One Dundee: What’s your role at the University?
Scott: So many things! I’m a Student Support Assistant in the uni accommodation, the Vice President of Fundraising on the DUSA Exec and I’m also the incoming DUSA President.
One Dundee: What do you do at work?
Scott: In one form or another, all these roles focus around student experience. As an SSA, I offer support to students in halls, as many go through their first year in Dundee. I help them deal with any problems that might arise, or point them in the right direction if they need some more support.
One Dundee: What gives you satisfaction in your work?
Scott: Seeing students grow from being scared freshers to confident adults over the course of the year. Especially ones you’ve helped or worked with, it’s really why we’re here and it’s amazing to see.
One Dundee: What challenges do you face and how do you deal with them?
Scott: We have a wide diversity of students in our accommodation, and along with that, they can face a wide range of issues, whether that be financial, course struggles, all the way through to flat problems and welfare issues. Talking with them is key, as that’s often the very first step in working towards a potential solution. Other than that, it’s important to just know what support resources are available, both at the university and across Scotland and the UK.
One Dundee: What’s the best thing about your work?
Scott: Seeing the students thrive.
One Dundee: And the hardest?
Scott: Seeing them struggle.
Working from home
One Dundee: How has the current lockdown/work from home situation affected what you do?
Scott: We’re still going, everything is just online.
One Dundee: Have you found working from home to be more or less effective in terms of work delivery and the job that you do?
Scott: It’s difficult to rely on emails as a main point of contact. A lot can be said and achieved by sitting down with someone and chatting over a coffee, so it’s not as easy to get the full sense of a problem.
One Dundee: How have the needs and demands of students changed and what are you doing that is notably different from normal in the current situation?
Scott: A lot of the problems are still there, just heightened due to the pandemic. The uni has been really great at providing more support to students, so SSAs are trying to check in more to see if anyone is struggling, and make sure those new resources are being used.
One Dundee: Has there been anything particularly supportive during this time?
Scott: The uni has put extra money into the Student Funding unit so even more students can apply if they are struggling financially (firstname.lastname@example.org), as well as the No-Detriment policy, which means the pandemic doesn’t affect our degrees.
One Dundee: Is there anything new within the current situation that you hope will continue after we return to campus?
Scott: SSAs created a Discord server and we’ve built a little Dundee community on there, for students in accommodation during lockdown. It’s really encouraging to see, and I hope it sticks around.
One Dundee: Do you miss the campus you work on?
Scott: I’m still on campus and supporting the students that are staying here during lockdown, but it’s definitely a different atmosphere. I miss the buzz!
One Dundee: What do you most look forward to doing once you are back on campus?
Scott: An iced coffee and seeing my friends again.
One Dundee: Campus hotspot?
Scott: The Top of the Tower Cafe.
One Dundee: Someone at the University who inspires you?
Scott: Too many to count! Dawn Walker, Andrea Gibb, Stuart Butler, Sarah Browne, Joan Muszynski, Pat Mitchie, Keith Mackle, Graham Nicholson, Anya Farnan, Margaret Wylie, Liam Quinn. Everyone in our amazing Student Services team.
One Dundee: How would you describe the University to someone who doesn’t know it?
Scott: It’s a community.
One Dundee: What do you do outside of work?
Scott: I’ve just finished my degree, so now it’s just a lot of Netflix and gaming.
One Dundee: Tell us something we don’t know about you? (Don’t be shy!)
Scott: I’ve just taken up knitting and the scarf I’m making isn’t horrible!
One Dundee: Who would you invite to a dinner party?
Scott: Michelle Obama has a standing invitation to every dinner party I throw, but she never shows.
One Dundee: Why Dundee?
Scott: It’s small, diverse and always busy. It’s home.
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Facebook or Instagram? Instagram
Pen or pencil? Pen
Morning or afternoon? Morning
Phone or email? Phone
English or Maths? English
Books or films? Films
Netflix or Amazon? Netflix
Savoury or sweet? Sweet, no question!
Run or swim? A pub lunch