By Katie Millington. When people hear the word intern, immediately, the image of young students or graduates fetching ample amounts of coffee springs to mind. Thankfully, I am yet to experience this stereotype, and still remain with my dignity and coffee cup held high.
Being an intern at Arthur Terry School is very different to any previous perception of what it means to be an intern. From experience, I know this is not always the way. Before beginning my time at Arthur Terry, I was an intern for an online web magazine for eight months. Although benefiting through writing style and experience in that sector, the way interns are treated is not always that of the kindness of Arthur Terry. Often, interns are expected to work for free, but to the same level as their superior, who is of course, being paid. Yet, a level of commitment is crucial to succeed or progress in an internship, but promises of progression are met with mundane responsibilities and repetitive tasks, which is when you realise the progression does not exist.
However, working at Arthur Terry has restored my belief in internships. Immediately, I was welcomed into the school and provided with many more responsibilities than I had ever been given at other companies. Equipped with my new ID card and lanyard, I felt truly independent and was happy to embrace all the new experiences Arthur Terry could offer for me.
Being an ex-student at the school, instantly I was met with familiar faces greeting me back into the environment, which makes a lot of difference when coming into a new workplace. Due to my involvement in Drama and the School Shows, the Y13 sixth formers were some students I recognised from the show days, and were happy to lend a hand when it came to writing up interesting stories from around the school.
From tweeting the latest news and updates from school events, to going out and collecting the stories myself, a day in the life of an intern is ever-changing. When trying to focus on one story, I am constantly distracted by running into an old teacher or pupil, who, by chatting, also has a story for me. The busyness is something I am used to and love working with; a mundane work schedule would make hard work for me. With this position, I am constantly challenged to find out more about departments I was never involved with, to make the balance of our stories we publish applicable for all students.
If I hear of an event or social gathering happening at the school, it’s my job to go out and see, perhaps taking a few photographs along the way to make into a quick tweet or to be uploaded on the Arthur Terry website. The best way to keep up to date with the school’s constant activities and events is to keep talking to students, staff and teachers. Through small talk and casual conversation, a story will eventually slip out which can be followed up from by speaking to the right people.
However, seeing former teachers and calling them by their first names is something I am not quite sure I will ever get used to! In my head, everybody will forever be named Mr So and So and Mrs Bla Bla. As a student, you don’t really appreciate that your teachers have names and lives outside the classroom – it’s been really eye opening to be working on the other side of things.
Of course, working back at a place which has filled me with so many memories brings out the nostalgic in me. Seeing the mezzanine filled with mostly unfamiliar faces and not the year group I left with is certainly an odd feeling, but one that reminds me that despite students leaving, the work that the school does never stops. Everything always continues behind closed doors and as a student, you never really realised that.
Given the chance, I would love to work in an environment such as Arthur Terry. I have been able to independently explore the school for juicy stories from various departments, at the same time as practising my passion in writing. Everybody working in the office behind reception (which I never even knew existed until working here) is welcoming and friendly, and in the time I have been here, I have never heard a raised voice. People who have the opportunity of working in a truly pleasant work environment may not realise how rare it is; it is so refreshing to work here and see such a lack of tension and an air of friendliness that is constantly exerted here.
Arthur Terry has created amazing opportunities for me as a student. I passed my GSCSEs with flying colours and achieved incredible A levels which I never thought I was capable of. I have performed to my heart’s content on stage with my best friends year in year out, and think so fondly of every memory I have of this school whenever my mind reverts back.