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On Being a Newbie ...

Blog post from Samantha Bolan.

"I think we’ve all experienced the dreaded ‘imposter-syndrome’ once in our lives. However, I don’t think it will ever be as strong as the first time you’ve left college, and someone is asking for your expertise! And wanting to pay you for said expertise!

For those who don’t know me. Hi, I’m Samantha. I’ve been helping Articulate during their amazing BRxACT project since the end of July. I had just finished college in June; studying HNC Media & Communications (with an A might I add) and was still quite fresh into my new job as a Digital Officer for The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, and Social Media Officer volunteer with Conservation Careers.

To be cliché, the pandemic was a rough time for me. Rough for us all, I understand. However, during this period I was gung-ho at bettering myself careerwise. I travelled from one continent to another just the year before the world went into lockdown, so it was hard staying in one place for too long. You start getting notions of being a ‘big girl’ and focus on what you want to do with your life. I flung myself into a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, and when that didn’t feel enough, I went to college, and when that also didn’t feel enough, I applied for work in the field of study I was studying in. I thought “OK, surely, I’m doing enough now. I’m doing three big things all together”. I live in Kilmarnock FYI, so I was “genius” enough to go to college in Clydebank, and work is in Bellahouston, and I’m somehow supposed to find time in between all this to finally get my apprenticeship diploma… Did I happen to mention I don’t drive?

‘Burnout’ might be the word you’re thinking of when reading what I was doing from last August till recently. According to Healthline, they recommend these steps to reduce burnout:

  • Push the pause button.

  • Take a moment to walk through everything that will be required of you if you agree.

  • Ask yourself if you really have the time and energy.

Can you all guess what I did? Well, Laura Frood, Articulate’s Empowerment Co-ordinator, emailed me out of the blue because I sent an application for their Creative Assistant Training with them over a year ago. She wanted to know if I was still interested in working on a new project with them. I won’t lie, a big part of me was tired, and I wasn’t sure when I’d have time to help. But people do say “curiosity killed the cat”. So, I arranged a meeting with Laura to see what I could help with.

On the day of the meeting in the new building on West George St, Laura had asked me what I had been doing since I last spoke to her, which was when I was still working in a café outside Kilmarnock. I told her I had just got my apprenticeship diploma, had just finished my HNC, and I had started working with The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice and Conservation Careers. I immediately thought “They won’t be interested in someone who is still brand new and has too much to do.” I’m also 27, and I remembered the job posting last year was looking for someone 25 and under. So, I accepted that I was too old, inexperienced, and busy for them to be interested in me.

The opposite happened. Laura’s face looked like it had lit up, and immediately asked me if I was willing to help them out a couple of hours a week and would be paid for my time. I was surprised and flabbergasted in all honesty. It was the same when PPWH had called me 2 hours after my interview telling me I had got the job. As soon as the word “yes” left my mouth, I sat down to talk to Elle Steele, Articulate’s Project Coordinator, about the project in detail. Imposter-syndrome had taken hold of me.

All I could think about was what I had said to Laura. Did I say something that made me sound incredible? Because I don’t feel incredible. Do I have time for this? I feel stressed out as it is. I’m still new to my main job and I don’t even know if I’m doing enough for them either! So much was zooming past my head, and I worried I was going to let everyone down because some part of me thought I had exaggerated my experience.

But that’s what imposter-syndrome does to you. You can’t see your worth because you’ve convinced yourself there’s more work to be done on yourself, most likely due to self-esteem and stress. Which is what burnout can do to you. Laura and Elle, and my bosses at PPWH listened to me about what I achieved and were impressed with me. They gave me the chance to showcase what I can really do when I doubted myself. Because they all believed that I could do it because I accomplished so much in the past already, which I was failing to see for myself because I tend to do too much.

Some people will think you’re doing way too much and are hurting yourself. However, if you’re like me, you don’t see it that way. You want to help anyone who is kind to you/gives you a chance. You don’t want to miss out on opportunities that will more than likely help you get to more places. This is a part of me that I like about myself. I constantly want to work on myself because you become a better person when you do. Not just careerwise for yourself, but for everyone else around you by using your skills to help them, and in turn, that helps you too.

So, with a few bumps at the beginning of me helping BRxACT, I helped with scheduling social media posts, interacted with a few people on the profile, helped get in touch with a reporter to spread awareness, etc. In the end, I learned how to use different software and can add more skills to my CV. Not only that, but we made a nice bit of money for a great cause, helping others get into the creative industries sector.

Articulate has shown me just how passionate they are at helping people get a start in what they want to do in life. I guess that’s what they saw in me as well, despite being a little bit older than who they usually help with. All the young people who I had the chance to meet were always passionate about speaking about their projects and hobbies, and I think Articulate had a part in their confidence because they listened, they helped, they believed in us to do what we were all passionate about. The local artists I met who made their columns were the same as well, and it was so fun to hear where their inspiration came from for their art and was inspiring to see more people in the creative industries.

I can’t thank Articulate enough for believing in me and for allowing me to just explore my own knowledge and for giving me my first taste at freelancing. I want to help these amazing people again soon, as they always made me feel at home and heard whenever I needed to ask for anything. They helped me feel a great sense of accomplishment and I can once again enjoy kicking my feet up and enjoy a nice cuppa knowing I did a good job."

Samantha Bolan

Creative Assistant, Articulate Cultural Trust

You can follow Samantha's social media stream about BRxACT here (she did a brilliant job and we loved working with her!)

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