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LIFE AS A STUDENT AND INTERN DURING A PANDEMIC

Written by our PR intern Bridie Buckingham…

I think it is safe to say that this past year has not been kind to us. Staying at home, working from home, studying from home: they’re taking their toll. It is not always easy to adjust to a ‘new normal’ but never has it been more necessary.

For someone who has always struggled with time-management, this new normal has really given me the push I needed to stay ahead of the game. Balancing work, school and home life has always been a demanding task, but now that they are all crowded within the same four walls, it can seem a bit overwhelming at times.

It is all too easy to allow yourself to get bogged down with the negativity, but those anxious feelings are never going to dissipate unless you adopt a more positive mindset. I struggled a lot, as I’m sure we all did, during the first lockdown but as time has gone on my outlook has changed. Whether you have used this period for self-improvement, or you’ve simply taken a step back to recharge, both are valid. There is no need to force productivity, it only fuels negativity. A healthy mind is the most important asset to have right now and if that comes from spending time with family and putting work on the backburner then finding a healthy balance is essential.

This is something I wrestled with in the first lockdown, juggling university, work and home life seemed impossible at times yet now I sense big tops in my future. I am lucky that the team at Source PR are so accommodating, allowing me to work around my online classes. Without their help I don’t think I would have been so fortunate. It is strange not being able to see them each week, only communicating via email or WhatsApp, it makes me miss the office, but I know we will be back one day. For now I am enjoying life as an intern, each week is different, allowing me to explore the world of PR whilst also gaining valuable work experience in the field.

When it comes to studying from home, I was sceptical at first, but it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. All my lectures have been delivered seamlessly and on time, with help available at every turn. Delivered via teams, the seminars are still as interactive as ever, in fact I think the delivery is advantageous as many people who were too shy to give input in face-to-face seminars have gained confidence from the comfort of their own home.

With my family also working from home, bandwidth problems are a reoccurring nightmare in our house, with several of us trying to access classes via teams at the same time, we sometimes struggle to get a clear connection. The work sometimes piles up but with regular half-terms and reading weeks it is easy to catch up. Overall, I think my second-year experience has been the best it could’ve been considering the circumstances; however I can’t say the same for first years.

To add to the mayhem, I also challenged myself to learn a language this year. In a joint venture with my sister we decided to teach ourselves Korean as we have always wanted to visit South Korea. I have dreamed of living abroad and being able to speak another language fluently since I was little, so I thought if now isn’t a good time to start, when is? With my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) end of year module coming up in just a few short weeks, I hope I will get to put my new skills to good use and take myself across the globe, Covid permitting of course.

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안녕히 계세요 (annyeonghee geseyo)

IT’S MORE THAN JUST THE MESSAGE

Anyone who’s been involved in media training or been interviewed on TV or radio has probably been advised to focus on three or four key messages to ensure that they get their point across.

Fair enough, and there’s no denying that is some pretty sound advice, particularly if there is the potential for the interview to become complex or to be pulled in different directions.

There is however one problem, and that problem has been beautifully highlighted by someone who should quite frankly know better.  Our esteemed PM.

She could be accused of running perhaps the worst political campaign this century when she squandered a 20 point lead in the polls, to nearly lose the General Election to an opposition that many had predicted would be wiped off the political landscape.

What went wrong?

So, what went so wrong? In my view it was the over use of the ‘Strong and stable leadership’ message.  People started counting the absurd number of repetitions and it was not long before the memes started and social media undermined the message – along with the robot like delivery.  I believe Ikea even used it in their advertising along with a picture of the PM seated at a desk with the caption “strong and stable” shelving.

Theresa May, and many of her ministers, forgot one of the most important elements of an interview and that’s to add some personality and dynamism if you’re looking to attract support and get people to back your cause.

This is not meant to be a party political broadcast for any party or policy, but I fear that she’s falling into the same trap when looking to secure the votes needed to deliver on her Brexit proposals.

Let’s keep an ear out for how many times she says; “It’s a good deal for our country that takes back control of our borders, laws and money…”.  We have less than a fortnight before the ‘meaningful vote’ so no doubt plenty of time to be driven mad by the repetition.

If she wants the message to cut through she will need to not just repeat it like a small child on a drum kit, but instead install confidence and support through her body language, confidence in her convictions and even tone of voice.

If not, she’ll run the risk of only ever beings seen as ‘May-bot’ who is good at reciting messages but misses the bigger picture.

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