After graduating in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020, I was glad to have secured a role at a well-established corporate graduate scheme. A summer of exams, extended deadlines and lockdowns later, I started in September and thought I had the next few years of my life planned out. Although the company was prestigious and all the other grads seemed to be having the time of their lives, I was starting to come to the realisation that this kind of work may not be for me.
Back in final year, I was involved with the university’s Period Society, which was founded just before the first lockdown. I joined a group of amazing women to raise awareness about menstrual disorders, work to de-stigmatise period talk around campus and provide support and education. I felt empowered by the society’s mission and wanted to continue into a similar line of work, but I didn’t feel like it was something that was for me, as a STEM graduate.
While pondering my next steps and deciding whether to leave my grad scheme, I remembered about the Bristol SME Internship Scheme. I had received an email a few months earlier, learning that funding was available for graduates as well as current students. I was keen to continue working in the womxn’s health space, so I found a list of charities, start-ups and social enterprises I was interested in and emailed them, letting them know about funding available through the SME Internship Scheme. Bloody Good Period, a charity providing period products to refugees, asylum seekers and those who need them was top of my list. I didn’t expect a reply, as I knew they had a small team and were extremely busy, but just a few weeks later I heard that they’d be willing to take me on.
I joined BGP for 6 weeks as an Operations and Activism Intern helping out with various aspects of work at the charity. Some of my tasks involved conducting research on the impact of existing period product provisions across the world, helping out with preparation of a social media campaign and designing survey resources to evaluate the experience of existing volunteers. It was so refreshing to join such a friendly team of passionate people and support a cause I believe in!
Working remotely on a part-time basis was new to me and presented some challenges I hadn’t anticipated. It was harder to manage my own time between tasks and I had to develop the confidence to voice my ideas and speak in meetings where I felt I wasn’t competent enough to do so. It was definitely a big adjustment after only having experience within corporate environments, but now I can’t imagine going back.
Working for an inclusive and intersectional feminist organisation has transformed my outlook on the world of careers, employment and wellbeing at work - it felt amazing to be surrounded by a team of such passionate, inclusive and supportive people. Being part of the operations team specifically allowed me to explore many new types of tasks like editing stories sent in by volunteers for a social media campaign or creating a survey from scratch. After completing my maths degree, I felt that my skills were reserved for technical data analysis and optimisation tasks, so getting involved with creative tasks really boosted my confidence.
As my internship comes to an end, I have been reflecting on how my experience within the charity sector has reaffirmed my desire to continue within a role I’m passionate about! I’m really grateful to the SME Internship Scheme fund for allowing me to make this career change so early on in my journey and find something that’s right for me! A massive bloody thank you to Emma and Nikki, and the entire BGP team for having me this summer - it’s been bloody great :)
ABOUT BGP INTERNSHIPS
We work with other organisations, including academic institutions, to recruit interns to join the BGP team. These internships are always paid. As we are a small team, we only have capacity to work with a very limited number of interns each year. Internship projects always align with our organisational objectives and workplans, as well as ensuring interns gain valuable work experience and development opportunities within an intersectional feminist, activist organisation. We are unable to accept speculative applications.