My summer with PR & Social

After leaving high school, Gabriel Rutherford spent one month with the PR & Social Media team as work experience ahead of starting his first year at Glasgow University. Here's what Gabriel had to say about his experience!

Personally, at the beginning, this was all about returns and revisitations. I’d already worked with Equator, albeit for the whole time of a week, in November 2015 as part of school work experience week. So I wasn’t totally unfamiliar with things round here – but still, a lot can change in 2 years, such as the agency getting an entire new building. The first time at Equator, I was a nervy, inexperienced 15-year-old who switched around departments in order to find the best fit. This time, I was a nervy 17-year-old who had a week’s worth of experience and would be staying firmly in the one place: PR and Social.

To be honest, my first day was unpleasant – mostly because I had misinterpreted “smart casual”, overdressed and was roasting in a shirt and jeans while everyone else sat in shorts and T-shirts (it was a boiling hot Monday, most unusual for Glasgow, hence the shorts). However, it was nice to meet (or re-meet) the old team, as well as a few new faces, given the PR and social team had expanded since my last internship. So, it was a headfirst dive into the unknown for me, a whole month in a serious job. After leaving school, work was a bit different. A lot more freedom was involved, and it’s a lot more fun than school, trust me. Anyone who says today that they’d go back to school in a heartbeat is either misremembering through rose-tinted glasses or lying. Sitting Highers in May was an extremely stressful experience which took hours and hours of work for each subject, some subjects more so than others – if you tell me you’d love to do that again I think you’re either brave or foolhardy. To be quite honest, my internship at Equator brought a few rude awakenings to me, as I had been quite enjoying a long lie in the mornings. The internship brought that luxury to an end, with an unfortunate 6:45 start the new norm, to catch a train at 8:14, meaning I actually had less sleep than I did at school, and less time to get ready, meaning the ability to thrown on a T-shirt and jeans was extremely convenient.

The Summer that I’ve spent a month of with Equator has been a big one for me personally – after sitting 5 Highers I had decided to move on, leave school and try for university. I ended up applying for English Literature and Philosophy at Glasgow and Queen’s University Belfast. Results day happened to fall on a Tuesday – so I would be in work. Thankfully, I was given some of the morning off to relax after getting the results at the unreasonably early hour of 8 AM, giving many students a sleepless night, and making me more than a bit nervous – thankfully, it wasn’t bad news at all. I got 5 A’s in my Highers, sending me to Glasgow uni. You might have seen the celebratory post on the Equator Twitter account. We would have got the famous giant number 5 in the photo, had it not been lost on the annual Equator/999 barbeque in Luss somehow.

It's important to say that I didn’t decide to do an internship for the sake of an early morning start, or to get further away from the world of school, which I had just left in May. I was originally looking for permanent part-time work, the kind of work convenient for a student. However, up till late July my Summer was spent being rejected by various part-time jobs from all sorts of companies and corporations. From cinemas to supermarkets to retail, I was consistently getting a “Thanks, but no thanks”. After becoming disheartened, I thought of getting a different kind of job – an internship. It’s turned out to be extremely valuable for me, getting me vital experience of both a working environment and working in PR. I feel a lot more prepared for – forgive the cliché – “the world of work”. I’d really recommend it to anyone struggling for experience, or with a free Summer. I’ve learned about influencers, UGC, general PR and Social, CMS, third-party blogging and many other valuable skills, such as working with Excel and Social Media advertising. You’re always on your toes for something new – my first assignment on my first day was tracking a car done up like a Highland Cow across two continents on 3 social media sites. I got to use my experience as a writer and editor while writing blogs about moving house and refurbishing a room. Then I was looking for influencers for various purposes, from staying in hotels to driving cars to drinking gin. To summarise, I learned a lot of things in a surprisingly short period of time. It’s prepared me to work in PR and social in the future, giving me an opportunity and an early advantage. Obviously, I’d like to thank Equator for giving me this opportunity in the first place, and everyone in the PR and Social team for helping me, teaching me and being so welcoming and nice to me. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to work with them again.