Just an intern?

January 9, 2014 by
Filed under: Design and Society, Education Matters 

I have been working at the RSA for six months and as my time here is coming to an end, I have recently taken to a. reflecting upon what I have learnt and how it can be used in a future role and b. panicking about finding a job.  One thing that I have certainly learnt about myself and being an intern however is that I should at no point refer to myself as ‘just an intern.’ I’m sure that some internships require very little of interns, but this is not the case at the RSA (thankfully). We are definitely being paid for a reason. I have been given the opportunity to play an important role in a research project for the RSA Warwick partnership which involved conducting focus groups with pupils in the Academies, creating a questionnaire, and even speaking at the launch event (which was only slightly terrifying). I have also been given the opportunity to work on the Kickstarter project RSA Pupil Design Awards * which involved drafting the script and working with the Fellowship and Design teams. This definitely seems like the role of an employee to me, and I can honestly say that I’ve been made to feel like one throughout my time here.

Interning at the age of twenty seven is not for the faint hearted as there is nothing worse than feeling like you probably should have started your career when you were 21 years old. However, did I know that this was the area I would like to follow after graduating? No, I certainly did not. Did I feel prepared to stay in England after graduating? No again. I can honestly say that when choosing to apply for this internship within the education team at the RSA, I was passionate about working in this sector. Having completed a dissertation comparing the higher educational aspirations of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds in both France and England, I wanted to feel as though I was part of a project which aimed to aid these pupils.  I’m happy to say that I have achieved this and I will continue to follow the progress of many of these projects from afar.

I’m not sure what my next move will be, but rest assured that I will be using the skills I have developed throughout my time here. I will also never again refer to myself as merely an intern. Here’s hoping that future employers will appreciate this too…

*Please do check this project out and spread the word kck.st/pupildesign. We only have 7 more days to go!


  • http://yewandeokuleye.com/ Yewande’s World

    Lisa,It sounds to me that you had a good internship with the RSA.
    (I can identify with you because I interned when I was much older than you )

    This reflective exercise you have taken is also a good sign to suggest a shift in awareness. Never describe yourself as “just anything”, as there are many people willing to think of and happily descibe you as just that.

    Good luck for the future and if you are looking for another intern role – do contact me as I am looking for someone with your skillset for a project I am working on.