Anya Farnan is the Enquiry Hub Events Coordinator, based in the vibrant Global Room on city campus – before that, she worked in the School of Medicine for ten years. She’s known across both the Ninewells and City campuses as being bubbly, cheerful and chatty, and although she didn’t go to university herself, she’s an amazing support to our students. Anya says she does keep toying with the idea of applying for the Work Based Community Education degree though…
What does your job involve, what do you do at work? I probably have one of the best jobs within the University – not bragging! I get to organise events between the Enquiry Centre and the Global Room, fun things to bring happiness to the faces of students and staff.
During normal times I would be working alongside colleagues within DUSA and other parts of Student Services working on events such as Global Week where we host events representing different cultures and different continents. Food based events are always popular! I’ve helped organise Well Together promoting the need for staff and students to take time out of their day for themselves.
Lots of things have had to be online and I’ve really missed the interaction with people every day. My favourite day this year was University Mental Health Day in March where I was on campus giving out little care packs to people – it was so nice to bring some cheer even in a small way. I also help with supporting the organisers of Welcome and the Student Support/Stay on Course Team.
For nearly 10 years I worked in the School of Medicine. First in the Undergraduate office and then with the Taught Postgraduate Team up at Ninewells Hospital. Organising events, supporting and working with International students in TPG made me realise I wanted to work in another area of the University and moving to work in the Enquiry Centre in April 2019 was ideal. Since May 2021 I’ve been based full time in the Global Room.
What gives you satisfaction in your work? Working with so many different people. I really like collaborating with various teams, people who are passionate about what they do which helps me be more creative. I would love to get more student societies involved in the events that I hope to run this semester and beyond.
What challenges do you face and how do you deal with them? Currently I think everyone is fed up of things being online and people tend not to engage as much. It can be quite disheartening when you and your colleagues have put lots of effort into something but no one turns up, or very little feedback is received. Online is okay but nothing beats getting together in person. I try to deal with things by not taking it personally and trying to think of other ways of getting people involved. Recently I’ve been posting an empowerment message within the Well Together & Global Room Teams areas and it’s been nice getting interaction and a chat with people off the back of those.
Tell us the best thing about your work? Speaking to people and learning new things. I like to talk (my colleagues are well aware of this!) – I love speaking to people about what they do, where they are from and what made them come to Dundee. Even when I’m not at work I always seem to get chatting to people I don’t know. My family and friends joke about it lots! When I was in TPG I worked so closely with students, sometimes when they weren’t having an easy time of it, seeing them progress to graduation and celebrating with their families made me feel so proud of them. Coming to a new country, learning new skills, overcoming the odds and doing so well – it’s amazing.
And the hardest? When students leave and I don’t see them regularly anymore. I do keep in touch with some and I love to hear about their new achievements wherever they are in the world.
WORKING DURING A PANDEMIC
How has the pandemic affected what you do? I haven’t been able to plan events that people can attend in person.
Have you found things more or less effective in the job that you do? Definitely less effective.
Has there been a particular support to you during this time? I’m very fortunate to have an amazing family and group of friends – my other half has been fab too.
Is there anything new within the current situation that you hope will continue? Nope! I’ve really not enjoyed this past 18 months. It’s been quite stressful at times and for the mental wellbeing of many I hope it never happens again. I really didn’t like working from home and have been very lucky to have been able to come back and work on campus since August 2020.
And is there anything particular you’ve missed? Being able to travel and see live music.
What do you like most about Dundee Uni? The people. Staff, students, visitors. The majority of people I meet and work with are so passionate about what they do and support and encourage each other.
Any tips for current students? In relation to study, campus, working from home, social, sports, etc? Get involved and if you need help ask! From societies in DUSA to the Sports Union to Peer Connections and SWITCH. There is something for everyone. Don’t be scared just put yourself out there and fab things will happen. If you are having to work from home take breaks and time out of your day to do something for you. Read a book, play your favourite tunes, take photos of your pets, make plans with friends – have a good work/life balance.
Favourite spot on campus? The Chaplaincy – especially the café for giggles and chat with Linda and Jill. Sometimes they give me a free muffin!
Is there, or was there, someone at the University who inspires/inspired you? The team I worked with in TPG at the School of Medicine. A small but perfectly formed group of people. From the Academics to the administrators, everyone worked hard but always had time for a cuppa and a biscuit if you were having a bad day. A very supportive team who I miss lots but still speak to regularly. Also Gill Keith & Kathleen Galbraith in Clinical Skills at Ninewells – great cheerleaders if you ever need them!
How would you describe the University to someone who doesn’t know it? A supportive, friendly and community focused environment with teams of people who can help and guide you through your time as a student and beyond.
What do you do outside of your work? Spend time with loved ones, listen to music, annoy my cat, eat cake, buy Irregular Choice shoes!
Tell us something we don’t know about you? (Don’t be shy!) I’d love to be able to sing properly. Anyone who has had to work with me knows that I tend to singalong to whatever is on the radio. Two students were subjected to an impromptu rendition of Fairytale of New York last Christmas in the Enquiry Centre– much to the amusement of Caitlin and Charlotte, my colleagues. Oh and I do a fabulous rendition of Sir Mixalot’s Baby’s Got Back at family functions or any karaoke that will have me….
Who would you invite to a dinner party? If it had to be famous people then Tom Bradby, Chris and Rosie Ramsay, Marian Keyes, Dick and Angel Strawbridge, Claudia Winkleman, Tom Allen, Romesh Ranganathan, Aisling Bea and David (my other half), and maybe a chef who can make dinner ’cause I’d be too busy talking that I’d probably burn everything. I’ll speak to Lel, Joyce & Jackie in Campus Catering! If it wasn’t famous people, then all of my family and friends but it would need to be a very big dinner table for them all to fit.
Why Dundee? Why not?! Friendliest little place on the planet. 😊