Sunday, 9 October 2011

A busy week in the life of a UoG Ambassador!

As UoG Ambassador I find myself in quite a variety of settings.  This week was an exceptional one where I attended three different events.
On Monday I was with Remco in a marquee in the middle of Woolwich.  On one side of us were the Woolwich recycling / rubbish disposal people and on the other were Representatives from Greenwich Community College - one of our partner colleges.  We were there to answer questions about access to university in general and to UoG in particular. Most wanted to talk about undergraduate entry but I was surprised at how many came up to enquire about postgraduate courses.
On Tuesday I spent the morning with three other ambassadors at a school in Welling working 1-2-1 with A level students writing personal statements for their UCAS application forms.  This was the second of four weekly sessions we are doing and I am really enjoying it.  I went from there to my fortnightly supervisory session at my placement in Chislehurst and then off to college until 8pm.
Wednesday found me back in the Enquiry Unit doing my weekly stint answering phones.  We are still getting enquiries from people wanting to get onto courses for this year despite being three weeks into the new term and Clearing well closed. I haven’t counted the numerous ways I have found for politely, but assertively, saying ‘no’ to those really persistent callers until they really do get the message that they will not be offered a place! We are not allowed to hang up on callers but at times it can be very tempting – especially when I get a caller like the one who demanded to speak to the head of school because I ‘am only the switchboard’!
Thursday was placement morning but rather a disappointing one as only one out of my four booked clients turned.  I spent quite a bit of time twiddling my thumbs, having a cuppa and comparing notes with another of the counsellors who had a similar wasted morning.  I came home in time to sit down to a lovely lunch prepared by him-at-home.
That evening was the second stained glass class.  I have to come up with designs for the two holes in our bathroom wall that need filling with glass panels.  After such a long and exhausting summer of work, I am feeling very artistically uninspired so instead of battling away on paper, I am doing lots of little test pieces, trying our different ‘fusing’ techniques.  I will write more about that late, but for now suffice to say it involves doing weird things with special glass that baked in a kiln so it all sticks together.
Friday and Saturday were my days to be off to the Excel Centre for the World Skills event.  It was a four day event and so huge with such tight security that it took me half an hour to get from the front entrance to our UoG stand. 
Stall
I was working on the School of Health and Social Care table with first year student paramedics and a student nurse.  Last year I wrote about my adventures with the injection bum this year I thought you might like a picture of her.  She features here with the very obliging Leigh and Mary. 
Injection Bum
We demonstrated giving injections then let people have a go. We showed how to test lung capacity, pulses, blood oxygen levels and blood pressures.  We talked to hundreds of people about our courses, how to apply, entry requirements etc.  We gave out lots of freebies and our rulers were particularly sought after. – maybe to keep the more unruly students under control!
 In our breaks we ventured out to look at other stalls and had a little competition to see what interesting things we could learn or come back with.
I learnt to sharpen a chisel in the cabinet making section – quite an involved process because you have to get your angles right.  I also got to cook a pancake – and eat it! – at one of the catering college’s stalls.  I leant about navigation lights on ships - how to tell which way the ship is facing and whether it is ‘steaming’ or at anchor – very useful knowledge for life in Hither Green!
Right next to us was the Royal Household stall.  The others told me that Princess Anne had popped in to say hello on Thursday which created quite traffic jam in our usually quietish section of the hall.  Now if you are wondering why there is never a royal hair out of place, it is down to these amazing people – the Royal household!
Royal Household
There were demonstrations of how to pack a suitcase properly – lots of tissue paper involved here, and  of how to clean shoes properly – the paramedic students all left with very sparkly ones after having theirs commandeered for demonstration purposes after the chaps got bored with polishing their own for the umpteenth time! This all leaves me with a question: does the Queen ever wear out anything?  My Kate informs me that horsey people are very suspicious about new stuff and reckons that Her Maj probably does wear out her wellies and puffa jacket!
Shoe Cleaning
I watched an incredibly talented painter/decorator showing how to achieve the painted marbling effect on the fake columns you see everywhere in the palaces while another demonstrated gilding using very fine sheets of 22 carat gold leaf.  And if you have ever wondered how her Maj likes her brekkie tray – look no further!
Breakfast Tray
No wonder she has to be good at speaking French – her breakfast menu is written in it!  One young guy explained that he was doing a six year apprenticeship as a carriage restorer and enjoyed living on the job in Buckingham Palace – as it was close to all amenities!  He expects he will stay on after completing his apprenticeship as there isn’t much call for this particular speciality! Staff from the Royal Mews showed how all the horse tack and special ceremonial headdresses for the horses is made - a  verrryyy fiddly and time consuming task.
Making Tack
I never imagined that when I signed up for my MSc that I would end up involved in such a variety of adventures!   Now it is back to normal life for a while as I settle down to all the reading I have to do to catch up before my next college session. ..and it is Open day next Saturday.  I wonder if I will be doing the teas ….again!

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