25 May 2012 My experience of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign HQ
Recently I was wondering what I was going to do with myself during the long summer holidays when my first year of university finished. I decided that I would become a trailblazer and would apply for work experience at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign HQ. Less than two months later and I’m sitting in the HQ on a warm Friday afternoon writing this article.
I applied for the experience thinking it would be a while before I got a response. I was pleasantly surprised as I got a response almost immediately saying that it would be an excellent idea for me to visit. After discussing a few details, it was arranged. It was brilliant to have such an efficient response, and of course brilliant to be accepted. I booked my train tickets and then all I had to do was wait.
I took that train to London and the next day I started my experience. The first thing I noticed, after finally managing to get through the front door that I still can’t seem to operate, was the relaxed atmosphere and the welcoming attitude of everyone I met. My first job was to write a blog of the regional meeting I had attended the previous Saturday. This task allowed me to practice writing, which I enjoy doing, and let me get used to doing work in the office environment. Later I did do some normal office work such as printing invites to another regional group meeting. Though not very exciting, this was good to do as it is office work experience, so these things have to be done. My first day was over, and I had enjoyed it.
The next day started with me walking into the door again, but after that hurdle I sat at my desk and got on with the last few letters. After this I was allowed to phone other trailblazers to invite them to a disability hate crime evidence session in Westminster. After initially saying I was “Sam from Disability Hate Crime” instead of “Sam from Trailblazers” I managed to get into my stride and finish the rest of the phone calls more or less without a hitch. Another day had been completed and I headed home.
I woke up the next day and headed to the office hoping I wouldn’t embarrass myself again. That wasn’t to happen as the door immediately foiled my attempt at a stupidity-free day. That day I got to perform my favourite task of writing, this time my assignment was to write a review of the fantastic Target MD magazine produced by the campaign. The morning passed and I finish the rather positive review and move on to a less enjoyable yet more important task. This task was to phone Members of the Scottish Parliament and invite them to a Cross Party Group meeting at Holyrood. After phoning several MSP’s it was time for me to leave on the oven that is the London Underground on a hot day. I was surprisingly tired after this relatively stress free day and went to bed early that night.
The next day I crawled out of bed, somehow still tired and hopped on the tube, ready for another day of phoning MSP’s. After sailing cleanly through the front door and feeling proud of myself, I completed these phone calls (noticing the distinct lack of a yes). These phone calls gave me helpful experience in handling an MSP and their secretaries that I’m sure will come in handy if I work for this, or any other, charity again. Later I went on to continue my job of resident Muscular Dystrophy reviewer. This time I was applying a critical eye to the Trailblazers internet site. After completing a mostly positive review I finished this fairly uneventful but interesting day. After completing my tasks I managed to get away early.
After another early night, I woke up and left for my final day. I approached the office with an arrogant attitude after my previous door opening success. That arrogance was quickly shot to pieces. I quickly walked to my desk trying to avoid eye contact with everyone in the room and sat down. My day got going similarly to the day before however I was phoning Westminster MPs instead. After some confusion with the first MP, due to the fact that I had not aquired all the information that he needed, I finished calling the MPs and started writing this article.
After being at the Muscular Dystrophy HQ for a week, I can recommend this experience to anyone looking to help out the charity. It gave me office experience and the phone calls helped improve my communication skills. If you are thinking of applying, don’t expect a week of non stop excitement but do expect to learn valuable skills that I’m sure will be helpful in later life. You may even learn how to open a door.