I was lucky enough to work at National Student Pride for my work experience and I not only developed a lot of new skills but also had the most amazing time. I was recommended the role of ‘Social Media Officer’ by a friend who was already working with the group, so I decided to apply for it and after an interview was lucky enough to be given the role. Over my time at Student Pride I learned how to successfully grow social media accounts, interact with people/big brands over social media in a professional way and create fun content. Not only this but I also got to help prepare for and host a large event which welcomed students, sponsors, and many big brands.
My main roles at National Student Pride and the Social Media Officer were:
- Keeping their Twitter/Instagram/Facebook updated (to a schedule)
- Posting up to date LGBT news from specific media sponsors
- Posting content which kept the main platinum/ silver/ gold sponsors happy
- Liaising with other members of the committee so that I could post information that they needed out
- Maintaining the main NSP themes
- Creating new branding on Instagram/growing this platform
- Making regular contact with students and graduates
- Posting on all platforms during the event
My final audio project was an audiobook for the book ‘Saving Maya’ by Jeanette Harvey, a story about a dog being fostered by a loving family after spending her life in a puppy farm. I used two chapters from the book, one depicting a dog living in a happy family home and the other in a puppy farm. My commissioned piece was asked to be “serious yet suitable for younger audiences and as realistic as possible”. They wanted to make sure that the differences between the two dog’s lives were extremely clear.
After I had been recommended the role at National Student Pride I did a fair amount of research into the charity, what I would be taking on and what NSP is all about. Student Pride is a relatively unique event which means that there isn’t so much competition around, however, this spurred me on to create content that was the best of the best. It was important to me that I kept their entire brand at the forefront of what I posted however it was fun to add my own twist and personality to the posts. This was something that got commented on often as it was the best their social media had ever been/looked, I am still very proud of all the hard work I put in and what I created. By making the posts on each platform fun and less serious (there can be a lot of negative events within the LGBT community due to homophobic people) it also meant that I managed to massively grow their followers on each of their social media, which was a massive goal for me. Managing and queueing up posts for all the platforms took me at least 4-5 hours each week, alongside doing university work and keeping up with other parts of life, meant that I had a lot to do and not much time to do it. So seeing people appreciate my work and successfully growing their platforms was massively motivating to me, which I learned was something that helped me a lot. Being proud of myself for things I have created is something very important to me and what I learned from my time at Student Pride that I have taken on with me to my other projects, including final audio project.
During my time at Student Pride, I learned a lot of new skills and achieved a lot of things. I continued to learn and develop my skills whilst working in a large group of people, as we all had different ideas. Due to the fact that I was part of the Social Media Team (a group of four), it meant that I learned how to divvy up projects and ensure that we all shared out our roles equally. Working in a group can be amazing as you get to hear so many different ideas, but it also allows people to slack because they know other people will have to pick up the work. This is something that happened whilst I was working with Student Pride which is possibly the worst part of working in a group, so I was lucky that I only had to rely on myself for my final audiobook. This situation taught me just how important it is to pull your weight when working within a group as you can’t let your team down.
Luckily, my main idea for my final audio project popped into my head whilst Simon Le Vans was talking about his own project in class so I found that I didn’t need to research an idea. However, I did need to do research into the book/author and what it means to be a puppy in a puppy farm. I started the process by watching documentaries on Puppy Farming as although I had a pretty good idea as to what Puppy Farming was all about, I also wanted to understand what it would be like to physically stand in the middle of a farm and hear everything. This is especially important as one of my scenes involved making it appear as if you are sat in a puppy farm with Maya, of the two main characters. Research is such an important part of any form of work/work experience as it not only provides you with a greater insight into the company/project and can really impress who you are working for.
Transitioning from my work experience to my commissioned piece was a fairly smooth process. Due to the fact that most of the work that I did at NSP was given to me in tasks and I was left trusted to do all the creative parts, which is pretty similar to the audio project. As I was given a brief and had to create it. However, I definitely got a lot more guidance during my work experience, so I had to learn how to guide myself and take responsibility for what I was producing. An issue that I came across during both experiences was that I get burnt out very easily as I can let the tasks overwhelm me, which is something that I need to learn to work on. Furthermore, working on tasks for such long periods of time, especially by myself, can become quite boring which did lead me to have a creative block during my final audio project.
In terms of gaining commission, it was important for me to ensure that my commissioner knew I knew a lot about the book and that I could do it justice. In order to do this, I made sure that I put plenty of research into the author and illustrator, so I could get a good feel behind what they were putting into the book and to ensure that they knew I was passionate. It was important to me that they knew that I wanted to do their book justice and make it as authentic and perfect (to their brief) as I could.
Working with external commissioners and new people in the workplace is always fun, stressful but fun. Finding new people to get to know and work with always helps me grow as a person which is something that I really appreciate, especially as it always opens my eyes to how other people like to work or things that they like to produce. Being around creative people is always so eye-opening and I find is an amazing way to spur on my own creativity. I have also learned that I get overwhelmed very easily as I always worry too much that I am not producing exactly what the commissioner would like. Due to the fact that I knew my commissioner personally, I was worried that she was only saying that she liked what I had created to be polite, whereas I know in the workplace/a “real” commission they would not be so kind if what I had produced was not up to scratch. Furthermore, another thing that I learned was that due to the work experience and commission piece being university work I feel as though I did not take them as seriously as I would have if they were my full-time job. That being said, I did act professionally whilst doing my work experience/ commission piece, but I do feel as though I didn’t put as much of my time in as much as I could have, specifically my commissioned piece.
If I’m being completely honest, I’m not entirely sure what career that I am aiming for, but I have had plenty of practice at different job roles and have a range of skills that I can transfer to most jobs. One of my favourite skills that I have picked up and improved is my people skills as I used to be very scared of working with people, but now I feel like I can just about talk to anyone. The first of my five practical steps towards helping me onto the next phase after university is keeping my eyes wide open. As I have previously mentioned, I can easily get overwhelmed and work myself into a small space but it is important that I keep my eyes open to opportunities and new paths. Another step that I plan to enforce is signing up to as many sites/get notifications of job opportunities so that I can a good idea into what jobs are about. Step three is research, research, research. It is very important that I don’t get complacent and make sure that I research into all opportunities/ talking to my contacts and different job routes I can go down. Furthermore, another step is to believe in myself, as it is very important that I make sure that I know that I have the ability to do what I have applied for. My final step would be to take a leap and go for it, as I have a habit of procrastinating which is also a flaw of mine. I know that these steps are mainly more psychological than physically doing something but a lot of my problems.
Transitioning from my work experience to producing a commission was a relatively easy journey. During my work experience I had to accommodate working with and for many different people, an example of this was when I had to locate a suitable venue for a photo shoot that we did for NSP. Although it wasn’t a physical piece of work, a whole team of people were relying on me to provide a suitable location which fit a certain brief. At first, I did find this prospect very daunting and did procrastinate getting in touch with the venue as it was something that I had not done before, similarly working on a piece of commissioned audio for someone else is also something I had never done. I thought it would be impossible to find somewhere that would be 100% perfect and cater to everyone’s needs but I managed to find the perfect place that they asked me to book again the following year. Although I won’t be booking any more commissions in the new future (unless I change my mind about my plans for the future), I am content with what I produced for my final audio project as it matched my commission from the client perfectly.