working in universities, and why I would recommend it, is that there remains a degree of authenticity in the work; it isn't just a drive for profit, it educates people, and transforms lives for the better.