Although I have only been working as an Accommodation Assistant at ARU a short time, I have learnt so much already. My team in Residential Services have been very supportive, and I am learning new things every day.
I started my job with ARU at the end of November 2020, so the Covid-19 working environment is all I have known so far! Once restrictions are lifted, my role will revert to a normal I have never known, so my experience is very different to most.
In my role, I assist the Accommodation Officer with the booking of student accommodation in the Student Village, on ARU’s Chelmsford campus. This involves managing room moves when required, short stay accommodation bookings which can be made by individuals with an association to the University, and queries from existing and new students.
In a typical day, my work varies depending on whether I’m working from home, or in the office. As a team we cover the Residential Office in Chelmsford on a rota basis, and the number of people allowed to work in the office is limited at present. As such, a typical office day can involve dealing with cleaners and contractors who may need keys to properties for maintenance, issues in the Student Village that require attention, and literally anything else that crops up that needs hands-on assistance. In contrast, a day working from home concentrates on catching up on my emails, and an array of accommodation queries.
At present, most of the interaction I have with our students takes place over email and through phone calls dealing with enquiries. When I work in the office, I have some face-to-face interactions with students, such as when our international students arrive and need to collect their keys, or when students visit for the Residential Office for assistance.
I believe my role is important as it directly affects the happiness of our students, we manage where the students live and this is a huge part of their university experience, so a lot of work goes on behind the scenes trying to ensure there is a smooth application process in place. We also try to place students from similar courses together in accommodation, as we know this can make a huge difference to student experience.
My biggest achievement outside of work is my family – I am a very proud mum and have two daughters. My eldest daughter is an actress and singer, and my younger daughter is in her first year at Goldsmiths University of London studying Drama and Musical Theatre. The arts are a huge part of all our lives and growing up my children acted in numerous professional shows. In normal times, I love going to the theatre, eating out, and travelling. In a previous life I worked as long-haul cabin crew for many years and was lucky enough to travel the world. There are still a lot of places left to explore that I haven’t seen yet!
This post is part of the AUDE Covid Heroes campaign, which runs from 1-30 November 2021 and recognises the achievements of university estates and facilities teams throughout the pandemic.