After what seemed like a very quick succession of interviews then an internship offer I found myself on a Monday morning in the Parliament’s lobby waiting to meet the schemes first internship, Cat. She was very smart in a blue patterned dress looking very professional and approachable, after going to the reception desk to get me a visitor’s pass (you have to accompany your guest wherever they go!) we went into the garden lobby for a chat over some tea.
We talked about her duties and what she had been up to during the internship. I was rather nervous but she was very good at putting me to ease. We chatted about why the internship appealed to the both of us and we shared the same reasons and aspirational outcomes. After the tea Cat then took me up to Rhoda’s office (the MSP that I will be working for) to be greeted by her Researcher, Eva.
During the afternoon Eva bombarded me with information about the office’s roles and duties, I think I only was able to retain a third of it but I suspect it all will make more sense as my time goes on. When she showed me my desk which overlooks the famous ‘thinking booths’ it dawned on me that I had a desk in the office of a MSP at the Scottish Parliament. It was a feeling of shock, pride and amazement.
The offices were quiet but this was soon to change the next day! The parliament is in session from Tuesday-Thursday and the place is full of smartly dressed people busy with meetings and committees. Rhoda warmly welcomed me on Tuesday, she was present at my second interview and I was really glad when I got the internship. I was really nervous during my first interview and I thought I had made some silly mishaps, though in my second interview I was much more relaxed and I think Rhoda played a large part in making me feel comfortable.
After a few office duties I met Cat again for lunch who was joined by Aneela the parliaments Equality Manager. We spoke generally and set up a meeting between Aneela and myself for Thursday. In the afternoon I went to collect Phyl (the Internship Support and Development Manager from Inclusion Scotland who is running this project), I must admit I did get a bit lost on the way. At the meeting with Rhoda and Eva we just chatted about my role and what I will be doing over the period, how I would get paid, my hours and so on. Everything seemed pretty much flexible. I should say that I am due to start a new university course in September and I will be doing the placement at the same time – so flexibility would be good.
After the meeting I did mention to Phyl that I was concerned that my speech was making it difficult to communicate and get pass the basic pleasantries. Though I reckon everyone feels the same way. Aneela just gave me the advice of just put myself out there and make everyone known your presence. I get really nervous when trying to spark up new conservations as people get really embarrassed when they don’t understand me and I get embarrassed for them. It’s a catch 22.
Wednesday I explored the building, as coming from a design background, I think the building is beautiful and very impressive. We don’t have many modern buildings like it! Actually, it’s not as big as I thought it was, I know there are places I haven’t been to yet but it’s very compact. I overlook the courtyard with the glass ‘mountains’ and I’m desperate to do a drawing of it. I also was really happy to discover that the parliament has two bee hives, my father has bees and they are vitally amazing creatures. They probably help to pollinate the stunning courtyard garden.
On the Thursday I went to First Ministers Questions (FMQ’s) and it was really exciting and heated, it was basically all about the referendum. It’s good that everyone is passionate and that’s all I’m going to say, it is brilliant that I am in the parliament during such a unique and interesting time. I have been popping my head into various debates in the Chambers, some are interesting and others I catch myself day dreaming and admiring the detail of the Chambers. I also love watching the security, they are so tight and well organised, knowing exactly what they are doing but so polite and friendly at the same time.
On Friday there is a huge change of atmosphere, it is much quieter as the MSP’s return to their constituencies and everyone is very relaxed – a good Friday feeling! I suspect next week will be just as interesting as I have many induction meetings set up, and FMQ’s will be brilliant as it’s the last one before the referendum (I managed to get myself a ticket). The first week has been tiring but I’ve enjoyed every second of my experience.