My experience of working while studying at uni
Hi, I’m Angelica and I’m in my second year of my English Literature and Creative Writing degree. I’m a Student Ambassador, which means I am employed by the University of Brighton, and I work in the Outreach team with local schools alongside my course.
I love being a Student Ambassador!
Being a Student Ambassador is really great, as it means I’m gaining valuable employability skills, meeting a range of students on different courses, and applying for a wide variety of shifts to fit around my studies. It must be noted that each shift is not guaranteed, and the job is more casual than part time, meaning it may not be sustainable for all students, and should be treated as more of a top-up job instead of a main source of income.
Although being a Student Ambassador is accessible and relevant to all students, I have found that it has been especially useful in giving me experience in areas relevant to my course. I found out that I enjoy working with children and young people by being given the opportunity to do shifts which support and lead activities with or in schools – such as Professor Seagull and The University Game.
Work with primary schools: Professor Seagull
Professor Seagull was a shift where a primary school class of Year 6 pupils were invited for a full day of activities on the Falmer Campus to help introduce them to the idea of university. Before the shift, I was given excellent training by experienced people in the Outreach department, which gave me the confidence to deliver a whole session on my own with the children. Although it was very nerve-wracking to begin with, I learnt a lot and was really able to build my confidence. This activity was run in the summer holidays, meaning I didn’t have any deadlines to think about and I was able to apply for the shift as I live at home in Brighton full time.
Work with secondary schools: The University Game
The University Game is another activity which I really enjoy. It’s usually led with Year 7 pupils at local secondary schools, and myself and other ambassadors have a table of students each to guide through the game. Created by an ex-student, the game is similar to The Game of Life, and it helps students to discover more about university, gain experiences and make decisions as if they were uni students themselves. It’s a full-on day of playing the game during five or six sessions, but it’s really rewarding watching them engage, and knowing that the students will leave the session having learnt something about university. Conveniently, I have Thursdays free on my timetable, and as these shifts are always advertised on weekdays, I’m quite often available to work. I also enjoy doing shorter shifts helping at workshops in local secondary schools, which I can usually fit into my day around lectures and seminars.
I love the variety of work, meeting and interacting with many university and school students and being able to experiment, learn and reflect upon my experiences in a safe and supportive environment to better my professional self. I always tell people how much I love being a Student Ambassador, and my experience has helped shape my ideas on areas of work I’d like to explore in the future. Having this excellent experience has added a new dimension to my time at the University of Brighton, and it has inspired me to search for jobs in Outreach in the future.