Working from home as a Widening Participation Graduate Intern

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Adapting to working from home as a Graduate Intern has been both challenging and rewarding; it is not something that we have ever had to do before so the concept is all quite new. Given how much of the work we usually do at the Widening Participation Unit involves campus tours and engaging with students in-person, adapting the programmes we offer onto an online platform has been interesting.

One such event the team helped to deliver was the Senior Academy induction at the end of April, where we welcomed a new cohort of participants onto the programme. Typically this induction would involve bringing the students to Queen’s University and helping them get to know each other through ice breaker activities and games, as well as giving them an insight into university life through a campus tour and study skills activities. Unfortunately with current circumstances, we had to try and adapt our intended programme to work as an online event while still remaining as fun and interactive as possible. This proved to be a challenge but an extremely rewarding one as it highlighted the power of the internet in today’s age! We had a total of around 30 students who we split into different groups to get them mingling and interacting and played different activities; everyone got involved and it was wonderful to see the students engaging.

As well as this induction, we plan to host the Senior Academy ‘residential’ online. In a normal year, this would also involve bringing participants to the university and giving them an insight into life as a student, including staying in Queen’s accommodation and partaking in a range of activities. This year, we are hoping to host the residential online over four weeks instead, splitting the students into groups depending on their subject area of interest. From there the students will work together to produce a group project based on their chosen subject. As the lead for the Psychology Project Group for Senior Academy, Jamie has been working on developing the aims and objectives of this group project. Drawing on his background in psychology, he wants to highlight the future employability options for a psychology graduate to help young people understand what sort of careers are possible with this degree, and what it’s like to study psychology at Queen’s.

We as a team are looking forward to continuing to deliver our individual programmes for students online, as it offers us a chance to be as creative as possible, try new ideas that we normally wouldn’t have a chance to do and encourages us to think outside the box!

Blog by Jane Doran and Jamie Waring - Graduate Interns, working to support the Senior and Junior Academies at Queen’s University Belfast

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