Becoming a Scholar: the beginning of an incredible journey

The day I got my internship my smile could be seen from miles away. It was the joy of accomplishment after months of effort, the excitement of a summer full of possibilities and the tingling sensation of being seen and valued. Brodies had chosen me; put their faith in me. And the exultant smile thrown to the strangers on the street that day was proof of that.

During my first day in the office the words "I want to belong here" echoed in my mind. A thought which stayed with me all day long. The office atmosphere, the amazing working space in Capital Square (Edinburgh), coffee in hand and high heels on, I felt at home. I will be forever grateful to Entrepreneurial Scotland for this opportunity. During my internship, I was able to attend strategic meetings, participate in calls, work on multiple projects, and experience the day-to-day life in an office.

Becoming a Saltire Scholar is not an experience with a finale. Yes, the internship itself has an end date. But getting involved in the world of Entrepreneurial Scotland is so much more than those summer months. It's taking part on something bigger. To find a community of people who share the same vision as you. To meet incredible people with similar values and experiences yet completely different backgrounds and skills. Scholar colleagues who can become friends.

In reality, becoming a Saltire Scholar is getting a key to a door. For me, this door was Brodies LLP, a successful Scottish headquartered UK law firm with several offices across Scotland, the UK and overseas. What I love most about Brodies is the firm's warmth and sense of humanity. It is filled with incredibly knowledgeable and hard-working people - which can be intimidating but everyone is so approachable and supportive. I felt included, heard, and valued from the beginning. Brodies promotes a culture where work is another aspect of life, and an enjoyable conversation can be filled with insightful knowledge, personal anecdotes, inspiring ideas and funny jokes all at the same time.

Each internship is different. No experience is the same. In my case, I had the opportunity to participate in several projects across the people engagement (HR) and marketing teams. I oversaw a project of data analysis (of the firm's engagement survey). But I also worked in recruitment, learning & development, social media, internal communications, and business development (marketing support to the lawyers). Say yes to everything. That is my advice. If your workload allows it, experience new things, go to all the colleague events and nights out, accept projects and varied tasks. Even if it is not what you had in mind at first or what you were brought in to do at the beginning.

At first, I thought that learning how to carry out a task would be the best I would gain from this experience. However, there are more valuable lessons underneath the project at hand. How to communicate with your manager, how to express your concerns, how to prioritize and deal with a new environment and responsibilities. There are hard days. And days that you would rather be off work. But a nice, jovial conversation with a colleague can lift your spirits. There are frustrations, but if they are properly expressed there is nothing that cannot be resolved through conversation. Not everything is black and white; enjoyable, or not. You can be most grateful and happy for an opportunity and still realize that it won't be perfect all the time. And that's okay. You shouldn't feel guilty about it. Still, in the big picture, this internship has been an amazing experience that I would recommend to everyone.

I was lucky enough that Brodies liked my hard work and work ethic and decided to extend my internship for a year. I will be able to continue working here while completing my studies. I will also become a brand ambassador for Entrepreneurial Scotland. Nevertheless, no matter what happens to you, if you secure a job after the internship or not, this opportunity is just the beginning of your career path and the connections, skills, and knowledge that you will make along the way will be invaluable!

Written by: Aida Martinez Calzado