Exploring a career in Student Services

One of the best parts of taking an Arts and Humanities degree is that you can do ANYTHING with your degree. And one of the worst parts of taking an Arts and Humanities degree is that you can do ANYTHING with your degree! 

I don’t want to be a teacher, a professional historian, a librarian, or a curator in a museum. With these four careers crossed off the list there is just the massive category of everything else left. 

Having had some experience working for the University in a casual capacity, like working events for Widening Participation, manning the Clearing phonelines and registering slightly worse for wear freshers in September, I knew a little about the way that Student Services at Sheffield works. Working for a department for five days for a very specific event is, however, very different from working full-time, and the range of work and responsibilities is far greater. So I decided that it would probably be wise to see if there was any sort of work shadowing that I could do – to see what some of the roles I already knew about involved on a more day to day basis.  

Initially I set up a meeting with the member of staff who organised the Widening Participation events I worked for, and had a chat with her and a colleague about the bits of their jobs that I didn’t get to see when working events – and all the behind the scenes work they did. It was a really interesting chat, but only covered a very small part of Student Services – and to see if Higher Education Administration was for me I wanted to get a broader overview. 

I contacted a workmate from Admissions, enquiring if there were any work shadowing schemes I could get involved in, or if there was any way to organise some sort of visit to offices within Student Services. Thanks to a great deal of work from him, a whole week of work shadowing was organised for the first week of the Easter break.... 
  • Monday - I went to Admissions, getting involved in team meetings, seeing how communication systems work, and intriguingly seeing the other side of the Admissions process, something which I was obviously familiar with from a student point of view.
  • Tuesday - I visited the Careers Service, and was treated to a view of the work they do with businesses as well as students. The fact that so much work has to go on liaising with businesses of all sizes in order to get the best opportunities for students, and to get the wide range of talks and fairs that the Careers Service puts on had never really occurred to me, and so it was great to get a bigger picture that wasn’t quite so student-centric.
  • Wednesday - I went to Student Support and Guidance, seeing the international team, the fees team, the transitions team and learning about the chaplaincy.
  • Thursday - I spent time with Registry Services, who I knew a little about from working at Registration Week, but I also got to see the amount of work that goes in throughout the year to organise the Registration Period and seeing the other responsibilities of the office, including organising for dreaded exams! I was also very fortunate to meet Andrew West, the head of Student Services, who was able to contextualise some more of the direction that Student Services at Sheffield was moving in, and the way that Higher Education Administration works on a more general level.  
  • Friday - I visited UK/EU recruitment, and got a little more hands on, with getting things together for Open Days.
By the end of the week I was very tired, but very happy, as my decision to just investigate and find out a little more had actually given me a pretty strong idea of where I wanted to go with a possible career. Sometimes all you have to do is ask if opportunities are available. Every single person I spoke to over the week was so happy to help and willing to spend time talking me through their job, what it entailed and how they came to hold that position, which was really helpful for me to be able to make a plan of action for where I want to go and what I need to do! 

Jenny (Second Year History Student)
Careers Service

Careers Service

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.