Crankstart Internship Experience: Autumn Clarke

As a 3rd year English Literature and Language student at Oxford's Somerville College, Autumn Clarke assumed that publishing or journalism were the paths to follow after graduation. In this article, Autumn writes about her experience on the Crankstart Internship Programme and how it broadened her career horizons. She also shares details on how the Careers Service and Internship Office supported her and shares advice for current Crankstart scholars at Oxford.

What services have you accessed so far through the Internship Office and the Crankstart programme during your time at the University of Oxford?

When I first got to University, I made a strong connection with one of the careers advisers, Damilola Odimayo, who helped me to embrace my differences at Oxford University as a Crankstart scholar and supported me with several applications to many organisations.

The Careers Service at Oxford also has a subscription to the Financial Times and I spent time utilising this in support of my internship applications my job as it helped me to understand the language of the many different sectors I was interested in. Fiona Whitehouse was also extremely helpful getting my CV clearer and concise.

How do you think these services have helped you? How has the Careers Service and Internship Office developed your career aspirations if at all?

Working with Fiona and Damilola supported my gaining a position on a micro-internship in my 2nd year, which was amazing. The Crankstart bursary can fund micro-internships for you; it was really useful because being condensed to 5 days allowed me to gain a lot of experience in a short amount of time.

My internship was with Bimble, and a marketing position. My dream job now is to work in luxury fashion. As a literature student I assumed that I would want to work in publishing and journalism, but I didn’t feel excited by this prospect. The Careers Service and Internship Office advisors have shown me that it’s important to get more attuned to what you feel passionately about and try to envision this as being a part of your career. My curiosity for fashion grew through understanding what comes naturally to me and what interests me personally which was a journey directly encouraged by the support I received at the Internship Office and the Careers Service offering pragmatic advice but then also encouraging me to think more expansively.

How has your internship supported your career projections?

I created an article with the Bimble App and was able to discern exactly what marketing is. Even though it’s associated with the corporate world, I realised there is a huge amount of creativity involved, and this was great. After this experience I applied for Oxford Women in Business for a term and became co-marketing director so this internship led on to some other really exciting opportunities. You should apply for as many things as possible as you never know where one position may take you.

How easy has it been to obtain financial support through the Crankstart programme, and the team involved?

The Crankstart bursary is available to support Crankstart scholars to explore their career options and will fund any Internship you find and sometimes a variation of courses which can support your process in terms of defining what your interests are. I was funded to take a creative writing course, which was beneficial in defining my interests, but also working out where my career interests were beginning to gather pace. Meeting a variety of people on this course opened my eyes to different sectors too. Applying for the bursary fund from the Crankstart is a really smooth process as well so it was completely hassle free. The Crankstart team are so supportive.

Is there any advice you would give to a Crankstart scholars who might be joining us for the first time this October?

I wish I had applied to a micro-internship straight away in my 1st year and applied for a summer Internship too. Make the most of the opportunities at the Internship Office as they are so incredibly helpful and run regular events and workshops to inform your growing skills. Make good use of all of the funds on offer to you as living costs are high, so don’t scrape through. Reach out to the Crankstart Internship team regularly about anything you need and don’t be afraid to think about your talents and abilities and build on these as unique to you. Discover what your’ own brand’ is if you like and be confident in marketing yourself as you learn and grow and always remember everyone has to start somewhere.